The market for on-demand applications has been gaining more revenue and traction in the last few years. Especially in 2020, the market experienced significant growth when people could not freely leave their homes and lost the possibility to go out for dinner or even to shop for groceries. In 2021, the revenue of the online food industry reached more than $302,826 million and will likely continue to grow.

food delivery app development stats

With delivery apps like Uber and GrubHub dominating the market, food delivery app development becomes more challenging and overwhelming. But what is the secret? Is it even possible to create a successful delivery app? In this article, we will investigate the food delivery app development process based on a real-life example and learn the features, tech stack, and costs of a food app like Uber Eats.

Create a food delivery app like UberEats

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Before learning how to develop an on-demand food delivery app, let’s take a look at the top five most popular and beloved apps.

 

Uber

iOS & Android
Number of users: 66,000,000+

food delivery app development uber
Features: Personalized suggestions based on order history, restaurant manager, various filters to find the best offer, operates in 45+ countries
UVP: Eats Pass subscribers get 5% off all orders
Price: Free, delivery fees vary. Eats Pass is $9.99 monthly

 

GrubHub

iOS & Android
Number of users: 31,400,000+

food delivery app development grubhub

Features: Curbside delivery, various benefits and rewards for drivers and customers, restaurant profit calculating feature, pre-ordering options
UVP: Contact-free delivery option
Price: Free, delivery fees vary, GrubHub+ is $9.99 per month

 

DoorDash

iOS & Android
Number of users: 20,000,000+

food delivery app development doordashFeatures: SafeDash feature that keeps couriers protected, suggested restaurant and items based on previous orders, DoubleDash feature that allows customers to order from multiple venues all at once without extra fees
UVP: The first month is free, including the delivery fees
Price: $9.99 per month, delivery fees vary

 

Postmates

iOS & Android
Number of users: 5,000,000+

food delivery app development postmatesFeatures: Postmates Party feature that allows multiple customers to order from the same vendor and share delivery fees, curbside pickup feature, option for delivery of office and household supplies, alcohol, medicine, pet supplies, convenience store goods, and more
UVP: Delivery from big beauty brands and liquor stores
Price: Free, delivery fees vary

 

GoPuff

iOS & Android
Number of users: 2,000,000+

food delivery app development gopuff

Features: Flat delivery fees depending on the time of the day, GoPuff’s own micro-fulfillment centers and kitchens allow customers to order anything they want from one vendor
UVP: Medicine, electronics, and beauty products delivery
Price: Free, $1.95 flat delivery fees

Food delivery app business models

Selecting a suitable business model is a vital point in the food delivery app development as it directly impacts the product/market fit and determines whether the solution will survive the competition. If you fly too high and go for an aggregator and fail to get restaurants on board, your app will not catch on. Be mindful of your abilities and opportunities and start small as you can always expand later. We will go over two main business models for a delivery service like Uber and explore the benefits and downsides of each option.

 

Aggregator Business Model

The central feature of an aggregator business model is allowing multiple restaurants, stores, and shops to connect to users. This type of food delivery app like Uber provides access to the platform to many businesses and acts as an intermediary between users and restaurant owners. Examples include UberEats, GrubHub, the main Uber Eats competitor DoorDash, and many more. However, the aggregator business model consists of two further categories that we will dive into.

 

#1 Order and Delivery Model

Every app like Uber for food delivery consists of an admin panel, a restaurant side, customer-side, and a delivery service provider. The order and delivery model usually collaborates with a third-party delivery service to ensure that the food reaches the customer. The delivery provider can also set their own fees.

01

Pros

This food delivery app development model opens doors to a broader pool of restaurants as it gives them a self-delivery option which saves them money on third-party delivery services. Additionally, a larger selection of food services provides a better customer experience.
02

Cons

Optimizing the delivery operations and providing the right option to restaurants as per their requirements is a complicated process. The integrated business model demands a feature-packed delivery service to allow admins to seamlessly assign the right delivery option to the restaurants.

#2 Integrated Model

The integrated business model for a food delivery app like Uber allows for external delivery services and restaurant couriers. Many restaurants provide their own courier services or hire a few delivery agents to help them out. This type of app allows restaurants to choose between using the app’s provided delivery services or delivering the food themselves.

01

Pros

This food delivery app development model opens doors to a broader pool of restaurants as it gives them a self-delivery option which saves them money on third-party delivery services. Additionally, a larger selection of food services provides a better customer experience.
02

Cons

Optimizing the delivery operations and providing the right option to restaurants as per their requirements is a complicated process. The integrated business model demands a feature-packed delivery service to allow admins to seamlessly assign the right delivery option to the restaurants.

Inventory Business Model

The inventory business model is an alternative to Uber Eats like applications that connect users to only one business. The platform admin manages and controls the entire value chain, from operating the app and preparing the orders to completing the deliveries. This type of food delivery app like Uber does not allow multiple vendors to offer their services but only focuses on a primary restaurant. Examples include McDonald’s, Domino’s, and other large restaurant chains.

01

Pros

The biggest advantages of this food delivery app development model entail full control over the entire chain of operations as well as lower costs for external delivery services. Besides, the platform is customizable and caters to the users’ needs.
02

Cons

The largest drawback is high operational costs and difficulties associated with serving online and offline clients simultaneously.

Main features

In this article, we will focus on the inventory business model, the UberEats alternative, that involves only one business that runs the app. The main features include four parts: the client side, courier app, admin panel, and the restaurant owner side.

food delivery app development user flow

 

Client side

Registration

food delivery app development registration

Registration is a feature that allows users to sign up and create an account. This process can be led through email, phone, social media platforms like Facebook, and Gmail accounts. Don’t forget to include email confirmation and password restoration.

 

Map

Using geolocation, your customers must be able to find the desired restaurant, especially if you have several locations in the area. Allow users to enable their location to see which vendors are closer to their homes and offices.

 

Order and Shopping cart

food delivery app development order

Apps like UberEats should provide an easy-to-navigate menu and shopping cart with checkout. Implement filters to help users find what they are looking for with a product description and price. The shopping cart should entail all the important information, including the total cost, delivery time, and payment methods.

 

Scheduling

Customers should have an opportunity to select the delivery timeframe to receive the order at the most convenient time.

 

Payment

food delivery app development payment

Make sure to integrate several payment options including PayPal, credit and debit card, Stripe, Apple and Google Pay, etc. Some locations, especially in less technologically advanced parts of the world, still offer cash on delivery.

 

Location tracking

food delivery app development location tracking

After a user has placed the order, allow them to track the courier’s location in real-time. This helps customers gauge how long it will take for the order to arrive, as well as find out about possible delays. Alternatively, companies like Uber Eats and others offer a pick-up option that allows users to get their order from the restaurant. Location tracking can also be useful for the self pick-up feature to help customers quickly find the restaurant.

 

Ratings and Reviews

This option is not vital for an inventory business model but preferable. Reviews will help users learn about various dishes that your restaurant provides and form an opinion about the cuisine before ordering.

 

Courier’s information

Customers should be able to access courier’s data like name, vehicle, and phone number to get in touch with them if needed.

 

Order history

Order history should be stored on the client and restaurant side as well as the admin panel to help them recall their previous orders. Maybe a customer ordered something great and forgot the name of the item, and the history will help them find the dish.

 

Restaurant side

Menu management

food delivery app development menu management

Restaurant owners and employees in charge should be able to add, remove, and edit items on the menu. On top of that, enable the uploading of pictures, descriptions, and prices to complement dishes.

 

Order management

New orders should be easily accessible through the application to accept, decline, or change them. The application should also allow restaurant owners to change the status of the order if necessary.

 

Admin Panel

Restaurant management

This feature involves permission management that allows certain users to conduct various activities.

 

Analytics

Analytics is an integral part of every app admin panel as it gives helpful insights into the app performance metrics. This feature allows administrators to keep track of orders, inventory, delivery times, revenues, marketing campaigns, etc.

 

Payment integrations

Admin panel is where the payment methods are stored and managed to ensure a high grade of security and accuracy.

 

Assigning orders

The app administrator should have access to the delivery personnel to assign or reassign orders and ensure timely and smooth deliveries.

 

Courier side

Registration

Delivery agents also need a signup option to create an account and start working for the restaurant. The signup methods could include email, phone, and social media platforms.

 

Profile creation and verification

To ensure a high-security level, couriers should be able to create a profile and add personal information. Afterward, the admin can check the profile and verify it once all the essential documents and information are in place.

 

Maps

Allow delivery agents to find the easiest route to the customers by integrating a map into the courier side of the app. Check out the UberEats delivery map to make sure yours looks professional and interactive.

 

Order information

Couriers should also be able to access the information about the order such as delivery address and time, the contents of the order, and the user’s name and phone number.

 

Status updates

The Courier side of the app should also include order status updates. For example, when a courier arrives at the restaurant, picks up the order, and leaves to deliver the food, all of these actions should go through the food delivery app like Uber to update the customer.

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Additional Features

Additional features are not necessary for a startup but will come in handy in future iterations. They improve customer experience and provide a unique value to users.

 

Client side

Two-factor authentication

To provide an additional layer of security, you can implement two-factor authentication that requires users to use two means of signup methods like a password and a code sent to their phone number.

 

Notifications

Notifications allow users to do their own thing while waiting for a delivery and get alerts about status changes. You can let customers know about offers, promos, discounts, etc., through simple notifications. These messages incentivize users to check out the offer and place an order with a bonus or discount.

 

Customer support

food delivery app development customer support

In case of any issue or misunderstanding, a customer can contact the restaurant through the customer support feature to ask a question, file a complaint, or solve any other problem. You can also use a chatbot to streamline customer support operations and provide quick services like UberEats does.

 

List of locations

If you have several business locations, provide a list of each one with a detailed address and contact information to allow customers to visit your brick-and-mortar.

 

Tipping

The in-built tipping feature helps customers remember to leave a tip and allows delivery agents to earn some extra income.

 

Personalized suggestions

Based on the order history, your app can suggest similar dishes and beverages to help users make a quick and simple order.

 

Admin Panel

Notifications

Admins should be able to send out or trigger notifications about discounts and special offers. Allow the admin to create, store, and manage loyalty and bonus programs. It will help to incentivize users to continue using the application.

 

Courier side

Availability

If you would like to create a solution similar to the UberEats courier app, allow your couriers to set their custom availability. This way, they can work during the hours they find the most accommodating for their schedule.

 

Tech stack

As you can see from the features list, to create a service like Uber for food delivery, you need to develop a few mobile applications and an admin panel.

The choice of your tech stack begins with the question of native vs. cross-platform food delivery app development. Native app development is on average more expensive than platform-independent but delivers applications with better performance. Cross-platform development is more cost-effective but usually provides slightly lower speed. Let’s take a look at the most used technologies for both options.

 

Delivery App Development for Android

Java and Kotlin are two prominent programming languages for Android food delivery app development. Java is one of the oldest languages and provides a wide range of open-source tools and libraries for mobile app development. Kotlin is a relatively new language that is known for being lightweight, flexible, and fast.

Android Studio is an official integrated development environment (IDE) for Android. It comes with code editing, debugging, and a flexible coding environment. The IDE is a favorite choice of Android app developers as it offers more freedom to focus on creating applications with high speed, great performance, and superior quality.

Android Developer Tools (ADT) is a toolkit that offers a variety of debugging tools, emulators, UI builders, and automation features.

Android Software Development Kit (SDK) is a suite of development tools such as a debugger, libraries, emulators, tutorials, and documentation.

 

Delivery App Development for iOS

The two most prominent programming languages for iOS development are Objective-C and Swift. Objective-C is an older language that enables object-oriented programming and a dynamic runtime environment. Swift is a newer technology that offers dynamic libraries that reduce the app size and improve app performance.

Apple XCode is a toolkit that helps developers create mobile applications. This toolkit allows for debugging, keeping the documentation, and building UIs.

iOS SDK is a set of development tools that give coders access to different functions and services of Apple devices to create advanced applications.

 

Cross-Platform Delivery App Development

Flutter is a UI software development kit built by Google for creating cross-platform applications for Android, iOS and web operating systems. The SDK provides tools to build native-like apps with increased performance and higher functionality compared to other cross-platform development tools. Flutter is known for its extensive documentation and many widgets.

 

Web Development (Admin Panel and API)

React.JS is a highly efficient JS library for building websites with minimal coding. The advantages of React.JS include virtual DOM and components reusability. This JS library is open-source and constantly evolving and advancing to allow coders to create a food delivery website with high performance.

For the backend (API and Admin Panel), Node.JS makes an ideal addition to the tech stack. Node.JS is a Chrome V8 JavaScript engine based runtime environment that improves efficiency and developer productivity as well as accelerates the speed of development.

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Delivery App Development Cost

The food delivery app development costs depend on the app complexity, vendor’s location, and tech stack of your choice. In our example, we will go over a delivery app like Uber, break down the costs of each development milestone and answer the question “how much does a food delivery app cost?” Below you may find an estimate for the food delivery app based on the Inventory Business Model.

food delivery app development cost

 

Discovery phase

The project discovery phase helps you to be prepared for the development of your app. The aim of it is to reduce risks and minimize costs, as well as ensure that the product is technologically perfect to fit the market.

The discovery phase for the food delivery app will take about 3-4 weeks and will have a budget of 8,000-9,000 USD.

Hours (UI/UX designer, developers, PM, QA)
Project init 32 - 35
Detailed description of the main features' logic 12 - 15
Mind map creation 8 - 10
Clickable prototype creation 87 - 100
Solution architecture document 21 - 25
Functional requirements described in a user-story format 32 - 35
SRS - software requirements specification 8 - 10
Proto test 4 - 6
Resources & communication plan 2 - 4
Accurate estimation 10 - 12
Communication, brainstormings 35 - 38
Total, development team hours 251 - 290

App development

Here you can choose between native and cross-platform app development. For API development the DOIT Software team suggests using Node.js.

#1 Native app development

Based on our experience, both native iOS and Android development takes up from 560 to 650 development hours total.

#2 Cross-platform app development

The entire food delivery app development process with Flutter for both iOS and Android lasts from 470 to 550 development hours.

Features Hours (UI/UX designer, developers, PM, QA)
Loading Interface 2 - 3
Location permission 6 - 9
User registration 23 - 29
User Login 14 - 16
Navigation drawer
(Menu, Orders, Profile, Support)
7 - 9
Cart view
(Salads list / Empty state)
26 - 30
Menu / Main
(category filtering, Salads list)
48 - 57
Create a salad
(Image, Ingredients, Total, Add to cart)
34 - 38
Salad interface
(Ingredients management, Total, Extra ingredients, Add to cart)
28 - 34
Ordering
(Salads list & Total, PickUp or Delivery
51 - 61
Order overview 16 - 19
Checkout
(choose the payment method, Order confirmation)
35 - 43
Order Tracking
(Stages with Map integration, Push notifications)
41 - 47
My Orders 26 - 29
User Profile 87 - 104
Support
(Contact block, Map integration, Chat integration)
28 - 35
Total, development team hours 472 - 563

Admin panel

Front-end and backend web development for an admin panel takes about 230 – 280 development hours.

 

Features Hours (UI/UX designer, developers, PM, QA)
Authorization 12 - 15
Dashboard / Orders
(Filtering, search, sorting)
38 - 45
Order status management 16 - 20
Edit menu 50 - 60
Cafe branches list 56 - 66
Contact data 3 - 5
Users data
(search, filtering, order history)
30 - 37
Reporting
(registered users report, Orders, qty. report)
26 - 35
Total, development team hours 231 - 283

Totals

It may take about 4-6 months for an MVP development (a food delivery app based on the Inventory Business Model). The total costs of food app development:

#1 Native food delivery app development: from $52,250 to $59,800.

#2 Cross-platform food delivery app development: $46,300 to $52,000.

Food delivery app monetization

food delivery app development monetization

An application will not be feasible and lucrative without a clear monetization strategy. The strategy should be agreed upon during the discovery phase and proven suitable with calculations and financial projections. There are a few ways to monetize a food delivery app like Uber which we will discuss further.

 

Delivery Fees

Delivery fees can vary depending on the distance, time of the day, and holidays. This method is the most frequently used one for monetizing apps for delivery like Uber. Some of the fees go into the courier’s salary but the rest is a great revenue stream for any restaurant.

 

Advertisement

Like for any other application, food delivery services like GrubHub can offer in-app ads to generate additional income. You can partner up with other restaurants and publish ads for each other. Another way is by employing Google Adsense to monetize ads from Google.

 

Subscription

SaaS applications are becoming more popular every day. You can offer free membership with standard delivery fees and a subscription-based plan that gives users some extra perks. Lower delivery fees, discounts, promos, special offers, bonuses, etc. can be great incentives for a monthly subscription fee for your customers to sign up for.

 

Commission

This is a method that many companies with the order and delivery model prefer, especially with an app similar to Uber Eats and/or Grubhub. If you create an aggregator app that offers services for various restaurants, you may charge a commission for every transaction only. Every new partner will bring in money from orders which will generate a stable source of income for you.

 

Adoption of Other Industries

The market of on-demand food delivery app development is growing from year to year but you can go beyond this and touch on other industries as well. There are custom applications that provide medicine, alcohol, clothes, household items, and other food delivery services. Grocery delivery app development is a viable option next to medicine delivery app development, and other apps as well. On-demand apps do not have to be only about delivery: for example, you can create an appointment-making marketplace to allow users to connect with doctors, dentists, hairdressers, notaries, etc. quickly. Let’s take a look at a successful food delivery app development project from DOIT Software:

Yrgent is a healthcare application that allows patients with urgent problems to connect to medical professionals. The app offers availability checks, appointment sets, and route planning to help users get to the doctor on time. This mobile solution also helps doctors swiftly find new patients without spending money on branding and marketing. Finally, patients get a chance to browse and choose a physician that will help them by perusing reviews and comparing the ratings.

How to Create a Food Delivery App

food delivery app development checklist

The process of food delivery app development is quite long and complicated. We have prepared a concise checklist for creating the best food delivery service.

01

Choose the Business Model

We have mentioned two main business models for food delivery app development. If you would like to create a portal for multiple restaurants, then the order and delivery model is for you. The inventory business model suits food delivery startups that only need an app to deliver food from their own restaurants.
02

Choose a Software Development Partner

This step is vital for a fruitful and smooth development process. Make sure to choose a vendor with sufficient experience backed up with a diverse portfolio. Do not hesitate to ask questions about their processes, communication channels, hiring procedures, etc., to learn more about the potential vendor and how they operate.
03

Discovery Phase

The discovery phase is an essential part of food delivery app development. This phase entails rigorous market research, user personas, food delivery app requirements, project duration, and costs. To build a successful Uber-like food delivery app, you need to learn as much as you can about the market, potential audience, UberEats competitors, etc.
04

Selecting Main Features

Go through our list of main features for a food delivery app like Uber and make sure to implement all of them correctly. If the application is not solving the central user’s issue, it will not become popular or even useful.
05

Tech Stack

Decide on the suitable tech stack depending on your budget and goals. As mentioned before, you can choose between native and cross-platform food delivery app development. Consult with your vendor to learn more about the differences and make the right choice.
06

Development

After all the details are decided upon and you are down to the point of beginning, you can start developing the application. In this phase, it is important to continue regular calls, meetings, and checkups with the vendor. Smooth and continuous communication is key to a successful collaboration.
07

Testing and Maintenance

With the agile framework, software companies begin running tests during the coding phase, not afterward. This way, the testing is more precise and the coding is more flexible. The earlier you start executing tests, the higher are the chances of catching mistakes before going into production. The costs of bug fixes in a food delivery application notoriously grow in the post-production phase.

Conclusion

The market for apps like Uber Eats is likely to continue evolving and growing. If you have an idea for a food delivery app for Android or iOS, it is the right time to jump on this bandwagon. And if you need some help, software developers from DOIT Software are here to offer their food delivery app development services. Contact DOIT Software to learn more about the food delivery app development and build your own Uber, but create it for food delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How much does it cost to make a food delivery app?

The food delivery app development cost depends on its complexity, features, and your choice of technology.
Native food delivery app development: an MVP from $52,250 to $59,800.
Cross-platform food delivery app development: an MVP from $46,300 to $52,000.

How do I start an app delivery business?

First, learn about the business models and choose the most suitable one for you. Then you can move on to the discovery phase to research the market, users, and competitors.

How do you make a successful delivery app?

Not skipping the discovery phase is one of the pillars of building a successful application. This phase helps you better understand the market and users and create a product that will cater to their needs.

How to build a food delivery app?

Delivery service apps require four parts: client side, restaurant side, courier side, and the admin panel. Building these parts and implementing all the necessary features allows you to create a food delivery service like Uber that functions well and attracts new users.

How can I make my food delivery app successful?

One of the most important parts of launching successful and popular food delivery apps is identifying a product/market fit. By thoroughly researching the market and target audience you can assess how well the product will be perceived by the potential buyer.

How much does it cost to build an app like Uber Eats?

The costs depend on the food delivery app features, the location of the vendor company, and the choice of technology. Based on our real-life example, the costs of native food delivery MVP app development lay between $52,250 to $59,800, and cross-platform development costs from $46,300 to $52,000.

Alex CSO
Alexander Pastukh,
CSO @ DOIT Software
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