Let’s dive deeper into the world of food delivery app development. This article is an extensive guide for those who would like to learn how to make a food delivery app and turn their app idea into a profitable solution.
We’ll go through the food delivery market, its potential, and trends, as well as describe food delivery app types. Further, you’ll find out about food delivery app development with all the nuances discussed such as cost to build, time to market, must-have features, and development tips.
So, keep reading to make the right choices to create a successful on-demand food delivery app.
Why create a food delivery app: market overview
In 2020 everything related to delivery and online shopping got an incredible boost. So did the food delivery market. Due to the Coronavirus, almost a hundred thousand of restaurants closed by the spring of 2021 both temporary and permanent. The market was shocked and the only way to survive was to pivot and implement technology.
As per Jean Chick, principal in strategy consulting at Deloitte, those restaurants that invested in digital technologies before the pandemic tended to do well. He even mentioned that such restaurants had increased guest counts and sales and managed delivery better.
According to Statista, the global revenue of online food delivery has grown from around $160 million in 2019 to $353 million in 2022. It means the revenue doubled within 4 years. In 2023, with consumer preferences staying firm towards the convenience of food delivery apps, the market maintains its upward momentum and demonstrates that the trend toward developing food delivery apps is likely to continue.
In 2021 restaurants already generated 67% of their revenue from delivery orders on average. Taking into account experts’ predictions, we can see, that this proportion is likely to increase further in favor of delivery.
Food delivery app development trends
There are a few food delivery app development trends to keep in mind if you want your app to stand out from the competition.
1. Mobile-first development
Mobile-first development means prioritizing food delivery mobile app development over a website or a web app.
This approach has become increasingly popular in recent years as the number of people using smartphones and tablets has skyrocketed. Speaking about the food delivery industry, this trend is important to keep up with because around 60% of online orders come from smartphones.
- Ability to order meals anytime anywhere;
- Better user experience: view prices, save orders to be able to repeat them later, overall better usability than websites;
- No queues if compared to ordering in-house;
- Often include loyalty programs.
That is why, speaking about food delivery, it is much more reasonable and important to start with a mobile application development. If you already have a website check out if it is seamless and easy to navigate for mobile users.
2. Digital transformation
One of the biggest trends concerning restaurants is the focus on the digital transformation of restaurant business processes, including the development of food delivery apps. Jean Chick, principal in strategy consulting at Deloitte, thinks that “restaurant leaders need to ask how they can automate the back of house to relieve labor pressures and increase safety.”
It also means that to stay actionable and profitable they should rethink their business models to optimize middle and back office operations (planning, forecasting, HR, supply, accounting) and make them flexible, frictionless, and automated.
These actions will make it possible to be focused more on strategic decisions, and make them faster, plus based on data.
3. Automated delivery
Delivery itself is the most time-consuming and cost-inefficient element of a food delivery business model. That’s why the introduction of automated delivery systems like drones and driverless vehicles is coming into play. It helps to reduce the costs of delivery and improve customer service. Furthermore, it is also a greener way of delivery which matters nowadays a lot.
Although the tendency is just getting traction, some companies are already trialing and rolling out these updates. For example, Amazon declares it will start delivering packages with their flying drones by the end of 2022.
One of the major food delivery app development trends that we are seeing emerge is the rise of subscription-based models. This means that instead of ordering individual meals or items as needed, users are signing up for recurring delivery of certain foods on a regular basis. This can be daily, weekly, monthly, or the schedule can be customized.
- It offers convenience and peace of mind for busy people who don't always have time to cook or go grocery shopping. With a subscription-based food delivery service, they know that they will always have fresh and healthy food on hand.
- These types of services tend to be more cost-effective than their traditional counterparts. When you order in bulk or subscribe to a service, you usually get a discount. For example, Uber Eats provides its subscribers ($9.99 per month) with special benefits: $0 delivery and 5% off eligible orders over $15.
- Many subscription-based services offer customization options that allow users to tailor their experience according to their preferences. For example, some companies let you choose the types of foods you want to be delivered, while others let you select specific dishes from their menu each week.
Subscriptions help restaurants and food delivery businesses increase the amount and consistency of profit they are able to make.
5. Hyperlocal Food Delivery
Hyperlocal food delivery apps are those that focus on delivering food from local restaurants and businesses to consumers in a very specific geographic area.
This trend is taking off for several reasons, but the major one is commissions. Speaking about food delivery aggregators, hyperlocal food delivery helps restaurants to address the issue of high commissions. With such service providers, restaurants can benefit from smaller commissions, which leads to higher profits.
Food delivery app development: business models
There are several types of online food delivery apps depending on the business model.
1. Restaurant delivery app
If you have a restaurant, a supermarket, or a grocery store, you can launch a mobile app so that your customers can order goods delivered directly from you. This model lets you get rid of the third parties and commissions, but requires more initial investments for delivery application development and support, and hiring drivers.
It is a more suitable option for large restaurant and store chains. For example, Domino’s generates over 70% of sales via digital ordering channels including their mobile apps.
2. White-label food delivery software
This business model means that you don’t need to have your restaurant, but rather to become a software provider that specializes in developing food delivery apps, supplying third parties with a white-label or out-of-the-box solution. It means an app builder that is customized for food delivery and restaurant businesses.
3. Food delivery aggregator
Think of Glovo or Uber Eats — these are food delivery aggregators. So, if you are looking to build an app that provides on-demand food delivery services from different restaurants, it is your option.
Food delivery app development: must-have features
Further, we have listed some basic features for food delivery app development including functionality of a user mobile app, courier app, restaurant and admin applications. There are also some features that may not be must-have ones, but could dramatically improve user experience.
At SolveIt, we provide free consultations so that you can get a feature list for the first MVP with a detailed cost breakdown to develop your own food delivery app. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.
User mobile app
- Sign-up and login. Actually, signing up can be optional for customers to use a food delivery application. But if you need this feature, for the first MVP it can be implemented as a standard sign-up / login by entering an email or a phone number. Further, it may be extended to a Social Media sign-up option for faster onboarding.
- Profile management. Users should be able to manage their profiles so that they can save their delivery information for future orders.
- For food aggregators: Catalog of restaurants. The customer app should allow users to easily browse through a list of available food items and make their selections. To enhance the navigation, you can add a search bar, categories, and filters. For example, restaurants can be filtered by cuisine (fast food, Mediterranean, Asian, vegan, etc.), average check, distance or delivery time, rating, and so on.
- Menu. On the restaurant menu screen, the meals are better to be divided into categories: breakfast, side dishes, main course, soups, desserts, beverages, etc. Don’t forget that images are extremely important here. Other information to be shown on the menu includes price, ingredients, grams, and calories. As an extra feature here, you can allow users to customize their orders by adding or removing ingredients.
- Check-out. The checkout screen should provide all the information about the current order: the restaurant, dishes, their quantity and price, and overall order price. Furthermore, it should include the following information and features to set up a delivery: estimated delivery time or an option to customize delivery time, delivery address field, and customer contact information. If discounts may apply, make sure you include this functionality in the checkout screen as well.
- Payment. Payment can be made directly through the delivery app via Apple & Google Pay, PayPal, debit, and credit cards, or there may be an option to pay with cash if that’s within your strategy. For the MVP you should add one or two payment options that are the most relevant to the region where your delivery app will be used.
- Order tracking. Customers should have the ability to track their current orders in real-time, so they know exactly when they will arrive and have a piece of mind. You can make it a delivery status update or let users track their orders on a map. As well, you may want to allow users to view their past orders here, access payment information, and contact the courier.
- Push notifications. With push notifications, you can inform users about their order’s status or send special offers, make meal recommendations, and more. Mobile app notifications are a powerful marketing tool that can boost user engagement if it is done correctly and personalized.
- Support. Customer support is important to handle user inquiries and problems. This can be done through different channels like phone, email, messengers, or via in-app chat.
Courier mobile app
- Registration and profile management. Unlike customers, couriers have to complete registration with all the necessary information for safety operations. A standard set of data includes personal and contact information, personal ID, and driver’s license. It may also be a good idea to have an identity verification (integration with a camera is required) and terms and conditions for couriers.
- Order management. One of the most important features of a courier app. It has to be highly intuitive to keep the courier’s attention on the most important things related to the order: delivery time, pick-up or drop-off locations, and the ability to get in touch with a restaurant and a customer. Of course, it should also provide all the order information including customer contact details, order number, details, and payment details. Couriers should also be able to view other orders in one place sorted by statuses like completed, rejected, delayed, and so on.
- Map and navigation. Routing functionality is critical for couriers and it should be the precisest possible as it is the source of information regarding the estimated time of arrival. It can also be used to monitor couriers’ activity and motivate them. For example, if couriers complete orders faster than was estimated. This functionality can be realized as an integration of 3rd party software like Google Maps, Mapbox, and others.
- Scheduling (for aggregators). Couriers can schedule their working hours in advance. To save time and money, you can integrate a calendar API like Google Calendar into your food delivery app.
- Menu management. With this functionality, restaurants can keep their menus up-to-date. Thus, restaurant managers should be able to add, delete, and edit all the fields of the menu items. It is a great option to give restaurants the ability to announce special offers and discounts.
- Order management. Allow restaurants to view and manage incoming orders, including marking them as confirmed or canceled, in progress, ready for pickup, and completed. From here, restaurant workers should also have access to all order details: items and their quantity, customer’s comments, customer’s and courier’s contact details, delivery time, payment information, and so on.
- Reporting & analytics. Provide restaurants with detailed reports and analytics on their revenue, sales, deliveries, customers, etc., to help them better understand and improve their business operations. You can also provide data for each item separately, including average cooking time, delivery time, and customer feedback.
If you’re planning to build a food delivery aggregator app, the administrator’s functionality may end up in a separate web or mobile interface. However, if you’re looking to create a food delivery app for your restaurant/chain of restaurants, features of a restaurant app and admin functionality are reasonable to be developed in a single app.
- Restaurant management for food delivery aggregators. If you are developing a Glovo-like food delivery app, then you should include a dashboard to manage partner restaurants. From this screen, admins should be able to add/delete partners, review and approve changes, contact restaurant managers, and have access to legal information and payments.
- Courier Management. This functionality of this part should include access to the courier’s contact and personal information, working conditions and schedule, productivity tracking, rating, and salary payouts. It can also have an in-built messenger to contact couriers. Here, you might also need tools to manage couriers’ schedules and delivery areas to optimize delivery.
- Analytics. Data and analytics are critical for any business to track its operations and state, as well as spot and timely solve problems. That’s why effective data collection and visualization will be highly useful. The most important parameters to track include income and expenses (total and by categories), number of orders, and revenue brought from each partner. Furthermore, advanced AI tools can be implemented as well for risk management or data-driven tips on business optimization.
How to build a food delivery app: step by step with SolveIt
We got really close to the main question: how to create a food delivery app that brings profit? Successful food delivery mobile app development can be a complex and time-consuming process. Further, we will walk you through the entire food delivery app development process, from idea to launch.
1. Discovery phase
The first step of a project discovery phase is to understand the client’s business and the market landscape. At this stage, we schedule a discovery meeting with a client to learn more about their idea and requirements. Further, we perform a market analysis to understand the existing competition, identify unmet needs in the market, and get the sense of the target audience.
Once this landscape is understood, it's time to start developing a food delivery app that can meet those needs. This involves creating a product roadmap and wireframes that detail how the app will function. These wireframes are then used to develop a prototype of the app.
After the prototype is complete, it's time to validate the concept with potential users. This can be done through user testing or focus groups. Once feedback has been collected and incorporated, it's time to move on to food delivery app development.
At SolveIt, we believe that a properly performed discovery phase can develop the most profitable MVP feature list. It means that based on the performed discovery and analysis, you can identify what features are of the top priority to meet your user needs, and not to overspend the development budget. Learn more how to make it right in this article.
2. MVP development
MVP development for startups is the best approach to launch a new product. MVP helps to minimize business risks and enter the market in the most effective way.
This is the first and most important step in developing a successful food delivery app. You need to make sure that your app idea is clear, concise, and easy to understand. The design should also be visually appealing and user-friendly. For example, you can check out the design SolveIt team developed for a food delivery app.
Once the design is complete, it's time to start coding the app. This can be done either by yourself or with the help of a specialized development agency like SolveIt. A dedicated development team of professionals can bring you a piece of mind here, because such agencies usually handle everything from idea to launch and support. Plus, you get the expertise and high-quality services while you can keep the focus on business and promotion.
Before launching your food delivery app, it's essential to test it on as many devices as possible. This will help you identify any bugs or glitches so they can be fixed before going live.
Once everything is ready, it's time to hit the "publish" button! To make it happen frictionlessly, you should make sure the food delivery app meets store requirements. Just in case: SolveIt takes care of store publishing as well, so our customers do not worry about this step either.
Make sure you promote your food delivery app well so people know it exists and can download it from their preferred app store.
4. Monitoring performance & gathering feedback
After you launch your app, you should monitor its performance and gather feedback from users. This will help you identify any areas where your food app needs improvement and make the necessary changes.
One way to monitor performance is to track key metrics such as the number of downloads, number of active users, retention rate, and engagement. You can use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Flurry to track these metrics.
It's also important to get feedback from users through reviews and ratings on app stores, as well as through in-app feedback forms or surveys. This will give you insights into what users like and don't like about your food delivery app and what they would like to see changed or added.
5. Support, updates, enhancements
After taking feedback from users to determine, developers working on food delivery mobile app development typically release updates and enhancements on a regular basis. Updates may include new features, bug fixes, new content, or improved design.
For a successful product that users love and stick to, the ability to perform flawlessly is one of the most important criteria. That is why we advise to regularly check and improve mobile app performance.
6. Marketing and after-launch growth tips
Well done! Now the app development process is successfully completed. But it’s not the end because you need marketing tactics and growth tips to gain your market advantage from the start and be successful in the long run.
By exploring our step-by-step guide, you understand that creating a unique food delivery app requires a distinct approach.
Don’t forget to identify key partnerships and strategize fundamental activities, resource allocation, and value proposition. Then collaborate with your product development team to determine the essential components of your food delivery app promotion strategy.
Product development team for a startup: structures, roles and beyondRead article
Key points you should focus on while developing a food delivery app promotion strategy:
User engagement. Keep users engaged with personalized recommendations and loyalty programs.
Localized marketing. Tailor marketing to specific regions for better outreach.
Multi-channel promotion. Use effective channels like social media and influencers for marketing and PR.
Restaurant partnerships. Forge partnerships with restaurants by offering incentives, ensuring a diverse selection on your food delivery app.
Data-driven insights. Utilize data to refine strategies based on user behavior.
These points will drive your app's marketing and growth strategy, securing your position in the market.
Cost of food delivery app development
The cost of developing a food delivery app can range from $20,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the features you want to include and the platforms you want to support (iOS, Android, Web). If you're looking to build a basic app with only a few features, then your costs will obviously be lower than a more complex set of features.
Factors influencing food delivery app development cost and time-to-market
- Complexity. Cost-to-build and time to get your product to the market will strongly depend on the complexity of the app: number of features and integrations. A simple food delivery app can be developed in around 8 weeks (2 months), whereas a more complex app takes from 12 weeks (3 months) and longer.
- Tech stack. The tech stack also plays a role in determining the cost and time to develop a food delivery mobile app. If you already have a team of developers experienced in building mobile apps, then they will likely be able to use their existing skillsets and knowledge to build your food delivery app relatively quickly. However, if you need to hire new developers or outsource the work, then this will obviously add to both the cost and development time.
The technologies, frameworks, and tools are available for delivery app development, so there is no need to reinvent your tech stack from scratch.
Here is a tech stack you can use:
- Cloud services: AWS, Azure, Cloud Sigma.
- Registration: Google SignIn and Facebook Login SDK
- Payment: Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Payment, Wepay.
- Geolocation Services: Google Maps, Mabox, Mapkit JS.
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Apple Analytics.
- Restaurant data integration: Yelp Fusion API, Foursquare API.
- Development approach. The cost of on-demand food delivery app development also varies depending on which software development architecture you choose as well as the size and complexity of your project. If you choose to use an agile or DevOps approach, expect to pay more upfront, as these approaches require more planning and coordination than waterfall or traditional project management techniques.
We recommend starting with the MVP development services to validate the product on the real market, set up monetization and gradually add features based on the user needs and feedback.
How much does it cost to make an app?Read article
Food delivery app development: monetization strategies
An essential part of every successful food delivery app lies in its monetization strategy. During your way to create a profitable food delivery app, it’s crucial to have a clear plan in place to generate revenue. Let’s look at some proven monetization methods.
- Delivery Fees. One of the cornerstone monetization strategies for food delivery app development is the implementation of delivery fees. Drawing inspiration from successful models like Uber Eats, you can set varying delivery fees based on factors such as distance, time of day, and holidays. This approach not only compensates couriers but also serves as a robust revenue stream for your platform. By optimizing delivery fee structures, you can have a balance between customer satisfaction and profitability.
- Advertisement: Capitalizing on In-App Ads. Integrating in-app advertisements can significantly bolster your app's income. Collaborating with restaurants and businesses to showcase ads mutually benefits all parties. Furthermore, the addition of Google AdSense can open possibilities for monetizing Google ads within your app. Smart ad placement ensures minimal intrusion into the user experience while maximizing revenue potential.
- Subscription Models: Premium Plans. The success of subscription-based services is hard to ignore in today's digital landscape. Taking inspiration from SaaS trends, you can introduce tiered subscription plans. Similar to the concept employed by Uber Eats, you can offer free basic memberships coupled with subscription-based plans that offer users exclusive perks: reduced delivery fees, exclusive discounts, special promotions, and personalized offers.
- Strategic Promotions Listings: Elevating Restaurant Visibility. Another effective strategy, similar to food delivery apps like Uber Eats, is offering restaurant partners promotional opportunities. By allowing restaurants to pay for higher rankings in search results, you enhance their visibility to users. This approach capitalizes on restaurants' desire to stand out in a competitive landscape.
Top 5 app monetization strategies to consider for your mobile appRead article
In-house VS outsource food delivery app development
If you have the internal resources and expertise necessary for food delivery mobile app development, then building it in-house may be the best option for you. This approach gives you full control over the app development process and allows you to tailor the app specifically to your business needs. However, it is important to note that building an in-house development team from scratch can be extremely time and money consuming.
Outsourcing food delivery app development can be a great option for many businesses. This approach often saves time and money compared to building the app in-house, as you can leverage the expertise of professional developers. In addition, outsourced developers are typically well-versed in the latest technologies and trends, which can help to ensure that your food delivery app is built using cutting-edge methods.
At SolveIt, we have the expertise in top-notch food delivery app development that meets your specific needs and requirements. Whether you want a simple app with basic features or an advanced delivery app with all the bells and whistles, we can create it for you.
Food delivery app development: FAQ
How to create a food delivery app?
To create a profitable food delivery app you can follow the next steps:
Ensure your food delivery app idea is viable.
Choose a suitable development approach.
Define your food app delivery business model.
Select necessary app features.
Create an MVP version, test, and launch.
Track performance, gather feedback, and make improvements.
How much does it cost to develop a food delivery app?
The cost of developing a food delivery app depends on how complex you want it to be, the technologies you use, and how you approach the development. A simple app could start around $50,000, while more complex solutions might require a higher budget. Factors such as features, integrations, and chosen methodology contribute to the overall expenses of developing a food delivery app. It's best to evaluate your project's specifics for a tailored cost estimate.
How do food delivery apps make money?
Food delivery apps generate revenue through various sources:
Commission per order: they earn a percentage-based commission from restaurants for each order placed through the app.
Delivery charges: apps may impose delivery fees, especially for orders below a minimum value.
Paid listings: restaurants can pay for featured listings to gain prominence on the app.
Premium charges: offering expedited or preferred delivery during busy hours for a premium fee.
Sponsored ads: businesses pay for advertising within the app to reach a wider audience.
In-app payments: processing payments directly in the app saves time and may also involve transaction fees.
How can I make my food delivery app successful?
To ensure the success of your food delivery app development, consider the following key strategies:
Localized focus. Begin with a targeted geographic area for efficient service and fast deliveries.
Short delivery time. Prioritize timely deliveries to promptly address customer cravings.
SEO and social media. Create a user-friendly app optimized for search engines and shareable on social media.
Discounts and offers. Attract customers with regular discounts and special promotions.
Innovative menu. Stand out by offering unique and inventive food choices.
Engaging app experience. Build an interactive app that simplifies ordering and delivery.
Diverse delivery options. Provide convenient choices like varied delivery and easy pickup.