OrderUp on empowering seamless restaurant checkout experiences

OrderUp is a software platform that provides restaurants, food trucks, and hotels with a simple and affordable point-of-sale system. From customised QR codes to mobile-friendly menus and contactless payments, OrderUp has worked with restaurants across Canada and the US since its founding in 2020.

We spoke with Chris Gilpin, chief executive officer and co-founder of OrderUp, about the changing needs of restaurant owners, the importance of a privacy-first data approach, and how Stripe supports its expansion into new markets.

Products used

North America

What inspired you to start OrderUp?

With nearly a decade in hospitality technology, I saw first-hand the impact that the right software can have in improving both staff and guest experiences. OrderUp launched during COVID-19, a time when many restaurants were forced to close or alter their service due to lockdown regulations. I felt I was in a position to help restaurants make it through the downturn.

How did COVID-19 shape your role as CEO?

Leading OrderUp during the height of the pandemic was an interesting challenge. Restaurants were among the hardest hit industries and it was difficult to see their businesses struggle. However, the pandemic forced management teams to rethink their operations, a catalyst that acted as a tailwind for OrderUp. This made it easier to speak to restaurant operators about our opportunity to help.

What are the biggest challenges restaurants face today?

Seventy percent of restaurants are currently understaffed. According to the US National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Industry report, recruiting and retaining talent is the primary challenge restaurants face. Many on-demand marketplaces also hurt independent restaurants. These third-party apps have often charged unsustainable fees, shrinking margins on purchases. Orders placed through these apps also prevent restaurants from building direct relationships with their guests, a crucial requirement for building a loyal, repeat guest base.

We're working on these challenges with zero-fee online ordering, and the restaurant owns the relationship with the guest, not us.

How does the restaurant own the relationship?

Third-party marketplaces are often designed so that they own the relationship with diners, making it difficult for restaurants to establish and nurture relationships with their guests. This is detrimental to restaurants, as studies have shown that improving customer loyalty by 5% can increase profits by 75%.

OrderUp allows restaurants to build relationships with diners, both directly through our platform and in the ability to export guest data into their existing marketing platform. Because all guests who order through their phone must provide contact information, we help restaurants quickly build robust customer lists that they can use to promote new menus and discounts, ultimately driving incremental visits.

How is OrderUp meeting the changing needs of restaurant owners as they respond to rising inflation and labour shortages?

First, we enable restaurants to offer fee-free online ordering. Tight margins are everywhere in this business, and OrderUp helps merchants support their bottom line.

Second, OrderUp’s on-premise tools empower guests to order and pay for meals directly from their mobile device. Our restaurant partners tell us that allowing guests to order and pay from their phones eliminates a large number of repetitive tasks, like order fulfilment and running bills to and from tables. This has helped front-of-house staff cover three times as many tables per shift on OrderUp, allowing restaurants to operate more efficiently in a labour-constrained market. The staff also love it as their tips increase substantially with more tables covered each shift.

How can OrderUp support restaurants by using data to personalise the dining experience?

We are actively looking at ways to leverage data to drive great guest experiences. There are great opportunities that improve the experience for all parties, like driving personalised recommendations or food and drink pairings. While we get excited thinking about features like this, we must approach them thoughtfully with a privacy-first lens. Handling restaurant and guest data is a privilege, and one that we need to treat seriously.

Does OrderUp have plans to expand outside Canada?

We currently have restaurant partners in Canada and the US. We plan to expand further, but want to make sure we have the proper support infrastructure in place so merchants in new geographies experience the same world-class support that our current customers receive.

How is Stripe enabling OrderUp’s point-of-sale system for restaurants?

Stripe's full-stack payment platform enabled OrderUp to quickly expand our offering to accept physical, in-person payments. While many of our guests love the ability to settle their tab from their phone, some prefer to pay by physical debit or credit card. Stripe Terminal allowed us to expand into this market with a fraction of the investment that would be required if we were to do it from scratch.

Where do you see your partnership with Stripe evolving in the future?

I am most excited about Stripe’s Tap to Pay on iPhone. I believe we'll be able to come up with some great products for restaurants leveraging this partnership – we just need it to expand to Canada.

How does Stripe enable OrderUp to successfully conduct business across a variety of markets?

Stripe has been an incredible partner to OrderUp. Having the confidence that Stripe handles our PCI compliance and guest payment information in a secure manner gives both OrderUp and our restaurant partners the confidence that sensitive guest data is going to be handled appropriately.

Stripe's broad geographic reach and wide payment method acceptance allows us to confidently expand into new markets when we're ready. Stripe's continuing innovation also pushes us to think creatively about how we can better serve our clients.

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