Fast food may get a bad rap, but the need for something quick and hot, especially for those who don’t have the time or inclination to cook, is growing. “Doorbell dining” – delivery service from restaurants without their own drivers – isn’t a new thing, but its popularity is with apps like Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, and Just Eat, Canadians have more options than ever. The ease of ordering delivery  for something other than pizza or cheap Chinese has led to millions of new downloads for online menu delivery apps in the last two years.

It’s safe to say that ordering apps are here to stay, and the reasons are many. For those in a group with different tastes, having individual cuisine options eliminates the need for a group decision. Working on a tight deadline? Having nutritious brain fuel delivered from a local restaurant can give you mental stamina to work to the wee hours. And for others, sometimes it’s nice to use your phone get you pancakes at 9 o’clock at night.

Ordering apps still have a few kinks to work out. Newer restaurants or those who hadn’t done heavy takeout business prior to signing up as an Uber Eats partner may have difficulty executing dining room meals to go. They must consider the type of containers, how to plate the dish for delivery, and make sure that the quality of the food doesn’t deteriorate – all things that can be challenging. Have you ever had cold, soggy fries? Try cold, soggy calamari.

To stay competitive, ordering apps will need to offer diverse cuisine and fast delivery times, and that’s the minimum. A user-friendly app, especially one that easily saves payment information, can make or break doorbell dining. Functionality to customize dishes as easily as in the dining room, options for add-ons or alacarte extras, and in-app promotions are all hallmarks of successful delivery apps.

Online and in-app ordering is here to stay, and the restaurants and app developers that embrace this trend will lead the pack. Food that retains quality and integrity when it reaches the customer, ease of use, and fast delivery times will mark the trendsetters.