The world is going mobile, and the demand for utility mobile apps has surged significantly in the past few years. One such field which has been completely transformed is on-demand food delivery. The food delivery mobile apps like Zomato, Uber Eats, Swiggy, Deliveroo, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and many others serve millions of people as per their convenience. Now customers don’t have to depend on limited food options, whether it’s midnight or early morning – people are getting their food delivered when they want and from where they want using food ordering mobile applications.
Do you currently run a food business and want to develop a food delivery app similar to Zomato, Uber Eats, Swiggy, Deliveroo, DoorDash, Grubhub? – Then read this before you build an on-demand food delivery mobile app. According to Statista (An market and consumer data research company), the online food delivery business is one of the fastest-growing businesses – revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2024) of 7.5%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$182,327m by 2024. If you want a piece of that market, then it’s time to jump in on the trends. So, where do you start? In this blog, we aim to provide a detailed explanation of how to develop a food delivery app like Zomato, Uber Eats, Swiggy, Deliveroo, DoorDash, Grubhub.
Step 1: Select the business model
1. Order only model
The order only model was introduced by first-generation restaurant food delivery services such as JustEat, Grubhub, Delivery Hero. In this model, the service providers act as a software layer that aggregates restaurant offerings, assisting them in expanding their market reach. These aggregators did not prove food delivery services. This model’s primary selling point was to bring new orders to the restaurants and replace their phone-based-ordering system with an optimized mobile and web platform. Food ordering apps connect customers with local restaurants and facilitate interactions between them. The online food ordering platforms provide easy search and order functionality to customers.
2. Order and delivery model
The order and delivery model is the advanced version of the first model and is followed by companies like Uber Eats, Zomato, DoorDash. In this model, the service providers bring additional orders and requests to the restaurants and provide their delivery services to deliver orders from restaurants through their fleet of independent couriers. The order and delivery platforms handle logistics for restaurants, food joints, and home delivery services. The order and delivery model is beneficial for the restaurants as they don’t need to invest resources in delivering food and pay couriers or maintain vehicles. The drivers are paid based on the distance traveled to complete a delivery. Nowadays, companies add surge pricing during peak hours and charge over and above the standard delivery rate.
3. Cloud restaurant model
In this model, the restaurants do not provide in-house dining services and only serve as delivery businesses. When a user orders food through the app or website, the food is prepared by the cloud kitchen. It is delivered through its delivery services or delivery provider’s help. Many orders and delivery service providers are also dabbing in the cloud restaurant model, assisting existing restaurants to open cloud kitchens. Since it requires lesser investment, they can offer food at a lower price while still maintaining healthy margins.
4. Meal kit delivery model
The meal kit delivery model is an unconventional market but is gaining traction in the food delivery business catering to customers who prefer to cook based on the recommendations, but do not have time to source all ingredients. In this model, restaurants deliver hand curated ingredients along with their recipes to the customers. Customers have the option to select vegetarian, non-vegetarian, or family, and accordingly, they will be delivered recipes and ingredients to prepare the dishes. In-house chefs prepare different recipes and a team of delivery drivers to provide the meal kit.
Step 2: Select the revenue model
1. Delivery Charges
Food delivery service providers generate revenue by delivering foods from the restaurants to the customer address using an app. The delivery charges are calculated based on the distance traveled or a fixed price.
2. Revenue Sharing
Most food delivery apps collaborate with restaurants on predefined commission rates from each order. The commission rate varies on every order, or it can be fixed based on the size of the order.
3. Advertisement and Promotional Services
The food delivery applications also generate revenue by highlighting the advertising restaurant profiles on the search listings top banner for a fixed amount of time. By paying a fixed amount, restaurants can display their promotional banner or advertisements on the app listings and increase their visibility.
4. Surge Pricing
This approach involves charging delivery surcharge during peak times, such as lunch or dinner, festivals. Various top food delivery startups like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Zomato charge higher delivery amounts – from the customers when the demand is high.
5. Daily Deals
Food delivery apps collaborate with restaurants by offering deals on their dishes. A restaurant’s specific meal is being provided through food delivery apps at fixed prices, often at a very low amount.
6. White Labelling
White labeling is a concept where food delivery service providers source food from restaurants and sell them as per their offering. Through this method, food aggregators generate revenue, while restaurants are not needed to make any hassle. This arrangement is especially ideal if a restaurant is not well-known.
Step 3: Latest market trends
1. Social Media Ordering
Domino’s Pizza was the first organization to provide social media order. Through this feature, Domino’s Pizza customers can use their Twitter account to order pizzas.
Through Chatbots, customers can easily order food just by placing the orders. Domino’s pizza’s virtual assistant named Dom can take orders via Twitter and Facebook messengers. The chatbot also informs customers about the latest deals and vouchers.
Through Smartwatches, customers can smartly order food just by placing the orders. Domino’s pizza’s is giving customers yet another new way to place their order, all from the convenience of their wrist. Domino’s customers can now place and track their orders via Pebble and Android Wear smartwatches.
4. Amazon Echo & Alexa Virtual Assistant Devices
A food delivery company like Grubhub has integrated its system with Amazon’s virtual assistant device Alexa. Grubhub customers can reorder any of their last three purchases made through their platform. Besides placing orders, the Alexa device also provides the estimated delivery time.
Many food delivery companies support smart & easy ordering from WhatsApp, WeChat, Voice Ordering, and more.
Step 4: Select the features
If you are going for the order only model, you have to manage three parts – the customer app, restaurant app, and the admin app. If you consider the order and delivery model, then it will have an additional driver app. The following are the detailed features of a food delivery app.
1. User App
Sign-Up & Profile Management: Sign up is the first interaction between the customer and the app. Users need to register and create their profile on the app by entering needed details such as name, address, phone numbers, etc. The registration process should be seamless. You can add an option for registering via social networks, OTP, and more.
Geo Location: This essential feature allows users to track a delivery boy’s location. This feature also enables users to find the location of the restaurant on the Map.
Restaurant List: A list of restaurants with their reviews and rating be displayed to the users, which can order food from these restaurants as per their preference.
Delivery Address: This feature enables the app to identify the user’s current location if they are away from their regular address. Users should be allowed to save multiple addresses for delivery.
Food Cart: Customers may often not find all they want from one restaurant – hence this option will allow them to order from different places. Users can also add or remove food items before making payment.
Payment Mode: Integrate multiple payment modes such as online (Digital Wallet, Debit/Credit Cards, and Rewards Points) and cash on delivery to streamline the payment. Online payment should be safe and secure.
Order Scheduling: This feature allows the customer to order food at a scheduled time to receive the order without any challenges such as unavailability of food, late delivery, and higher charges.
Review & Rating: Users can rate or provide reviews on different restaurants and dishes that they have ordered. Reviews add transparency to the process and become a guideline for other users who are ordering food online.
Order History: This feature allows users to view the previously placed food orders from order history. This feature helps customers who like to make repeated orders and saves them from the hassle of searching for restaurants and dishes.
Push Notifications: This functionality allows you to transmit information about best offers, seasonal discounts, coupons on the customer’s screen using push notifications.
Advanced Filters: Advanced multiple search options make the process of ordering easier for the customers. They can filter restaurants based on location, price, review, and rating. Similarly, users can search for various food items, by cuisine, type, category, quantity, price, etc.
Real-Time Tracking: This feature allows the user to track the order status in real-time.
Promos & Coupons: This feature enables you to offer promotional offers to users that improve customer retention and increase orders.
Help & Customer Support: Customers should be able to reach out to the support team if they face any challenges with order delivery, such as delay in delivery, the wrong item delivered, contacting the delivery person, unavailability at the delivery address.
2. Admin App
Dashboard: The dashboard is a centralized system where the Admin handles the entire operation. Through the panel, Admin can track orders received from the customers, manage inventory updates, and other business activities.
Registration & Profile Management: The admin panel should also have a registration and profile management feature where it can add details about customers, drivers, and restaurants. The different restaurants can register to your service with their details like restaurant name and address, their menus and prices, offers, etc. once they have registered, they can start receiving orders from the customers.
Manage Customers: The Admin can add or remove users or change their active status. This feature enables the Admin to view complete information linked to users such as their contact details, address.
Payment Management: This function enables the Admin to view and manage all the transactions that have taken place in the app, including refunds. The Admin can also manage tax and commission related information in the app. Admin can track all the accepted online payments and set the commission rates with every partner.
Order Management: The option allows managers to assign orders once they receive a request from the customer. The Admin can monitor the order status, total amount earned per order, and make relevant business decisions.
Driver Management: This feature enables the Admin to observe all necessary information related to drivers such as their contact information, trip details, the total commission earned, availability, login time. The Admin can add or remove drivers, modify their details, and check their current status.
Modify Elements of the App: The Admin should be able to manage the entire process – start from the users and other information to change the design of the app.
Reset Passwords: The app maintains the driver and customer database, and the Admin should be able to reset the passwords on user request.
Campaign Management: To attract and sustain customers, the app should have a facility to plan and run SMS, Email, and Social Media marketing campaigns.
Discounts & Promotions: This app feature allows Admin to add or run promotional offers or discounts on the app.
Manage Restaurants: This feature enables the Admin to add or remove restaurants from the app.
Feedback Management: This feature enables the Admin to view customer’s ratings and reviews and check their feedback.
Push Notifications: Admin can get the notifications of the emails, order delivered, drivers accepting the request.
Reporting & Analytics: By leveraging real-time Analytics, the Admin can obtain actionable insights to manage the business effectively. The data assists the Admin to plan strategies to boost sales and user experience. Admin can monitor what discounts are gaining traction, what products are moving quickly, and optimize their offerings accordingly.
3. Restaurant App
Managing Orders: The order management feature allows restaurants to handle the orders they receive and the delivery of those orders. They can manage and update the status of the order and let the user know when their order will be delivered.
Accounts & Management: From the admin app, the restaurants registered should be able to manage and edit the payment and financial accounts.
Dashboard: Dashboard of restaurant panel features the new order status, orders under preparation, canceled orders, and completed order, the total amount collected on each order, and take actions accordingly.
Restaurant Profile: Restaurant owners can add and update their food listings, prices, and make them available for ordering based on availability.
Add Products: The store manager can push new items to the restaurant via this app and see the changes reflected in the app in real-time.
Accept & Reject Order: Restaurant owners can accept or reject orders.
Payment: Multiple payment options and gateways allow the restaurant to receive or transfer money.
Brand Management: If a restaurant is operating from multiple locations on the app, they should be able to manage these stores seamlessly.
Special Offers & Coupons Management: Store owners can plan and add new deals, discounts, coupons, and offers to drive sales and improve customer retention.
Order Alerts: Store owners get real-time notifications for new orders and can take further action.
Track Payments: Store owners can add account details and view successful and pending payment settlements.
Order Reports: Store owners should get real-time information about their business performance so they can take action accordingly.
Customer Support: With the customer support feature, the Store manager can efficiently address order or restaurant-related issues.
4. Delivery App
Registration: The delivery person can register on the app. They need to be first verified by the app to ensure safety and security to the overall process. Once the verification process is completed, drivers can take orders and start delivering.
Order: In this, the delivery boy gets auto-assigned order requests from nearby restaurants.
Delivery History: With this feature, the delivery person can track their deliveries and payment for each delivery.
Call & Chat: This feature allows the delivery boy to contact the customer if they face any issue in finding the customer’s addresses.
Online Support: Consider this feature in your app to allow the delivery agent to communicate with the app support team.
Managing Orders: Through this feature, the delivery person can check if they receive order requests, and accept or reject orders.
Status Update: The delivery person can update the status of the delivery with this feature.
Step 5: Select technology stack
The tech stack would depend on the food delivery app business model, required features by the app, mobile app development approaches, and more.
– Programming Language for Android: Kotlin, Java, and more
– Programming Language for iOS: Swift, Objective-C, and more
– IDE for Android: Android Studio and more
– IDE for iOS: Xcode and more
– Framework: React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, Adobe PhoneGap, Ionic, and more
– Backend Development: PHP, Java, and more
– Database: MySQL, MongoDB, and more
– Payment Gateway: Stripe, PayPal, Square, and more
– API’s: Google Maps, HERE Maps, MapKit, Routific, and more
– Storage: Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and more
– Analytics: FireBase, Google Analytics, and more
Time and Cost to develop a food delivery app
The time and cost of a food delivery app development depend on various factors such as the number of platforms, app development approaches, needed user experience, features list, number of API integrations, etc. Additional features can cost more. The app development cost also depends on the app development company and location where the app is being developed.
Approximate Time: Initial technical documentation and designing process takes 50 hours. Creating a UI/UX design is around 130 hours. Building the backend of the app will be 150 hours. Testing and bug fixing can require almost 120 hours. Deployment and releasing require 30 hours. This means the total hours required is 480 for the app development.
Approximate Cost: App development companies charge on per hour basis, and the charges may vary based on location. The USA based app developers hourly charges are between $150 to $200. While European app developer’s hourly charges are between $100 to $150. The India based app developers hourly charges are between $30 to $100. To get app development cost, you need to apply this formula (Total Hours Required for the App Development * App Developers/App Development Companies Hourly Cost = Total App Development Cost). As per the above time, let’s calculate the cost using this formula (480 Hours * $50/Per Hour = $24,000).
Whether you own a food business and are looking to build your food delivery app like Zomato, Uber Eats, Swiggy, Deliveroo, DoorDash, Grubhub – we can tell you one thing that now it’s a good time to develop a food delivery app. Because once your food delivery application is installed on your customer’s smartphones – its icon reminds them of your delicious food every time they scroll.
Do you want to build a food delivery app in Native, Cross-Platform, Hybrid, PWA, or with other approaches? Do you want to develop a food delivery application for Android, iOS, iPhone, iPad? – Talk to a Mobile App Development Company and understand how we will add value to your food delivery app in terms of technical expertise and business knowledge. Choose an experienced technology partner, like us, who can not only help you understand the best approach for your food ordering application but also deliver a high-quality food delivery app within the budget and time. Have a food delivery app startup in mind? – Contact Us!