The food delivery market is on the rise showing a stable annual growth pace. Statista has recently made a report showing that online food delivery revenue worldwide is going to exceed $130 million in 2020. And this number will be growing steadily in the next few years.
We should expect that worldwide revenue will exceed $180M in 2024
Still, the food delivery market is full of big players prevailing in various regions. The US is divided between Uber Eats and GrubHub. Europe has its own leaders represented by Glovo and Deliveroo, while FoodPanda and Swiggy are ruling the Asian market.
Decided to create a food delivery site? Learn more about business models, development tips, and much more.
Main worldwide market players
In this article, we’ll discuss how to build a food delivery app, what features you should add to compete on your market, and how much it will cost.
How to Build a Food Delivery App Properly
Let’s begin with the basics. It’s just not enough to create a food delivery app. You need to build a digital ecosystem around it and tie all solutions together.
Here are the common solutions created to maintain different parts of food delivery business:
- Customer app. Users can order a delivery from eateries nearby.
- Restaurant app. Restaurants can see and process those orders placed by users.
- Courier app. Couriers get notifications about incoming orders. They can also see when the order is ready and the delivery address.
- Admin panel. Product owner and their team can manage the whole platform using an admin panel. For example, they can add or ban restaurants and users.
Basic structure of food delivery app
This set of apps will cover all aspects of your food delivery business. Sounds a little confusing, right? Let’s dive into these apps and take a closer look at each of them.
It’s the most important app of all since the order happens here. You should work out a straightforward and eye-catching UI/UX design, and implement all necessary features to create a pleasant customer experience.
Put emphasis on a convenient search feature because users will open your app to find a specific meal or a restaurant to order from. Add different search options like using keywords (restaurant name, dish name, and so on) or searching by nearby restaurants. Ease of payments is also an essential feature to make a pleasant user-experience.
How customer app should look like
Speaking of features, the must-have features for this app are listed below.
Registration and login
Provide your customers with a simple registration and login process via different social networks. It’s the fastest way for new users to register or sign in to your app thanks to the absence of confirmation emails.
The more login options you provide, the more users will end up registering there. Don’t forget about the password change and password recovery features if something went wrong. The best way to implement the sign in/sign up process via third parties is by using Facebook SDK, Google SDK and Apple Sign Up.
Glovo login screen design
Give your customers an opportunity to search for nearby restaurants relying on their geolocation. It would be wise to add various filters to make the search process faster and convenient. Also, you can add detailed information about restaurants so users could learn more about eateries before making an order. A good example of a search feature realization is GrubHub.
GrubHub restaurant search design
Let customers track their orders picked by a courier on the map in real-time. Glovo has implemented this feature very well and made it super intuitive. Location tracking can be built using Google Location API for Android and Location Framework for iOS.
Glovo real-time order tracking
Order placement and payment
When the choice is made, it’s time to pay for the order. Make the checkout process as simple as possible to decrease the number of abandoned orders. Check out how Deliveroo made its ordering simple.
Deliveroo checkout process
You can add payments via Braintree, Stripe, or PayPal. These services allow you to implement payments in a short period of time. But keep in mind that these payment gateways charge fees (2,9% + $0.30 for every transaction). And don’t forget about the option to pay in cash.
Push notifications can help you remind users about delivery stages: accepted, on its way, arrived, and so on. Uber Eats, Glovo and many other services use this approach.
Uber Eats push notifications
You can also send your customers various notifications about discounts or special offers like GrubHub does. The best ways to develop push notifications would be:
- Amazon SNS
- Apple Push Notification Service (APSN)
- Firebase Cloud Messaging
Ratings and reviews
Feedback is an essential part of business development. It’ll help you see the gaps in your service and work towards its improvement. Make an option to leave a comment and rate the food and delivery process. You can also add Give a Tip option in the future. This option will give your customers an opportunity to encourage couriers for their accuracy and fast delivery by tipping them.
To keep all feedback in a safe place, your team can use Microsoft Azure, AWS, or Digital Ocean.
It’s all about accepting orders, getting notified, and managing menus. This app may look like a web version or a native app installed on a kitchen tablet. Restaurant employees will use this app to see incoming orders and let the courier know when the order is ready.
GrubHub for Restaurants interface
The key features of this app are slightly different in their goals:
Registration and login
This page lets employees log into the system and see incoming orders.
Restaurants should be able to adjust their menus so that users could see up-to-date information when they make a decision to order something. Otherwise, it may have a bad impact both on your service and the restaurant’s reputation.
Restaurant staff needs to know all their incoming orders and work with them properly. With this feature, they can accept orders and change the order status.
Rating and reviews
Let restaurant owners see comments and ratings, and don’t forget about the replying option. Communication with a customer is essential.
This app should be simple, but its simplicity shouldn’t impact the smoothness of work. The courier should be able to use all the features on the go.
Approximate courier app design
To achieve fast delivery, fill your app with these features:
Registration and login
As in the case with a customer app, make authorization fast and simple. Use different social media for authorization with Facebook SDK, Google SDK, or Sign in with Apple
Provide the courier with convenient navigation through the city with the fastest routes and different destination marks (pickup address, delivery address, and so on). Your development team can use Google Maps Platform for Android and Location Framework for iOS.
Order detail and status
It’s necessary to give the courier all order information including precise meal content, address of the customer, and delivery time. Also, don’t forget about order statuses to let the courier accept or reject the orders.
Save all completed orders using cloud-based systems like Azure, AWS, and Digital Ocean.
This is the command center of your business. All features here are created to manage information and to develop your business strategy.
Uber Eats admin panel
Let’s dive into must-have admin panel features.
Create a login screen with ID and Password system so your managers could log in securely.
This option will let your admin add different restaurants to the platform or manually delete them (for example, if customer ratings are too low or restaurants cease partnership with your app).
With this feature, you can track important things like the most popular restaurants and sort them by profit, average check, and so on. This info will give you a better understanding of the business and give you useful tips for better business development.
With this feature, admins will be able to change delivery fees. For example, you may want to reconsider fees for eateries bringing you a lot of orders to encourage them to use your delivery platform only.
Discount and coupons manager
Providing a discount to users is an important strategy for encouraging existing users to order something or attracting new ones. You can manage discounts that rely on different holidays and special occasions.
The set of features is pretty big, and it’s maybe hard to remember all of it. So, we’ve gathered all the key features in the table below to help you digest the information.
These are essential features to start your food delivery platform and to give all stakeholders the features they really need. No one restricts you from adding more features if you want to. For example, you can add scheduled delivery like in Postmates that’d let your customers set a specific time of delivery. It’s all up to you.
Postmates schedule delivery
How Much Does it Cost to Create a Food Delivery App?
When a stack of features is set, it’s time to estimate the costs needed to develop a food delivery app. Development cost depends on the feature set and its complexity. The more features you want to implement, the higher the final cost will be. We’ve made our own estimate based on the must-have features mentioned before.
The estimate below is APPROXIMATE and based on the average hourly rate in Ukraine ($50/h). This is estimate WITHOUT design cost yet.
User app for iOS and Android
Courier app for iOS and Android
Web-based solution for restaurants
Web-based admin panel
You’ve gathered all the necessary features that’ll be implemented in your app, but how to succeed in competition with other food delivery apps? We’ve prepared a few helpful tips that will guide you in the right direction.
Market Analysis Is a Must
What is the most popular food in your area? What apps are your direct competitors and what is their niche? Answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of what to do next. The definition of your own niche is also important, so come up with that aspect too.
Attract and Retain Users
Test your app in a small region and get your first users for collecting feedback. For this, you should collaborate with local eateries to actually have something to deliver. Keep up the platform development and don’t forget about the service side. This will keep your customers with your platform for a long time.
Retain Your Couriers
Make a partnership with you tempting for couriers. Encourage their hard work with a high salary, rewards, and flexible working schedules. This strategy will make your couriers happy and keep their partnership with you.
However, it depends on the model you’ve chosen. If you’re just a marketplace and have no couriers, then this piece of advice is pointless for you.
Now you know how to make your own food delivery app. It’s time to talk about how to earn money with it. There are several ways to make a profit from food delivery apps. We’ve analyzed the most popular food delivery apps that we mentioned in the intro and we came to the conclusion that these apps use two strategies in their services.
It’s a very common way of monetization and lots of industry giants use it. This strategy is based on a simple rule: restaurants pay a fixed price to be featured on a food delivery app so it’s another branch of this strategy that is simple advertising.
Sometimes it’s a percentage from each delivered order. For example, Uber Eats takes 15% from the order subtotal. You can also add an option for different restaurants to pay the extra price so they can appear in recommendations. It’s another branch of this strategy that is simple advertising.
This means that customers pay an additional price for delivering orders to their doorsteps. This type of payment can also be divided into fixed and floating fees. Some companies make fees related to the delivery distance, while others charge fixed prices that vary from app to app. For example, Seamless charges a fixed price of $6 from a customer for each order.
There is another way to profit within this strategy. You can increase fees during special hours of the day. Uber Eats is using this strategy from its foundation. During lunch and dinner, when the load is high, Uber Eats raises delivery fees as well as restricts menu choice.
Different ways to profit from food delivery app
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Food delivery app consists of four apps with various functions and different features. To build a food delivery app properly, it should include:
Customer app with features like:
- Registration and login
- Restaurant search
- Real-time order tracking
- Order placement and payments
- Rush notifications, ratings, and reviews
Restaurant app with these features:
- Registration and login
- Menu management (changing meals)
- Order management (accepting orders/status change)
- Rating and reviews (replies on customers' comments)
Courier app with features like:
- Registration and login
- Order detail and status (accepting/declining orders)
- Order history
Admin panel with these features:
- Admin login
- Restaurant manager (adding and deleting restaurants from search)
- Analytics, payment manager (fee management)
- Discount and coupons manager
The whole food delivery app system works like this:
- Customer places an order via food delivery app.
- Restaurant accepts an order.
- Courier that is nearest to the restaurant, accepts an order and takes if from the restaurant.
- Courier delivers an order to the customer.
To make your own food delivery app just follow these steps:
- Research the competitors and define your niche (what is the most ordering food in your region).
- Come up with the features for your app. Keep up with the must-have features and consider adding extra features to your app.
- Work out your monetization strategy.
- Estimate the time and development cost. Developing companies provides estimations for your projects based on your ideas.
- After receiving an estimate, you can hire developers and start the development.
- Launch your app.
You can choose between two monetization strategies:
Restaurant fee Your service charges fixed (or floating fee) for each delivered order. You can also charge a payment for a restaurant for presence in your app and appear in recommendations (advertising)
User fee Customer pays the extra price (fixed or floating) for the delivered order. An additional aspect of this strategy is that you could profit from special hours of the day when the load is high (for example, lunch-time and dinner). You can raise delivery fees during this ours to make more profit.
The food delivery app development cost starts from $100,000 and above.
The undisputed champion of the world food delivery market, for now, is Uber Eats. This service covers more than 500 cities in 25 countries. This app has more than 100,000,000 downloads on Google Play Market only.
In the second place, we've got a Just Eat that working in 13 countries and has more than 5,000,000 downloads on Google Play Market.
The leading player in the US market is a GrubHub. Its service covers more than 1,150 cities in the US.
The most popular Asian food delivery app is Meituan Waimai, which has around 40% of the Asian food delivery market.
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