Shopify’s 1,700,000+ active merchants are made of all types and business models. Many of them sell food and beverages, snack boxes, and even frozen goods. In fact, while 13.4% of all sales are made via eCommerce, that number rises to some 15-25% for food and food service.
While restaurants and food service are most noticeable, pre-packaged food goods made up 44% of all online sales in 2020. That’s well in advance of Statista’s estimations of hitting these numbers by 2024.
Along with a 125% increase between 2019 and 2020 in online food sales, an estimated 1 in 5 Americans are now using online shopping for groceries. It just makes sense to buy and sell food online, but you need the right ordering system in place to do it well.
Selling food and beverages online
If you’re a restaurant that was pushed online as the world shifted into digital mode, or you just decided to launch your kitchen with exclusively online sales, Shopify makes an excellent platform. It’s easy to create, design, and optimize a website that allows your fans to keep coming back to try your entire menu.
Despite all of those benefits, less than half of food and beverage companies have an eCommerce presence. A large part of that is due to logistics.
Sometimes it’s hard to master local delivery. Even with services like DoorDash, Postmates, Deliveroo, GrubHub, UberEats, and more, it’s difficult to find a service that can integrate seamlessly with a webstore.
Since Shopify often has native integrations for these services, it often means food merchants have to choose a point-of-sale (POS) system outside of Shopify to link to third-party delivery services.
Luckily, resolving that issue with the workarounds we’ll cover below can allow you to use Shopify’s convenient menus, website builder, and other integrations without having separate logs for deliveries and orders.
Shopify Point of Sale
Shopify’s shopping cart solution is the most convenient and sensible option when you’re selling on a Shopify store. Their POS is flexible, with an option for a cloud or on-premise installation, which you can opt for via Android or iOS.
It’s also affordable, with subscriptions starting at just $29 per month or free for certain plan tiers. Shopify doesn’t limit the number of devices you use per subscription.
Most importantly, Shopify synchronizes your sales across devices and your store. That means merchants see real-time total inventory from their websites plus physical locations on one dashboard. Managing all of it on the same system helps to keep orders on track, and business operations organized.
Today, Shopify’s POS is now used by over 100,000 merchants overall. We’ll cover their pros and cons below.
The benefits of the Shopify POS
Since it’s native to Shopify, the Shopify POS doesn’t risk any data loss or syncing errors. It should work seamlessly with your existing online storefront.
You can set up user permissions so that different members of your team can view orders coming in and going out, from the chef to your front desk.
You can automate abandoned cart reminders based on shoppers who added items from your menu and got ready to order… and then left.
Shopify’s POS system is highly customizable, so you can use different apps, discounts, and other integrations right alongside it.
Since they offer a mobile POS option, you get more flexibility in your physical stores to take payments, no matter where customers are. This helps to avoid lines and crowding.
You can use their tool with multiple business locations and track your customers across different restaurant branches.
The challenges of the Shopify POS
Although the Shopify POS system is an excellent tool, it may not be suitable for everyone. For example, their item customization is limited. One reviewer mentions they had to set up a variable item as a quick sale to bypass this — which is a large blocker for restaurants that have customizable dishes (for example, a large version, or a version without a certain ingredient).
Shopify’s POS also needs Internet access to work, which could be an obstacle for smaller restaurants that don’t have access to reliable networks.
There are no direct integrations with most local delivery options, like UberEats and Doordash. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of the Shopify POS, rendering it almost useless for local food delivery unless you have your own fleet.
Even though you can create a workaround by using Square’s API to accept Square payments and linking that to your Doordash, that’s less than ideal. So, let’s talk about other POS systems you can use with Shopify to get around this.
Integrating another POS with Shopify
If you want to use Shopify’s eCommerce solution with your own Point of Sale, you have a few options. A good integration will allow you to manage inventory and scan orders in and out – with integration into third-party delivery services – while using the eCommerce solution online.
The important thing is that all orders are synchronized, so you can track and keep up with orders in one place.
Here are a few options you can test for your restaurant.
Deliverect is a Shopify-to-POS integration app designed for food service. Deliverect is also one of the few tools promising two-way integration, ensuring data is always up to date on both platforms.
Pricing starts at $99 per month for 1,250 orders per month – meaning most food services will need a larger plan. However, you do get full menu integration, order management, and direct integration into third-party delivery services – even when they don’t integrate your POS.
Hubster links Shopify to your restaurant’s POS, back-end order management, and inventory management. You can view all your orders in one place, with data and total order management.
Hubster is designed for restaurants and supports organizations with 20+ locations. That makes it a good choice for small-to-Enterprise businesses. Plus, with costs starting at $20 per month per location, Hubster is affordable for most restaurant sizes.
Last Mile Delivery is an API tool for your delivery provider. This tool works well if you’re already using a smaller, local delivery agency without an official app integration. It does mean you’ll have to get your preferred local service onboard, although some may already have the tool in place. In fact, large delivery services like DoorDash already use Zapiet.
Zapier may be one of the largest integration tools on the web, but that is advantageous if you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all tool. Zapier can connect your Shopify account directly into Square.
Because Square integrates directly into most delivery services, you can more easily connect to local delivery services.
Additionally, Zapier works with popular restaurant POS systems like Lightspeed for a direct connection.
Like Zapier, Automte.io exists to set up and automate different parts of the eCommerce process. This includes numerous integrations. For example, Automate.io offers direct Shopify to Square integrations. You can also link to billing and accounting tools – integrating receipts and automatically creating accounting records. Automate.io starts from $9.99 for a single premium app integration.
Shopify is still one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the web – even for restaurants and food service. And with good reason! Unfortunately, integrating the platform into local delivery services is often less than ideal.
Hopefully, these workarounds and integrations help you to better manage your orders (until Shopify announces an integration with the popular food delivery hubs!).