How to Make an On-Demand Food Delivery app?

Have you ever thought about making money with a food ordering app? I guess it’s time for you to start. In this article we will learn about:

  • essential features of food delivery apps;
  • its development costs;
  • technologies that can help during the development;
  • business tips;
  • successful examples of food ordering apps.

Read on!

The world changes so fast that sometimes we don’t even notice it. The pace of life is rising. Our needs are growing. We want everything to be faster, cheaper and more accessible. That’s exactly the reason why Uber-like apps have become so widespread in the last few years. And the food ordering services are not the ones to stand aside.

Food delivery has turned into a prosperous business for its owners and an everyday necessity for residents of big cities. It took just a few years for food ordering apps to walk all the way from unknown services to market leaders. Just take a look at the stunning statistics below:

How often do you use food delivery services? (data from Statista)

Despite the market is young enough, it has already been overcrowded. GrubHub, UberEats, Postmates, Foodora, Deliveroo and many others are already well-known nowadays and have many faithful fans. Moreover, with new apps booming on the market competition becomes even tougher.

Nevertheless, there is still a chance to join it and get your share of profit. How can you successfully compete? By developing an app with excellent functionality. Follow me to find out which features are necessary for building an on-demand food delivery app!

🛠️ Which features are essential for a food ordering app?

When talking about the development of an app like Snapchat or a navigation app like Waze we usually mean only 1 app for all potential users.

However, for food delivery apps the situation is a bit different. The experience of the successful market leaders teaches us that the best solution is to create 3 different versions of the app according to each specific group of your users: customers, contractors and restaurant managers.

3 versions of food ordering app
It's better to develop 3 versions of food ordering app

Although it seems a little bit complicated at first glance, this may be a key step to success. Why? Despite needs of every party are different, it’s still extremely important to satisfy everyone:

  • Users should have a fast and easy access to the menus of the nearest restaurants with the possibility to make orders right in the app.
  • Couriers are interested in the comprehensive database of available orders and built-in geolocating services showing them the way to the pickup and drop locations.
  • Restaurant managers would like to view the orders list and contact with contractors to organize a delivery of prepared meals to clients.

If any link of this chain doesn’t work well, the path to success is closed. However, don’t panic. We have created brief and useful templates for each version of a food ordering app that will help you to avoid many common mistakes. Follow me and we will find out how to make a customer version of food delivery app!

👦 Customer version

Let’s walk along the path of typical customer and think what features are essential for him.

Getting started: registration and account editing

Where does user’s journey begin? You are right - at the signing up stage! By implementing the ability to create accounts in the app you establish deeper bonds with your users and provide them with a possibility to quickly log in without losing their custom settings.

Profile creation in food ordering app
Make a sign up stage as easy as possible (image by Kwame Afriyie)

At a minimum, users should be able to create username and password, and link a card to their account for automatic payments. Improved account editing feature may include adding food preferences, profile photos, a list of favorite places etc.

Tips:

  • Login via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other popular social networks is a must-have for such an app.
  • Don’t make the registration process too itemized and long – it may scare off users.

Moving on: find a restaurant

What are your users going to do after they have logged in? Look for what to eat and where they can order it. And that’s where following 2 features become essential:

  • finding the near-located eateries;
  • getting the detailed information about restaurant’s cuisine list, prices, special offers and reviews.

If you want to provide your users with the perfect UX, you also should pay attention to a searching feature. It may include searching for the restaurant by its name, address or by the dishes that it proposes.

Read Also What is Machine Learning and How to Use it in Your Mobile App?

Houston, we have an order

Everything necessary is found, so let’s make an order! At this stage you should provide users with the ability to add wishful dishes to a cart as well as delete it from there.

Ordering process in a food delivery app
The ordering process should be intuitive (image by Eleken.)

Also, don’t forget to show the summary of the order before confirmation. Moreover, if something went wrong users should be able to cancel orders - therefore pay attention to this feature too.

Your users will also greatly appreciate if you allow them to choose between 2 options: preparing and delivering the order as soon as possible or at an appointed time later.

Journey to a user

The core idea of food delivery app development is to let users receive their long-awaited meal no matter where they are: resting at home, working in the office or just hanging out in the park. Hence, setting drop location (by writing the address or just leaving a pin on the map) is another crucial feature.

You can make the delivery process even more convenient and cool for users by providing them real-time tracking of their meal.

It’s payment time

It may be the most unwanted part for your users but the necessary one for contractors and business owners. The golden rule here is that in-app payments should be secure, fast and easy.

Secure payment system is important for food delivery app
Secure payment system is the important element of any food delivery app (image by Stormotion)

Also, don’t forget to give users an alternative. For example, include the option of paying cash on delivery.

Rate and review

There is only one last action left after an order is paid and delivered. Leave a feedback for other users about the eatery and courier. Was your meal tasty? Haven’t you waited for too long? Was everyone polite?

You can apply 5-stars solution for an MVP and add comments feature for the final version of your app.

How to make a customer app even cooler?

Whereas mentioned above features are necessary to create a food delivery app there are a number of additional features that would significantly improve UX. Among them are:

  • wish and favorite lists;
  • social media share;
  • history of orders;
  • push notifications;
  • delivery time estimation.
Tracking in the food ordering app
Tracking feature would be a great addition to your food delivery app (image by Eleken.)

We have discovered the components of the perfect customer app. Now let’s take a look at the features that are important for couriers.

🛵 Courier version

The application for couriers, in general, isn’t as functional as the customer one. However, make sure that it has all the necessary features. Which ones? Let’s take a brief look:

  • Registration and profile editing

Before taking orders contractors have to identify themselves. How? The same way as users do - by completing a registration form via mobile number, email or social network account and fill out the profile with the necessary info. Don’t forget about “recover password” and “change password” options as well.

  • Managing orders

So, our delivery guy has logged in. Now he should be able to check out the list of available orders with the detailed information about size, pickup and drop locations, and other specifications. Finally, he can confirm any appropriate delivery request by booking it.

Managing orders feature in a courier app
It's up for a courier to choose which order he wants to deliver
  • Status update

After an order is accepted, the courier can update the status so a customer is informed about the progress. There are 3 main types of statuses:

  1. Accepted/rejected.
  2. Picked up.
  3. Delivered.

Once courier updates status to “delivered” and gets confirmation from a customer, he receives a payment (in cash or on his card). The job is done!

Change status feature in the courier version of food delivery app
This feature allows client to find out how his order is carried out (image by Fabio Muniz)

How to improve a courier version of the app?

To achieve even better results you can add some extra features to the app. They are not as vital as the ones we have just reviewed, but they are meaningful if you plan to successfully compete on the market. Here they are:

  • in-app tracking from the pickup to the delivery point;
  • push notifications;
  • booking history.

The third part of food ordering app should be developed for the ones who are responsible for preparing users’ meals - restaurant managers.

🍽️ Restaurant version

Just like the customer and courier apps have their own particular features, there are some of them for the restaurant version of the app, too. Moreover, the restaurant version is more like a web-app that is needed to manage users’ orders, so it’s totally different. Let’s take a look!

What is an admin panel?

Without any doubt, this is the key element for the business owners. Admin panel is a web-based portal to manage all processes like accepting orders from users and requests from couriers or editing all kinds of information about the eatery. Sounds important enough, doesn’t it?

The admin panel of restaurant delivery app
That's how an admin panel looks like

It’s a core stage of food delivery app development for restaurant managers. Hence, it requires a great deal of attention and concentration as it gives access to all the key features at once.

1. Registration

The first essential feature here is exactly the same as for customers and contractors. Yes, it’s registration.

To be visible in the system a restaurant has to create an account (using email ID and password). Also, don’t forget about changing and recovering password options as well.

2. Managing content

The behavior of customers and contractors is based on choosing the best options for them. However, this pattern isn’t true for the business owners. Instead, they should attract users by publishing and sharing some content. Therefore, be sure that managers are able to:

  • edit general information about the restaurant (like name, contact information, address, working hours etc);
  • add photos;
  • manage menus (add and delete items, change prices and descriptions).
Content editing in the food ordering app
Make sure that restaurant managers have all necessary tools to edit content (image by Murat Yildiz)

3. Handling the orders

The profile is complete and it remains only to wait for the first customers. But what is to be done when the first orders appear? At this point we would need a bunch of following key features:

  • View the detailed information of an order.
  • Update order status and send notifications to the customer (when it’s accepted) and to the driver (when it’s ready to be picked up).
  • Have an access to the list of the current orders.
Handling orders is the important feature of food delivery app
From this page you can manage all the ongoing orders (image by Evgeniy Loktev)

By the end of this stage the meal is prepared and sent to the customer.

4. Receiving payments

This stage is simple as that: when the customer confirmed that he received the order, business owner receives a direct payment.

What features can be added to a restaurant version of the app?

As in the previous two cases, we can suggest you a number of additional features. They are usually not on the MVP list, but still can significantly improve your app. Take a look:

  • filter orders;
  • ability to offer a delivery job to the nearest contractors.

It seems we have reviewed both essential and complementary features for all three versions of food delivery app. But how much would it cost you? That’s the question we are going to answer right now!

💵 How much does it cost to develop an on-demand food delivery app?

There are some basic features that are the same for both customer and courier apps. These features are developed once and then just reused for the both apps, so we decided to allocate them in a separate table. Here they are:

The customer version of food delivery app has the largest number of features. Take a look:

*additionally to the basic features estimate

So the customer version of food delivery app will cost you about $14,600 (which includes BackEnd + Android or iOS development).

The courier version doesn't have as many features as the customer one, so it will cost you less. Check out our estimation:

*additionally to the basic features estimate

Courier app development will cost you less, about $9,300 for Android and $9,800 for iOS.

Finally, the latter part of the food delivery app development cost is building a restaurant app. Since it's not a mobile but a web-app you have no need to create different versions for iOS and Android operating systems. The approximate cost of such the app is following:

Restaurant web-app doesn't require development for specific mobile platforms so it will cost you only about $2,220.

However, this is only a rough estimate that can’t fully cover all possible expenses. But if you share your idea with us, we can prepare a more precise estimate exactly for your app idea.

💡 Tech tips

We have also compiled a list of tech tips from Stormotion developers. Hope, they will come in handy for you! Check them out:

  • Stripe and Braintree SDKs can be used to integrate the payment system. The both SDKs has already proved its efficiency and reliability.
  • To add the detailed info about eateries you can use Google Places API.
  • Firebase SDK can be applied to send push notifications. Our developers use it right now, so they know for sure that it's pretty convenient.
  • We also advise using Routific API for route optimization. This feature will suggest your couriers the best way from pickup to the drop location.

🔎 Case study: Postmates, UberEats

Postmates

The app was launched in 2011 and became a pioneer in the delivery business. Actually, Postmates was not intended to be only a food ordering app - guys started from delivering different kinds of goods (including furniture and household goods).

Postmates app

Eventually, meals turned out to be the most profitable and demanded name on the list so they ended up as a food delivery app. Nowadays the app uses freelance drivers to deliver food in more than 100 metropolitan areas.

UberEats

This app is another additional service which was developed on the wave of popularity of the original Uber app. Like its “elder brother” UberEats is a great example of the shared economy model. The app is aimed at delivering a wide selection of foods to the tech-savvy millennials.

UberEats app

UberEats has implemented many features that we have reviewed in this article. For example, you can see the status of your order or track delivery in the real-time mode.

Read Also How to Develop an Uber-like App for Delivery Trucks?

💰 Business tips: how to succeed on the market?

However, even a perfect food ordering app can’t be a guarantee for your success. Why? Because you also have to think about your business strategy!

We have gathered a few useful hints for you that will help to avoid some common mistakes.

📊 Tip № 1: make the market analysis

Before entering this field you should define your target audience and analyze your competitors. What exactly do I mean? At this stage, you should find short and accurate answers to the following questions:

What types of food are most often ordered for delivery in your area (city, region or country)?

It’s not a secret that residents of every country and even city have their own food preferences. As an example, here are kinds of food ordered for takeout or delivery in the USA:

It’s clear, that the possibility to order burgers and Chinese food will bring more users to an app rather than sushi or Thai food. Therefore consider such differences in food preferences when building your business strategy.

Takeaway thought: pay more attention to the kinds of food popular in your region.

Who are your competitors and what niche can you hold?

The market for on-demand food delivery is relatively young. Nevertheless, new apps in this field seem to appear pretty fast. Take your time to analyze your possible competitors and their target audiences.

For example, they may aim for busy people who are interested in healthy eating (just like Instacart does) or for a younger audience attracting them with a fast-food.

Takeaway thought: finding a free niche for your business idea is a half of success.

👫 Tip № 2: grow the user base

The formula for success in delivery business is simple as that. The more users you have, the more orders they will make. The more orders they make, the higher revenue you will get. But how to grow the user base? Check out following bits of advice:

  • Start with a simple: launch your app in a small area to test your business concept and quickly get first users.
  • Use different advertising channels: this may include PR technologies, social media and inbound marketing, referral programs and many others.
  • Collaborate: small and large retailers have already acquired some audience so don’t hesitate to collaborate with them to advertise your growing business.

👍 Tip № 3: retain customers

Attracting users is just a half of the deal. They won’t make much sense if leaving your app after a single use. However, there are some proven ways to keep users interested in your app:

  • Provide perfect customer support: make sure you give quick, helpful and friendly responses to issues of your users.
  • Launch special offers: discounts, gifts and vouchers are always popular among users.
  • Implement a rating system: this is a simple but effective tool that lets your customers keep the delivery service on the highest level.
Special offers are proven way to keep customers

🚗 Tip № 4: retain couriers

Without delivery guys a food ordering app will be as meaningless as without users. Thereby don’t forget to build a strategy for keeping them interested in working exactly with your app. Top 3 sources of motivation for them are:

  • Salary (Postmates couriers earn about $10-20 per hour).
  • Flexible schedule (let them choose their working hours as they want).
  • Encouragements (reward the best couriers with special prizes).

❗ Conclusion

It seems like food ordering apps are going to become even more popular in the next few years. Luckily for you, there are still some free niches left which you can take. We hope our article will encourage you to create a food delivery app and win the market in 2017!

We're happy to help with the development of your food ordering app. Try to challenge us!

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Estimate your Food Delivery App!
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