Food delivery services have always been a timesaver for busy people. However, due to the recent events, they have gained almost vital importance for a much bigger audience. Considering the popularity and potential profitability of such services, we have decided to compile a concise guide on how to build a food delivery application. We will also examine what benefits food delivery apps offer for their owners, partners, and customers.


Why food delivery services are on the rise today?

Putting the 2020 pandemic situation aside, there are many reasons why on-demand food delivery services become even more popular. Services like Grubhub, Uber Eats, Doordash, and others opened new opportunities for restaurants and their customers and made food delivery more affordable than ever. Thus, cafes, restaurants, and other food venues don’t have to hire couriers and spend resources on having their own vehicle fleet.

On the other hand, the number of people who tend to order food instead of cooking themselves continues to grow. The more convenient and save the delivery process becomes, the more people turn their preferences to ordering food online instead of going out.

Delivery users graph

6 Steps of building a food delivery app

This guide implies that you already have a functioning food delivery service that has staff, a vehicle park, and at least a small audience: several partner restaurants and a number of customers. However, your company does not have dedicated software to communicate with customers and partners. This fact hinders its development and prevents it from attracting more clients and gaining more influence on the market. So, a brand software program is a necessary step during the evolution of almost any business.

Building a food delivery application involves two types of activities: marketing and software development. These two paths usually go side-by-side and are equally important for the success of the final product.

Step 1: Market research and competitor analysis

According to Statista, Uber Eats is only one of the most popular food delivery apps in the United States with its 20% usage share, so if you want to build a steady business and feel confident on the market for years, analyze all your direct competitors and best players in the niche.

Diagram of market share

In addition to analyzing your competitors, their strong and weak sides, you’ll need to analyze your target consumer, their needs, preferences, peculiarities, etc. to create not just another Uber Eats but an advanced service.

Step 2: Choosing a software development company

When choosing a development company for creating your business product you need to focus on the following:

- Company’s experience and expertise;

- Feedbacks from clients (it is really easy to check whether feedbacks are real or fake);

- Company’s rates on development;

- Type of collaboration (fixed cost, time and material, or dedicated team)

Step 3: Sharing and discussing your concept and vision with the development team.

This discussion is an extensive process that is vital for the future of the whole endeavor. The result of this stage is the specification of the future application that contains, among other things:

  • Set of preferred features. These features must define the basic requirements for the future app and distinguish it from the rivals.

  • Monetization strategy. There are three main ways to earn money with a food delivery service:

1. Customers pay an extra percentage from the order price for your services.
2. Restaurants pay you an agreed percentage for every delivered order.
3. Restaurants pay when your company advertises them. This is the only feasible way that may be integrated into a software application and used to monetize it.

  • Technology stack. Your app must be targeted to mobile users but also take into account those who use desktops or laptops. Therefore, your software may have the form of two separate native apps for iOS and Android, and an optional web app. Alternatively, you may opt for a hybrid app to cover both mobile platforms at once, and again, an optional web app.

Step 4: The team starts working on the project.

The extent of your involvement in the application development process always depends on you as a client. If you want to focus on your business tasks, you can have a project manager as a part of your development team and just get updates on progress.

Regardless of the type of mobile app, its development always includes:

- Building the server side of the app;

- Building the client side of the app;

- Creating UI/UX design;

- Testing.

Step 5: Preparing a promotional strategy for the app.

Different age groups require different marketing, so when creating your promotional strategy, you need to know what age group is your target audience. According to Statista, the highest use percentage worldwide goes to people of 25-32 years old while the lowest service demand is among the 55-64 age group.

Chart of users by age in percent

Step 6: Software release and post-release support.

The app architecture must provide for advanced scalability to take into account the growing number of customers and restaurants that use your app.

In addition to preparing your app to high-load, we also advise you to make your app scalable in terms of adding new logics and functionalities. For example, you can upgrade your app in the future and extend functionality and benefits for restaurants by adding the possibility for them to order products for cooking and packing via your app. By adding this functionality you will be able to cover a wider audience range and create an entire ecosystem for the food industry.

What functionality and features to include in your app?

Your food delivery service should cover the needs of restaurants and customers that are entirely different in their logics. Thus, your system should comprise at least four modules or separate apps:

  • Module or a mobile app for people ordering food;

  • Module or a web app for restaurants (should be mobile-friendly);

  • Module or a mobile app for couriers;

  • Module or a web app for delivery service managers or administrators.

Functionality and features for restaurants

This group of features is designed for restaurants-partners of the food delivery company. It should include:

  • Personal dashboards;

  • Creating, editing and removing dishes;

  • Updating progress on order;

  • Tracking courier;

  • Push notifications on new orders;

  • Social media integration;

  • Payment;

  • Bonuses for customers;

  • Blacklisting couriers;

  • Setting delivery time, etc.

Functionality and features for customers

These features are aimed at individuals who select and order food from various restaurants. In addition to food delivery, customers also use this app as an aggregator of information from different food providers. That’s why a customer-targeted module or app should include:

  • Creating a personal profile;

  • Making orders;

  • All kinds of filters (by location, cuisine, ingredients, vegan);

  • Order progress update;

  • Tracking courier;

  • Order editing;

  • Block-list for special products in case of allergies (for example, a person selects ingredients they’re allergic to, so the app won’t show dishes with these ingredients or visually mark them as dangerous);

  • Order history;

  • Push notifications on orders, news, etc.;

  • Rating of food, restaurants, and couriers;

  • Reviews and comments;

  • Delayed ordering;

  • Payment options;

  • Blacklisting couriers, etc.

Functionality for couriers

Couriers who pick up the order at a restaurant and deliver it to the customer will also use this app for specific purposes. That’s why it should enable direct communication between couriers and managers and include the following features:

  • Accepting a delivery task in an automated fashion;

  • Taking orders manually;

  • Rejecting orders;

  • Advanced route building that takes into account traffic and other road conditions;

  • Rating restaurants and clients;

  • Dashboard with a history of orders;

  • Money transaction functionality;

  • Notifications and alerts;

  • Uploading personal photos, health certificates, driving license and others for admin approval;

  • Referral functionality, etc.

Functionality for service managers

Last but not least, the application will be used by managers in a food delivery company to assign and control the workflow. They would require such functions:

  • Adding new restaurants;

  • Approving restaurants and couriers;

  • Delivery fee calculation;

  • Conflict resolving;

  • Generating reports on every order;

  • Adding or removing payment options;

  • Adding, editing, and removing information;

  • Archiving data on orders and payment transactions, etc.

How you can make your food delivery app competitive

Since there are already plenty of food delivery apps that have already gained their audience and trust you need to offer your target customer more than your competitors.

First, your app must be both user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, so that restaurants would want to use your services and people would want to spend money on food via your app.

Second, you need to have advanced quality control that will constantly check whether all restaurants compile with all applicable regulations and don’t have problems with food quality and all sanitary standards. Remember that partnering with shady restaurants can (and will) ruin your reputation.

Third, you need to have photo standards for restaurants. Since people will order food via your application, all photos of dishes and products must be of the top quality to stir the appetite and lead to a successful order.

Personal offers, promos, and coupons are always healthy for business and you need to have a strategy that will both satisfy clients with nice discounts and promote restaurants, which will bring your app more popularity.

Having additional features that are absent in the apps of your competitors can also give you a great business advantage. For example, you may give clients the possibility to order custom food items that are not on the menu. Thus, a client chooses the dish type, then chooses ingredients from the available list and places the order for a restaurant willing to provide such service.

Also, the calculating functionality of your app must always be precise so estimated delivery equals actual delivery time. Thus, your system must have different API integrations that allow estimating the required time taking into account weather conditions, traffic, etc.

To make your company competitive, your system must have the analytics functionality. It will give you the full picture of what restaurants are most popular, what restaurants or couriers are better to exclude from your service, etc.

How much does it cost to make an app like UberEats?

To know how much you have to spend on getting a fully-functional food delivery service application you need to have a clear picture on:

  • App type (native, hybrid or cross-platform);

  • Quantity of applications (one hybrid or two native apps – for Android and iOS);

  • What functionality and features you want to include;

  • Stack of technologies (will vary depending on the app type);

  • Rates of the development team (varies depending on developers’ location, experience, etc.);

  • Quantity of specialists who will create your app, etc.

All these aspects have a direct impact on the app development costs, so if you’re interested in building one, ask this question to the development team that will do the actual work.


The delivery industry is on the rise and you can easily enter the market right now. Even though you’ll have to compete with strong delivery services like UberEats, having the right business and marketing strategy along with having a system that will be convenient for restaurant partners, couriers, and people who prefer to order food online will make it easy for you to succeed in business.

Since your entire business will depend on the platform, you need to make sure that it is created by the professionals and is flawless. Otherwise, you might appear in the news as a food delivery service with malfunctioning payment or route building. If you’re looking for a team that will build you a top-quality platform for food delivery that will be scalable and work like a Swiss clock, contact us for a software solution.

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