Building a Food Marketplace Like UberEats: Features, Cost and Tech Side

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05 Apr 2019
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16 min
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Maria D.
Copywriter

Recent study finds that around 44 percent of consumers in the US use food delivery services at least once per month. Great time for online food startups to flourish, isn’t it? And that’s exactly what UberEats, Foodpanda, GrubHub, and other food delivery platforms do.

But building a food marketplace is not that easy. Its development takes a lot of time, finances, and you won’t fit all required features in a single app. There’s rather one app for users, another for couriers, and admin panel for restaurants. Each having its own features and complexities.

In our article, we’re discussing all the ropes of building a food delivery marketplace and promoting it. So if you want to find out more about UberEats-like app features, tech side, marketing, and development cost – keep reading.

Food Delivery Marketplace Models

There are two main food delivery startup models taking a big share of the current market. Let’s take a more detailed look at both.

Food Ordering Platform

Food ordering apps act as an aggregator offering nearby eateries to its users. They connect customers with a wide network of food venues and simplify their interactions. The system constantly gathers information about restaurants, and users can access this data after registration. Using food ordering apps, customers can easily check menus and look through restaurants’ rates and reviews.

This model helps restaurants to expand their market while customers simply look for a good place to order food from. Although these platforms do not offer delivery services (restaurants have to use their own couriers), they gain profit by charging up to 15% commission to restaurants.

Here’s how the system works:

  1. Users choose food and place an order.
  2. The payment is authorized within the system.
  3. A restaurant receives the order and starts preparations.
  4. The food is handed to the restaurant's courier.
  5. The courier brings food to the customer, payment is deducted.

The biggest challenge for such startups is building a wide network of nearby food venues. App owners should look for all possible partners, including small eateries. This is done to attract as many users as possible to a particular food marketplace.

The examples of food ordering apps are:

All these platforms are well-designed and have different filters (by dish, location, price, etc.) to help users find the best eatery. Still, they remain limited in options and income sources.

How food ordering applications work

How food ordering platforms work

Food Order & Delivery Platform

Food delivery model differs from restaurant aggregators as it provides full logistics support. These services are a great asset for startups, small restaurants, and other minor venues in the food industry. As new entrants often don’t have enough resources to establish their own delivery, they turn to companies providing such services for a fee.

With a food delivery platform restaurants no longer need to worry about delivery management – no personnel, vehicles, fare cost, and so on.

Order and delivery platforms work in the following way:

  1. Users place an order, payment gets authorized.
  2. Eatery receives the order and starts food preparation.
  3. The platform arranges delivery by providing their own couriers.
  4. When the order is ready, the eatery notifies a courier.
  5. The courier picks the food up and completes the delivery.
  6. When the customer confirms the delivery, payment is deducted.

These platforms charge restaurants up to 30% of total order price. In addition, customers also pay a delivery fee (fixed or depending on the distance).

The best examples of these platforms are:

How food ordering&delivery platforms work

How food order&delivery platforms works

A Word About Monetization

In this article, we’re covering Uber-like apps and thus order&delivery model. So let’s find out how these platforms earn money.

UberEats delivery rates currently depend on distance (previously the company charged a fixed $4.99 fee in the USA). It’s a great resource of stable income, still, the company doesn’t stop on a single approach.

If there are more orders in a certain area than available couriers, Uber charges so-called ‘fee for busy areas’. This fee ensures that customers will get food in time even if all delivery partners are busy.

As mentioned, UberEats also charges restaurants 30% commission. So if a customer has paid $50 for their order, the restaurant will only get $35 (Stripe fee not included).

Finally, UberEats gives restaurants a chance to promote their services through paid advertising. In simple terms, UberEats offers to feature venues on the top of the list for an additional fee.

How UberEats monetize their services

How UberEats monetize their services

As you can see, both models have their benefits. Although the food delivery platform is a way more profitable, it’s also more expensive to launch. So if you’re new to developing food delivery websites, it may be better to start with the order-only system. As soon as your business grows, you can easily transform it into an order & delivery platform.

What to Consider Prior to Food Marketplace Development?

If you want to develop a food marketplace, building a single app is not enough. For instance, UberEats consists of Customer App for clients, Delivery App for couriers and Admin Panel for restaurants.

Still, prior to contacting a company that provides web development services or works with mobile platforms, make sure to define the features you need.

Customer App Features

We’ve listed the most important features your app should have, starting with customer application.

Must-have Features

Let's review the following customers' features of a food delivery marketplace:

  1. Registration and profile management
  2. Search field
  3. Order placement
  4. Payment
  5. Order tracking
  6. Notifications
  7. Rating & reviews

1. Registration and profile management

Users get acquainted with the app directly from the sign-up page. That’s why the registration process should be fast and easy, asking for minimum details. Most apps use email, password, and phone number combinations or integrate the platform with Google or Facebook.

After the registration, customers should be able to customize their profiles by adding photos, preferences, entering and saving payment details, and delivery address. Or they may like to choose default profile settings which should be applied automatically with each new login.

Finally, not only registering but logging in through Facebook or Twitter instead of entering email/phone+password is much simpler for the users.

2. Search field

After profile setup, users get access to the data and require a configured search option to navigate. Customers search where to order food using restaurant’s or cafe’s name, location or menu for their convenience. In addition, search fields usually include various filters to simplify the process and let users sort options by choosing price ranges, cuisines, or even ingredients.

3. Order placement

When it comes to making an order, the process should be clear and easy. Otherwise, you risk losing customers before getting any income. Users should be able to add a dish to their carts in one-two clicks, as well as edit or remove it. Then goes the summary including important details about the order that should be confirmed before making a payment. And consider adding a range of delivery services – customers can probably pick the order up by themselves, no couriers needed.

4. Payment

We’re done with picking dishes and delivery methods, so it’s payment time. The main points to take care of on this stage are speed, security, and convenience. Mind integrating a few payments gateways like a credit card, PayPal and Stripe. Start with offering 2-3 payment methods and when your business expands you can always add more if needed.

?

Looking for secure payment systems? Check our comparison of PayPal vs Stripe vs Braintree .

In case users have previously added payment details to their profiles, let them choose this option during check-out to simply the process.

5. Order tracking

The payment is complete and we have hungry people waiting for their food. That’s when the tracking feature becomes more than handy as can easily find out when the order will reach them. Courier’s tracking is done by using Location API provided by Google (Android) or CoreLocation framework (iOS). Both determine couriers’ current location to let the app display an approximate delivery time.

Customers track couriers via the app

Users can track couriers via the app

6. Notifications

Busy customers don’t have time to track the process. That’s why notifying users about order’s status (Placed, In Progress, On Its Way, Delivered) via push notifications or SMS works perfectly. Just make sure that you send only important notices.

Custom push notifications sent via UberEats app

Custom notifications sent by UberEats

7. Rating & reviews

The food has finally reached the customer, and they may want to share their great experience. The best way to do that is giving the highest rating or writing a review. Engage users by offering them to evaluate their experience – delivery services, waiting time, and the dish itself.

Review section will surely let you and restaurant owners know if there are some issues with the personnel and food quality.

UberEats customers rate provided services

Rating system in UberEats app

Additional Features

The features I’ve listed above are required for a food delivery marketplace. Still, to enhance UX, you may think of applying additional options to make your app stand out.

They include:

  1. Bookmarks
  2. Order history
  3. Estimated delivery time
  4. Discount system
  5. Social networks

1. Bookmarks

When customers need to get something to eat quickly and don’t have time for searching, they’re likely to check bookmarks or wishlist. Using this feature, customers can mark dishes they want to try or add best food places to order from.

2. Order history

A list of previous orders is another feature working on great user experience. By checking the order history, customers can easily find the names of dishes they liked the most and order them once again.

3. Estimated delivery time

It works great for user experience. Now people can plan their time and keep pace with modern life. And you are offering relief from waiting and guessing how soon the food will arrive right from the start.

UberEats app shows customers when the order will be delivered

Users can see when their food will be delivered

4. Discount system

It’s simple yet extremely effective to offer rewards. For instance, start with offering free delivery services or a drink for big orders. Apply membership or cumulative discounts, or special promo codes to customers to boost their loyalty.

5. Social networks

Allowing users to link their social network accounts works for both consumer loyalty and the company’s promoting. After all, which company doesn’t want to have their own hashtag on Instagram or Twitter?

Courier App Features

It’s high time to move to delivery guys. Here I’ve mentioned the most important features that cover the needs of personnel and business owners.

Here's the features I cover:

  1. Registration and profile setup
  2. Order management
  3. Status updates
  4. Delivery history
  5. Earnings screen

1. Registration and profile setup

Same way as customers, delivery personnel should have their own profiles for identification. Once the profile is created, couriers get access to the system’s database and can track recent orders.

2. Order management

As soon as the couriers have registered in the system, they can access all relevant information including the list of nearest orders. To start accepting offers, couriers should toggle ‘go online’ button. Also, delivery personnel should be able to accept or decline customers’ requests.

Couriers toggle the button and start accepting orders

Couriers toggle 'Online' button to start accepting orders

Couriers toggle the button and start accepting orders

3. Status updates

For customers’ convenience, delivery personnel should update their statuses along the way. In this case, clients will remain aware of order processing and estimate the waiting time.

For example, these statuses may include:

  • Accepted/declined
  • Delivery in progress
  • Delivered

Once the delivery is complete, the customer should confirm it via the platform. The payment is then deducted from customers’ account or handed out to the delivery partner.

4. Delivery history

Making notes and reviewing the list of delivered orders is useful for couriers. This way they can leave a note next to difficult delivery places or routes.

5. Earnings screen

In addition to delivery history, couriers should be able to check their daily and monthly earnings. The app should also display the current balance, recent transactions, promotions, and cashing out possibilities.

Couriers can see their earnings directly in UberEats app

My earnings screen in UberEats

Admin Panel for Restaurants

The goal of an admin panel is to transfer order information from the customer to the restaurant staff. Then restaurants process orders in their way and pass the dish to the couriers. They may work with internal delivery services provided by the app or use their own delivery personnel.

In this section we're reviewing:

  1. Registration and profile management
  2. Content management
  3. Order management
  4. Payments

1. Registration and profile management

Works the same way as with customers and couriers. However, the restaurants should also be able to add all business’ details to their profiles. It can be their name, location, menus, and more.

2. Content management

Restaurant’s admin panel mainly focuses on attracting clients and promoting the eatery. Thus, it’s important to let restaurant staff add or update details about the dining place, including its name, address, working hours, etc.

After that comes the menu management. Staff should be able to add names and description of dishes, edit or remove positions, update prices. Finally, don’t forget about adding photos as it’s a great tool for user attraction.

How eateries add menu via UberEats admin panel

Menu management from restaurant’s side

3. Order management

In order to manage the process efficiently, the staff should track incoming orders and update their statuses. Real-time updates on the preparation process, order cancellation or completion and delivery status are also must-haves.

How eateries manage orders via UberEats admin panel

Order management screen

4. Payments

Here comes the best part of any business – when the venue receives the money. The payment should be released to the restaurant as soon as the client confirms successful food delivery.

Synchronization via API

As mentioned, food marketplaces consist of three apps, and in order for the whole system to work, they should show only up-to-date information. Thus, an arrangement of data exchange between apps and the server is vital for the whole service.

In order to synchronize data developers apply client-server architecture using API for data exchange. When a user places a request, the client first reaches API which defines their profile type (super admin, restaurant, courier or customer) and only then goes to the database to return relevant information.

Although data is usually ‘pulled’ from a database via API request, in some cases information get cached and thus can be accessed through the client even when there’s no Internet connection.

Synchronization in food delivery marketplace apps

How synchronization works

Ways to Promote a Food Delivery Marketplace

Promotion is often as important as mobile development itself. Otherwise, how customers are ever going to find out the app exists? To help you with this uneasy task, we've prepared top tips and tricks for promoting a food delivery marketplace. They work both for app users and eateries, introduce the target audience and explain why the design is that important.

Ways to promote a food delivery marketplace

How to promote a food delivery marketplace

Tech Side and Development Team

Now is the time to dive into more technical aspects of food marketplace development. Based on our experience with food delivery apps, we've singled out an approximate tech stack for this kind of project.

Technology stack:

  • Programming languages: Kotlin (Android) and Swift (iOS)
  • Back-end development: Node.js

Frameworks and libraries:

  • Mailing service: Amazon SES
  • SMS service: Twilio
  • Synchronization: Socket.io
  • Push notifications: FCM
  • Social media integration: Facebook SDK
  • Maps: Google Maps
  • Navigation: Google Directions
  • Addresses: Google Places
  • Payment provision: Braintree
!

Please keep in mind that the aforementioned list of technologies is not final. It differs from app to app according to business objectives, features, platforms and so on.

Development team:

  • Project Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • UI/UX designer
  • Android engineer (2)
  • iOS engineer (2)
  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • QA engineer

The Cost to Develop a Food Delivery Platform Similar to UberEats

Finally, it’s time to define the approximate cost of food delivery platform development. Our experienced business analysts and engineers have estimated the development cost of the following applications and their features:

  1. Customer App
  2. Courier App
  3. Admin Panel for restaurants
  4. Super Admin Panel for owner
  5. Frameworks and libraries integration
!

Please note that food marketplaces often include a fully-fletched web application which was not added to the estimation.

Full cost of a food delivery marketplace development

How much a food delivery marketplace costs

Need more?

Haven't found answers to your questions or need a free custom-made estimate of your food delivery platform? Fill in this short contact form and our managers will contact you back as soon as possible.

Still not sure? Here are several ways how we save our clients money by reducing the overall development time.

1. Documentation. We have a workflow template for both web and mobile development. All the points are already added to the specification, and we only adjust them to each new project.

2. Front-end. We use Inspinia to provide a prepared template of the admin panel, so there’s no need to spend time on its designing.

3. Back-end. We have a ready-made architecture framework for web development.

4. Mobile applications. Our engineering team has created a starter project with a common authorization approach with developed architecture.

Our Expertise

Finally, we’d like to introduce an on-demand platform we’ve developed – Ayio . The service allows users to find a specialist in various fields – from repairing jobs to babysitting.

What we were up to?

  • Adjust quick switching between customer and vendor, and provide top-notch service.
  • Design simple and intuitive UI/UX
  • Build a high-functional and user-friendly service remaining within the MVP budget

Result?

We’ve offered a solution that led to creating a functional platform with good looking UI/UX design.

Ayio main features include:

  • Sophisticated search system. Developers created a complex search system (including search by categories). Its engine memorizes the last user request, making the search process faster and more convenient.
  • Custom payment account. We've developed a payment profile as custom one using Stripe. Users don't have to manage their accounts constantly. Instead, it’s created once and then funds are transferred to the banking account automatically.
  • Activity tracking. With real-time tracking of income and expenses, users can easily estimate certain services. And vendors track their pays and spendings, drawing receipts in real-time mode.
Project development stack

Technologies used for Ayio delivery

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