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A new feature aims to bypass GrubHub, Foodler for online orders

Thousands of hungry customers will now be able to order food online directly from restaurants, without going through a third party such as GrubHub, Foodler, or Eat24.

ChowNow, which provides an online ordering and marketing platform for restaurants, will announce a new feature Tuesday that allows users to place orders directly from restaurants’ Google search results.

This new online feature will be available for more than 5,000 restaurants in the United States and Canada, including more than 200 in Massachusetts.

Customers can order directly from restaurants that work with ChowNow. This allows restaurants to keep valuable customer data and to avoid paying a commission to food-ordering services such as GrubHub.


“Small restaurants don’t have the tools to compete with national players,” said ChowNow chief executive Christopher Webb. “We really wanted to help local restaurants by giving them the tools national restaurants have.”

It might not matter to customers how they get their mini pork buns, but it has a big impact on smaller restaurants.

When ChowNow was founded in 2011, Webb said, most of the people who were ordering from restaurants were already loyal customers. It didn’t make sense to him to charge restaurants for orders from customers they already had.

“If restaurants had to pay a commission for every phone order, they wouldn’t do phone orders,” Webb said. “It doesn’t make sense in this day and age to take commissions from an already existing customer base.”

Since the company builds the tools for restaurants to handle online ordering themselves, not many people know they’re using an app or website built by ChowNow to place their orders.

But that’s OK.

“It’d be nice if everyone in the country knew who we were,” Webb said, “but it’s better to have a stronger business that’s liked by our restaurant clients.”

Hae Young Yoo can be reached at haeyoung.yoo@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @HaeYoung Yoo.