Experts discuss the latest e-commerce solutions for restaurants

Delysees Luxury Desserts leverages Square's ecosystem of solutions
Delysees Luxury Desserts leverages Square's ecosystem of solutions, Photo Credit: Joshua Excell

By Eric Alister

In our last technology segment, we explored data management solutions, and in the one prior, we covered inventory management. This month, we talked with experts about the latest e-commerce solutions for restaurants and how they have evolved to address the ever-changing needs of operators and guests alike. As we did so, we couldn’t help noticing a common theme. 


Where it concerns digital data, be it inventory tracking, point of sale (POS) systems, real-time performance tracking or e-commerce solutions — including your website and online ordering — modern financial services platforms such as Square and Lightspeed are moving toward building all-in-one ecosystems where one platform fulfills all a restaurant operator’s digital needs.

There are many benefits to this approach; all-in-one platforms consolidate front of house, back of house and online data management technologies into a single system, dramatically streamlining operations and eliminating the need for multiple data entries across disparate systems. On the e-commerce side, when operators use an all-in-one solution that integrates online ordering, delivery and payments, they also benefit from greater scalability as their business grows. “The products we build are scalable so we can grow along with restaurants, not give them tools they don’t need,” explains Anna Reynolds, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Square eCommerce.

Modern Contenders 

Companies like Lightspeed and Square offer restaurateurs all-in-one e-commerce solutions called Lightspeed eCom and Square Online, respectively. They both allow operators to accept and manage orders online and in person and let customers use self-serve ordering with a QR code. Square Online and Lightspeed eCom also make it easy for operators to build their own website with pre-built sets of high-quality website templates. “Combined with additional customizable features such as colours, fonts, layouts and buttons, restaurant owners are able to create nearly infinite combinations of designs to create a really unique and on-brand website that reflects their in-person ordering experience,” explains Reynolds.

Seamless Integration

Since Square and Lightspeed already have a comprehensive set of on-premises digital services, the companies are able to combine this with their e-Commerce services to provide a full ecosystem of products, so restaurateurs can manage both their online and offline businesses from one place. “The best kinds of technology solutions are ones in which we don’t even realize we’re using it,” says Grant Macdonald, Chief Concept Officer at Kotsu Ramen & Gyoza, and Lightspeed customer. “As great as Lightspeed has been for us, we don’t think about it day to day. It’s just one of our tools. It’s like picking up a knife in the kitchen. It does its job consistently, it does it well and it helps us spend our time focused on what really matters for our business.”

Putting It All Together

With financial services platforms such as Lightspeed and Square moving toward all-in-one solutions that consolidate all digital tools into one integrated platform, restaurant owners can now leverage a single ecosystem to keep their whole business in sync — and as the business grows, it has the option to adopt additional tools from that ecosystem, rather than having to onboard multiple platforms from different vendors, which creates more complexity for a business and more work for those running it. 

According to Reynolds, when business owners rely on a mishmash of digital tools from various providers, they often sacrifice the seamless interoperability that an all-in-one solution allows as different companies’ products rarely work well together. And when there is interoperability, it often requires a lengthy process of manually creating integrations in contrast to everything simply working out of the box. “At the end of the day, sellers shouldn’t need to be hyper-aware of the restaurant tech they are using; when it’s designed right, it should just work.”

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