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How to Create a Food Delivery App

08.06.2019 Christina Kovalevich
Food Delivery App

Like many, I want my dinner to appear in my kitchen as soon as I come home. That desire can become reality if someone decides to create a food delivery app for a restaurant. Where can I begin the process of building a food delivery app? Read this article and contact us to discuss the details.

Our company has successfully launched on-demand service apps in the USA, and we want to share our experience with you! In this post, you will find a brief food delivery app development guide. We will discuss the various types of food delivery services, examine how they work, and estimate general prices.

Online food delivery market state

In July 2017, Cowen and Company carried out research to identify the most popular food delivery apps among US internet users. The research concluded that the two most widely used applications are GrubHub and UberEats. As of May 2017, they had 15 million and 9 million active users, respectively.

Restaurant Delivery Services Used By US Internet Users

Despite a rich diversity of online food delivery options in the USA, other countries lack the same access to similar apps. People who want to eat at home but feel as if they are at their favorite restaurant, are forced to stay hungry because there isn’t a food delivery option in their city.

Food delivery service types

This market wouldn’t have grown quite so large had it not been for the various types of food delivery apps. All of the apps provide quick, online access to menus and discounts, offer convenient payment options, and feature real-time delivery tracking. However, app models such as aggregators, new delivery apps, and full-stack apps apply to different purposes.

The aggregator model emerged early and solved the problem of not having the necessary resources to gather chosen restaurants together and allow diners to compare offers. In the aggregator model, users are able to access one portal and order from their favorite restaurants, receiving their favorite dishes. The disadvantage of this model is that the restaurant is also responsible for the delivery of the food; therefore, it takes more time for the dish to get from the cook to the customer. The app owner only provides order processing; the restaurant is responsible for cooking and delivery.

The new delivery apps, unlike the aggregators, are responsible for food distribution in addition to helping the restaurant manage the orders. The orders come to the administrator who allocates them between the couriers and sends a request to the restaurant kitchen to cook the dish. These delivery and order apps are beneficial for new restaurant promotion and for restaurants without delivery service. It costs more to cooperate in this way; however, only a few restaurants have a delivery system in place, so services such as the new delivery apps are a great opportunity for restaurants to their dedicate time to cooking.

The full-stack delivery services run the entire process, from cooking to receiving payment. This system’s integration requires a lot of time because such services are usually divided into three interconnected apps: one for the courier, another for the restaurant, and yet another for the consumer. This design helps to meet the needs of all parties. At the start of the process, the order moves automatically from the customer to the restaurant. The manager is notified about the new request, and the kitchen is able to start cooking immediately. When the meal is ready, the restaurant ensures that the order is visible to the couriers that are waiting nearby. The courier chooses what to deliver and finally ends the cycle by arriving at the door of the consumer.

How do food delivery apps work?

Food delivery apps provide convenience and opportunity to many. They are a great way for a person or a family to cope with their busy lives and not enough time to cook. Deliverers get a great chance to earn some money using only their driver’s license. Additionally, restaurants become accessible online thanks to the service.

To understand how the system works, it is important to see how each of its parts behaves.

The customer plays a central role in the system. His or her actions are quite predictable, and the general model is as follows:

Customer's Actions

The courier wants to receive more delivery requests. Their steps should include the following:

Courier's Actions

Clearly, delivery apps can’t exist without restaurants. Each restaurant should control the process throughout all stages, from getting the app to leaving feedback. The process should include:

Restaurant's Actions

Food delivery app development steps

Creating the three different parts (consumer, courier, and restaurant) of the app is complicated. If you want your service to be profitable and your app to be recognizable, then you should invest money and time. Therefore, we advise turning to professionals for help. They will work to devise the entire development process and will make it efficient.

Here are the key steps to app development that we use in our company:


At this step, you should understand what you want and how you plan to get it. It’s time to determine your target audience and which of their problems your app will solve.

In March 2018, Cowen and Company deduced a formula for the best food delivery app, determining that it should be urban-oriented, have a greater focus on delivery, and have a minimum average delivery sum of $15–20.

Food Delivery Service Success Formula

You should understand that each of the three parties involved in the delivery process require the consideration of their unique points of view. The customer wants to get food quickly in the fewest number of steps and by paying as little money as possible. The courier opens the app in order to see the map with pick-up and drop-off locations as well as an optimal route. The restaurant wants to have a convenient admin panel in order to instantly receive orders after consumer placement as well as for the management of dishes and orders.


At this point, you should identify your rivals, study the target market, and analyze popular cuisines for delivery in your region. Make sure you offer a unique service that is not a copy of those that already exist. Maybe you are unique because you deliver creatively, faster than anyone, offer exotic cuisines for a particular region, or you are keen on ecology and trying to save the planet. All in all, it is important to try to be different.

Your business analyst’s goal at this step is to create a report that details all available information about your main rivals, prospective restaurants you might work, and regions in need of your service. The more detailed the report, the smoother the process.


This step is comprised of three parts. The first part is sketching—meaning, drawing a visual concept of your app. The sketch shouldn’t present a real app in detail; instead, it should contain only the main features and basic structure.

The second part is wireframing—meaning, creating a mock-up of the app. Some designers use Photoshop, but there are some programs out there that specialize in wireframing, such as Balsamiq, Sketch, Adobe XD, or Figma. Through the use of these programs, you can not only create a visual representation of your app but also demonstrate some basic functionality.


The third part of the design process is making a full prototype that shows how the app will work. The clicks should lead the user to the right screens and cause the right actions.

Design should be convenient. If it’s difficult to use your app, the user is aware of it within a couple of seconds, potentially resulting in a loss of buyers. Pay attention to the right content. Don’t present a dish as unique if the user can find it in the next restaurant. Refresh information about discounts daily to avoid users feeling cheated by out-of-date promotions. Avoid putting annoying ad banners on every page, even if you think they’re effective at bringing in customers. Believe me, they’re not!


The development step consists of two parts: front end and back end.

The front end is what the users see on their screens. Android versions of apps are usually written in Java, whereas iOS apps are developed using Swift or Objective-C. If you choose to develop a cross-platform app, you can use React Native.

When the front-end is ready, it’s time to develop the back end, which includes servers, databases, and APIs. The top programming languages for the back end are Java, Ruby, Python, PHP, and JavaScript. To store all their information, popular services use Cassandra, Riak, or NoSQL databases. To build an API, they use Amazon Web Services or Google API.

Q & A

Proper testing at every step of development saves you time, money, and users. The competition is tough, and if customers don’t like something, they will find a better app. So, before launch, it is important for a testing team and developers to conduct alpha testing. Don’t forget about beta testing, either. Ask a couple of restaurants to collaborate with you and let real people find the holes and disadvantages that your team didn’t notice.


Deployment consists of all the actions necessary to make an app available for users. You have to upload it to the App Store and Google Play. Publication on Google Play is much easier because the service doesn’t review new applications. The App Store’s policy is different, as it always checks and must approve an app before launch. The review process usually takes a week or more.

Updating & feedback processing

The launch, or release, is not an end-point to your app’s life cycle. After appearing in markets, try to keep your app up-to-date. Listen to your audience, add new features, and improve the design. Keep the app compatible with the new versions of operating systems. Even if there is nothing new to add, update the code.

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

Start creating your app by building a minimum viable product (or MVP) that contains only the most important features. Our business analyst calculated the approximate cost of an MVP project. Remember that total prices may be higher, depending on added features.

Customer’s MVP

Feature iOS Android
Back-end $7670 $7670
Front-end $20490 $15690
Design $2500 $2500
Project Management $5150 $5150
Quality Assurance $7700 $7700
Total $43510 $38710

Courier’s MVP

Feature iOS Android
Back-end $13500 $13500
Front-end $5835 $6300
Design $2000 $2000
Project Management $2575 $2575
Quality Assurance $5125 $5125
Total $29035 $29500

Restaurant’s MVP

Feature Price
Back-end $5700
Front-end $4740
Project Management $1044
Quality Assurance $2088
Total $13572

Success stories

Creating a food delivery app to improve your business is a good idea, especially given the achievements of other popular apps.

GrubHub was one of the first online food delivery services in the world. It was founded in 2004 and reformed the entire restaurant industry. GrubHub swiftly gained popularity and didn’t stop there; the founders have been constantly keeping their app up-to-date. Take a look at some of the features that explain its enduring influence:

  • Appeared rather early and had no alternatives
  • Works with almost every restaurant in the city
  • Offers coupons for some restaurants
  • Users can rate restaurants to let future diners know whether they are worth visiting
  • Shows the average price of the dishes at the restaurants
  • Estimates delivery time based on your location

GrubHub Success Story

Food delivery is the most rapidly growing sector of Uber’s business. UberEats came out a bit later than GrubHub and Uber helped to promote it, as some links in Uber took users to UberEats. Now, the roles have reversed, and UberEats markets Uber’s other services. Some reasons for its popularity include:

  • No minimum order amount
  • Free Food setting—once in a while, they deliver a meal for free
  • A huge, existing global network of drivers
  • Works with the most popular restaurants
  • Makes food from popular places available at home
  • Suggests what and where to eat based on your preferences and location
  • The customers can preorder food up to a week ahead of time
  • The food can be ordered while walking, sitting at home, or working in the office
  • Users are reminded to use the app via push notifications

UberEats Success Story

One more example of a successful delivery app is Gourmet Runner—an app providing restaurants with drivers. We were happy to interview its founder.

Serge Denisov

Serge Denisov

Five years ago, Denisov and his team created this service to serve Los Angeles. They started with one restaurant, two drivers, and 15 orders per day. Today, they work with 150 restaurants, eight aggregators, and more than 100 drivers. Every month they fulfill about 10000 orders.

Denisov told us about the app’s key concept and gave some advice on how to improve such an app:

  • Don’t try to put everything on one screen. This will make your app inconvenient. It is better to place every feature on a new screen.
  • Think about what will prove the delivery has been made. Ask customers to put a signature on the courier’s device. Your developers can create this feature themselves or use some ready-made technologies.
  • Make the route building automatic. Integration with online maps will make your app convenient for the couriers.
  • Offer your clients a choice of drinks, sauces, or desserts before they confirm the order. This will increase the average bill.
  • Offer more options for payments.
  • Deliver faster than your competitors.
  • Don’t wait for restaurants to start asking you to deliver their meals. Approach them.
  • Try to offer smaller service fees to restaurants.

Gourmet Runner App

How do they make money?

Apps, such as those mentioned above, may generate revenue in four ways. When you are developing your app, you can pick one source of income or combine some of them:

Fixed commission rates

Service owners charge a commission for every order, and restaurants pay a fixed sum or percent of every order. The size of the commission depends on the state of the market.

Restaurant promotion

Promotion by delivery app platforms is what some restaurants desire when starting their relationship with you. These restaurants pay a higher commission and appear at the top of the rankings for a limited time. In some cases, such partnerships include special discounts, extra features, and advertisements.


The customers pay an additional percentage as delivery fee. This guarantees the quality of service and delivery right to your doorstep. The money goes to the couriers, and the service receives a small part of it as well.

Rush hours and bad weather

This method can be combined with others. How does it work? The customer is charged an additional sum that varies depending on the number of currently placed orders.

As you may have already guessed, this method is helpful when there are a lot of orders in the system at the same time. Such situations usually happen when it’s time to have dinner or when there is bad weather. These hours usually include 11:00–14:00, when everyone is waiting to have lunch, and 17:00–21:30, when people order dinner on their way home from work. The weekend is also a busy time.

Build your food delivery app with us

Delegate cooking dinner to the professionals and solve a large-scale problem by creating a food delivery app. Ready to open an on-demand food delivery service? Contact us today to get some skilled advice.

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13 responses to “How to Create a Food Delivery App”

  1. Niharika says:


    Nice post. Online food ordering app is vital for those who have restaurant business. Online food delivery app grow restaurant business and increase their sales. So having a food delivery app is essential.

  2. Nieves Malloch says:


    An outstanding share. I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal.. But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your website.

  3. Sebastian says:


    How much does it cost to integrate a payment system into the existing solution? If it matters, my local food delivery app consists of an iOS courier’s app, Android and iOS customer’s apps, and an admin panel.

    • Christina Kovalevich says:


      Hello, Sebastian!
      We would recommend you to use only trusted payment systems like PayPal or Stripe to provide your customers’ safety. So, basic payment system integration will cost you about $5,000. This includes $400 on the back end, $1,400 for the admin panel, $1,200 for the courier’s Android app, and $2,000 for the courier’s iOS app. The total sum depends on the payment system, payment options, and your food delivery app’s complexity.

  4. Paul says:


    If I want to create a food delivery app, why is it essential to develop iOS and Android mobile apps for the customers? Can’t they order via website? Website development is cheaper, as far as I know.

    • Christina Kovalevich says:


      Hello, Paul!
      Actually, it would be better to have both web and mobile solutions. But if the price matters, I recommend you to create a mobile app rather than a website. It is much easier to reach potential customers via mobile solutions for some reason:
      1. They are customizable. Once the users download the app, they can make it convenient and get the most of it.
      2. Intuitive interface. The users are used to their devices’ interface, so if designed properly, the app will make even difficult actions easy for the customer.
      3. Notifications are easier to send. Whatever the users do on their phones, they will be notified when the courier comes. Ordering on the website, the users can miss the notifications while doing other stuff on their computers.
      4. You can add gestures. Swiping to move to the previous step, holding to mark, dragging to add to the cart, etc. will make the ordering process interactive.
      5. People use it more frequently. According to the statistics, people use the apps installed on their phones almost every day.
      To reduce the cost of mobile app development, you can turn to cross-platform development. Such apps are compatible with several operating systems. This requires fewer developers and less development time without losing quality and performance.

  5. David says:


    Hey! If I want to launch a service that delivers food from local cafes, is it required to have a license to run a food delivery app?

    • Christina Kovalevich says:


      Hello, David!
      Some people are mistaking when they think a food delivery service is a restaurant business.
      If the company cooks, packs, and delivers their food, then yes, it needs proper permission. But if you take prepared food from the restaurant and just get it from point A to point B, you don’t need any food safety license. Delivering the food, you are not responsible for its quality, you only make sure you delivered what the customer wanted.
      The only thing your business needs as any e-commerce organization or a courier service is to be registered. And I hope you remember that your cars should be registered and insured, and your drivers must have drivers’ licenses.
      All the licenses and permits depend on the region, so I highly recommend you check the information on your local legal websites.

  6. Daniel says:


    How much does it cost to create a food delivery app like UberEats but only a hybrid?

    • Christina Kovalevich says:


      Hello, Daniel!
      When creating your food delivery app, the total cost depends on your goals and the features you choose.
      Creating a hybrid app is usually cheaper than native app development but it has some drawbacks that shouldn’t be ignored:
      -the design doesn’t feel native
      -lack of performance and slow transition between pages
      -difficulty in accessing the device’s features
      -strong dependency on third-party libraries and frameworks
      If you want your app to be close to native look and feel, your hybrid app will cost you as much as the native one. So, if the cost matters, I would suggest you create an app for one platform (iOS or Android) initially and then gradually develop another one. Such a solution will cost you around $85,000.

  7. Brian Hastings says:


    Great post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.

  8. Andrew German says:


    The information below is really good for many business people. The business of ordering and delivering food on the Internet is accumulating around the world. And some food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Swiggy, and Zomato have become popular. Wait, start your business galaxy like the aforementioned companies.

  9. ปั้มไลค์ says:


    Like!! Really appreciate you sharing this blog post. Really thank you! Keep writing.

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