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Food Delivery App Development: A Comprehensive Guide


August 16, 2023

The history of online food ordering applications dates back to 1995 when the U.S.A. got its first online food delivery platform, World Wide Waiter. Today we have a highly thriving food delivery app market with spectacular global revenue statistics. It is nothing but an opportunity for business idea seekers and entrepreneurs to be a part of the online food delivery market.

Before we jump right into the mobile application development part let us first know more about today’s online food delivery market.

Some of the best food delivery apps that are ruling the global food delivery market:

  • Uber Eats
  • Zomato
  • DoorDash
  • Postmates
  • Deliveroo
  • Food Panda
  • GrubHub
  • Just Eat
  • Swiggy
  • Delivery Hero
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Talabat

In 2022, Uber Eats which has a whopping 24% U.S.A. food delivery market share generated global revenues of approximately 10.9 billion U.S. dollars according to a report by Statista.

These figures are enough to clear any doubts about investing in food delivery app development.

The Future of the Food Delivery Sector

Here are some future projections by Statista to help you understand the future growth of the food delivery app market.

Revenue in the Online Food Delivery market is projected to reach US$1.02tn in 2023.

By 2027, the online food delivery market is forecast to generate revenues reaching 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars.

The number of users of the meal delivery segment is expected to amount to 2.45bn users by 2027.

High convenience and COVID became lucrative in laying a strong foundation of food delivery market and here is how you are just a food delivery app development process away from becoming a part of this market.

Now let us dive in and understand various aspects of on-demand food delivery app development.


Food Delivery App Development: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Understanding The Market

The most crucial step for an on demand food delivery app development is market research and understanding. Business owners can’t jump right into the idea of not just a food delivery app or any app for that matter without knowing its market (audience, competition, trends, and more).

Knowing the food delivery market would enable you to connect with the customers effectively, gain competitive intelligence, fish out growth opportunities, identify gaps, and ultimately make informed decisions.

When researching market research, here are some of the crucial aspects to analyze:

  • Audience demographics
  • Competition
  • Consumer demands
  • Common trends

This would open up the understanding of key demographics like audience characteristics, preferences, target needs, user behavior, and more.

Upon realizing these aspects, the next phase of market research is to:

  • Fill the void/demand gap
  • Analyze strengths and weaknesses
  • Understand the pain point of the users
  • Explore unreached segments
  • Find product improvement possibilities
  • Choose revenue-generation opportunities

The two most important aims of market research are to realize your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and business model. The above realization would help you to find out your USP.

Let us understand your business model for an on-demand food delivery app further:

On demand Food Delivery App Development Types

The goal of food delivery app development is to generate revenue. These types of on-demand food delivery applications would enable you to select the model that suits best business requirements, goals, and budget.

Here are the types of food delivery app development:

Restaurant-To-Consumer Delivery:

In this type of food delivery app, the food delivery app development company has to develop the app for a single restaurant or restaurant chain. Customers can order food from the app from any particular restaurant. The restaurant is solely responsible for managing its delivery service and logistics.

E.g., Dominos

Platform-To-Consumer Delivery (Aggregator):

Contrary to the above model, in this type of food delivery app, the aggregator enables various restaurants from a city to connect with customers through a single platform so they can order from any of these restaurants from a single on-demand food delivery application. These platforms charge the restaurant and customers fees for using the platform or their services.

E.g., Uber Eats, Doordash, Deliveroo, Zomato, Grubhub, etc

Further, this model is differentiated into two types, one is the app where the aggregator only manages the orders and not the delivery while in the other the aggregator also manages the delivery.

Let us explore these models further in detail.

Order-Only Model:

In this food delivery app model, the aggregators only managed the orders for the multiple restaurants registered with the platform while the restaurant must employ delivery services. The aggregator acts as an intermediatory to replace their antiquated phone-ordering system with an optimized web and mobile on-demand food delivery platform.

E.g., JustEat, Delivery Hero, Eat24, etc

Order & Delivery Model:

In this type of food delivery app model, the aggregator retains control over the processing of the order for multiple restaurants as well as delivering these orders either with a fleet of delivery drivers or collaborating with third-party courier services.

E.g., Zomato, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Swiggy, etc.

Step 2: Outline the Key Food Delivery App Features

One of the most useful outcomes of detailed market research is getting to know the functional scope of the various food delivery apps out there to find out what more you can add to offer value to the customer.

An ideal food delivery application ecosystem includes a consumer, Restaurant(merchant), courier, and admin app (in the case of the platform to aggregator model).

Here are some of the essential features to be considered for the on demand food delivery app development:

Customer App:
  • Login/Registration
  • Search Menu
  • Search Filter
  • Cart
  • Re-Order
  • Payment Integration
  • Order Tracking
  • Order History
  • Real-time Location
  • Push Notification
  • Rating and Review
  • Customer Support
  • Nearby Restaurants
  • Coupon Management
  • Social Media Login
  • Help & Support
Courier (delivery) App
  • Login/Registration
  • User Profile
  • Alert and Notification
  • Customer Information
  • Order Management
  • Availability Settings
  • In-App Navigation
  • View Earnings
  • Updating the Order Status
  • Order History
Restaurant (merchant) App
  • Login/Registration
  • Manage Business Info
  • Order Management
  • Menu Management
  • Push Notification
  • Real-time Tracking of Driver
  • Manage Offers & Discounts
  • Loyalty Program
  • Payment History
  • Reply To Reviews
  • Customer Details
  • Help & Support
Admin Panel:
  • Admin Login
  • Restaurant Management
  • Customer Management
  • Driver Management
  • Order Management
  • Payment Management
  • Commission Administration
  • Delivery zone Management
  • Discount Offers and Coupons
  • Promo Codes
  • Push Notifications
  • Real-time Updates
  • Technical Assistance
  • Analytics Tools
  • Campaign Management
  • Email Alerts

Advanced features to consider for on demand food delivery app development

  • Role-Based Dashboards
  • Multiple Payment Modes
  • CRM Integration
  • CMS Integration
  • ChatBot Integration
  • Mobile Wallet Integration
  • AI-driven Features
  • Smartwatch Integrations
  • Geotargeting
  • Gamification
  • Floating Window
  • Driver Tip & Ratings
  • In-App Call/Chat Option
  • Route Optimisation
  • Marketing Features
  • Two-factor Authentication
  • Personalized Suggestions
  • Multiple Payments
  • In-App Navigation

To get a better idea of some crucial features of an ideal food delivery app, explore our Feature-Rich Food Delivery App case study.

Step 3: Creating The App Concept And User Journey

Once you have a clear idea of the food delivery app, its USP, business model, and features the next phase is it brings the app idea to life. To bring the app’s visual architecture to life, prototyping and user experience/user interface (UX/UI) designing would enable you to create a detailed blueprint for your food delivery app.

From creating low-fidelity wireframes to outlining the app’s structure, user flow and creating the high-fidelity design, this step is crucial for companies providing food delivery app development services as the customer’s experience of the app is created in this step.

From logic to navigation for the product, image placements, usability sequences, aesthetics, brand styling, and other excessive details are finalized by an expert team of designers and analysts to build an app that delivers user engagement and can withstand the test of time. The app’s UI can affect the consumer’s decision-making process which is why every minute detail of the food delivery application is decided keeping the customers in mind.

Once your team of UI/UX designer have the design ready, it is passed to the developer to work on the technical side of the application.

Step 4: Select the Tech Stack

The next step of the food delivery app development involves defining the tech stack beginning with the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) development.

Here is the detailed tech stack for an ideal food delivery app which every food delivery app development company can use.

Front End:
Registration Facebook SDK, Gmail SDK, Auth0
Payment Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, BHIM, Net Banking, e-Wallets
User Location Google’s Geolocation API for Android, CoreLocation framework for iOS
Navigation MapKit, Google Directions APIs, Routific, TomTomm
Messaging Twilio, Plivo, MessageBird, Nexmo
Programming Language JavaScript, TypeScript, Java, Swift, Kotlin,
Markup Language HTML5, CSS
Framework Flutter, React Native, Angular, Vue.js
Push Notifications Firebase Cloud Messaging, Apple Push Notification service, Push.io, Twilio, Amazon SNS
Realtime Analytics Storm, Flink, Google Analytics, Cisco, IBM, Apple Analytics
UI/UX Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator
Storage Azure, Google Cloud Storage, AWS
Back End
Programming Language Python. PHP,
Framework Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Symfony, Django
Cloud Azure, Google, AWS
Database PostgreSQL, HBase, MongoDB, Cassandra, MySQL
Caching Tool Memcached, Redis
Server AWS, Azure
Web server software Apache HTTP Server, Nginx

The team required to develop a food delivery application:

  • Project Manager
  • Android/iOS Developers
  • Front-end & Backend Developers
  • UX/UI Designers
  • Quality Analysis Experts
  • Delivery Manager
  • Business Analyst

Step 5: Development

Now that you have the tech stack ready when figuring out how to build a food delivery app, the next step involves developing the app once the designer has summited their design.

The most efficient way to begin the development of your digital product is to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first and then upon analyzing the response to your MVP then decide whether you want to ditch the idea or improve it accordingly as you don’t want to end up developing a product which is not liked or used by your target audience.

MVP comprises of minimum/basic/vital feature set in which the business runner intends to test the product-market fit and gain crucial technical insights.

When developing a food delivery application like Uber Eats, the business owners have the decision to make which type of mobile app to develop. The business can either go for native, hybrid, or cross-platform app development. Here is how the most popular type of mobile app development would impact the development process.

Native App Development:

This type of food delivery application development would enable the developers to create apps explicitly for a single platform(iOS/Android). These apps for each platform are maintained separately.

The developers use Android Software Development Kit (SDK), Android Studio, Android IDE, and IntelliJ IDEA for Android development. Further, the development of native Android programming languages like Java, Kotlin, Scala, and C++ is used. Other tools used in Native food delivery app development like Charles Proxy, AVD Manager, Shake Bug, etc.

On the other hand, the Android codebase can’t be used for deploying apps on Apple App Store, this is when the iOS developer uses iOS development tools like Appcode, Xcode, or Atom and various other tools like Swift Package Manager, Jazzy, etc. Whereas programming languages like Swift and Objective-C are used.

This type of Native application development is mostly chosen when the business owners do not have a budget constraint as for each software platform the code is developed separately which is time and cost-exhaustive to a great extent.

With it, the developers can achieve a high degree of reliability and functionality in the application as it allows them to full advantage of their chosen platform’s capabilities.

Cross-platform App Development:

On the other hand, cross-platform app development works on the paradigm of “write once, run anywhere” coding, which means the developer does not have the write the code separately for the platforms they have chosen without compromising the native app-like feel and user experience.

The rising popularity of cross-platform app development is owed to its lower development costs, shorter time to market, wider audience reach, and more. The cross-platform app developers use popular cross-platform app development frameworks like Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, Cordova, and more to develop cross-platform food delivery apps.

Step 6: In-depth Testing and Deployment

Once the MVP or full cycle food delivery app is developed and ready for the used to use, before it is open for beta testing or use by the users, the development team must ensure that it does not have any bugs in features/functionalities that would impact the user experience. Testing the code makes it possible for the development team to fish out the coding errors before the users.

Whether it is MVP, continuous development after MVP, or post-deployment maintenance, testing is the crucial part that will keep your food delivery app bug-free and meet your users’ needs. As per your preference and requirement of inspecting the code, your QA testers can conduct types of testing on the code of developed components and functions delivered by the developers like user test creation, manual testing, or automation testing.

Types of software testing for food delivery apps:

  • Functional Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Usability Testing
  • Compatibility Testing

These types of software testing would enable the developer to test the app’s functionality, usability with real users, compatibility with various devices, app integration with third-party services, and more.

Once the software testing is done thoroughly after the food delivery app development it is time to deploy the product on the respective platform (Android and iOS) in the case of a native app or a single codebase on all platforms in the case of a cross-platform food delivery app.

Step 7: Support and Performance Monitoring

Post-deployment, the development team tracks the user experience feedback as well as app functioning and performance to implement the improvements along with fixing any bugs detected.

Not just the app but the technologies and development tools used to develop the app need to be upgraded to the latest version to avoid any security issues which may make the user data prone to cyber-attacks.

Support and maintenance would enable the team to continuously fix the bugs, improve performance, meet the users’ needs, and keep the technologies up to date.

Alongside the continuous improvement of the app, the team also works on marketing the food delivery application to reach the target audience and increase the user base, food delivery app downloads, app usage, and ultimately the return on Investment (ROI).

Understanding the Cost Of Food Delivery App Development

When developing a mobile application for food delivery like Uber Eats team plays a crucial role in not only making your idea a reality but also the overall cost of developing the app. Let us understand how your development team would contribute to the cost of developing a mobile application for food delivery.

Food Delivery App Development Team: In-house vs Outsourcing

To make the idea of a food delivery app into reality one of the crucial factors which can affect extensively is affordability. This is when the business runners must take one of the crucial decisions of either executing the development of the on-demand food delivery app by bringing together an in-house team or outsourcing the project to an experienced food delivery app development company.

Let us understand both alternatives.


Bringing together an in-house food delivery application development team is an exhaustive process involving HR’s tireless hours of hunting skilled designers, developers, and testers which requires expertise and experience and would contribute to a long-term organizational plan.

This team enables the business owner to have absolute control over the project’s scope, technology, development process, team composition, and more. Further, having a team in-house facilitates seamless communication, enhanced geographical accessibility, and dedication of each team member to one project at a time and more.

However, the cost procured to have a team in-house is much more expensive, low retention rate, and only offers access to a limited pool of talent.


In contrast to the above alternative, outsourcing the project to a food delivery app development company enable you to either choose to hire an individual designer/developer/tester or to hire a dedicated mobile app development team. When hunting for the best food delivery app development services, business owners have the freedom to pick up companies/experts from around the world giving access to the larger pool of talent.

These dedicated pools of the team are versatile and scalable with expertise and experience offering faster time to market. As this does not involve a dedicated infrastructure for the functioning and development cost of considerably lower. Further, this model allows business owners to choose the engagement model as per their budget and preference.

However, due to different time zones, there may be a lack of communication and the business owners would not have any immediate access to the team.

Most companies that are in their entrepreneurial stage or just a start-up often prefer to hire app developers given the limited budget and the urge to make the most out of it.

To understand the overall cost of outsourcing the development of food delivery applications like Zomato, let us understand some aspects which contribute to the overall cost of the on demand food delivery app development.

Here are factors that affect the food delivery app development cost:

Note: The cost mentioned here is approximate and may vary with time and region/country. These values only give you an idea of the approximate cost of food delivery app development.

App Complexity:

The complexity of the app varied from MVP to a full-cycle food delivery app based on various features and functionalities included in the app. While a simple app may include basic features and functionalities like authentication, order placement, menu, etc. while a high-complexity app would be laden with advanced features like live order tracking, push notifications, filters, personalization, virtual assistants, and more.

Further, the integration with third-party services (payment gateways, Google Maps, etc.) and design complexity would add to the cost when developing a food delivery app like DoorDash.

Here is the distribution of cost based on the complexity of food delivery app development like Uber Eats.

Level of complexity Time estimates Hour rate Overall cost estimates
Simple 3-5 months $20-30 $15,000 – $30,000
Medium 6-9 months $50-65 $50,000 – $70,000
High 10+ months $100-120 $70,000 – $90,000
Development Time:

Whether hiring the developer on an hourly basis from a mobile app development company or having an in-house team, the development time would play a crucial role in determining the cost of food delivery app development with regard to development time taken by every phase of the development cycle from development to testing and maintenance. Not just each phase but even the features take the approximate amount of time for development and testing.

Here is the cost incurred to develop a mobile app like Zomato based on development time:

Function Time Approx Cost ($30/hour)
Development 1000 hours $30,000
Quality Assurance 168 hours $5,040
Project Management 112 hours $3,360
Total 1280 Hours $38,400
Cost by Country:

When you outsource your mobile app development to get food delivery app development services, the hourly rate of hiring mobile app developers, designers and QA testers varies in regions from where they belong.

Here are the hourly costs from some countries:

Country Development UI/UX Designer QA
India $20 – $40/hr $15 – $40/hr N/A
Europe $30 – $100/hr $30 – $100/hr $20 – $60/hr
USA $80 – $170/hr $20 – $60/hr $20 – $40/hr
Australia $80 – $200/hr $20 – $100/hr $20 – $60/hr
Ukraine $30 – $100/hr N/A $5 – $25/hr
Cost by Different Types of Application:

The business model which you pick will not only affect the revenue you will earn from it but also the cost of developing the food delivery mobile app as the food delivery development cost of apps like Uber Eats varied greatly from the cost of developing a food delivery app like Dominos.

Here is the cost of developing a food delivery app based on its revenue model:

Type of app Cost Estimates
Order-Only Mobile App $50,000 – $55,000
Order & Delivery Mobile App $70,000 – $80,000
Fully Integrated Mobile App $60,000 – $65,000.

Developing any type of the above food delivery app does not involve developing a single app it’s a food delivery app ecosystem/marketplace that involves the use of applications by customers, partner restaurants, delivery partners, and admin.

Here are the cost estimates of on demand food delivery app development for each of this particular segment of end users.

Type Hours Cost Estimates
Courier Application 700 – 900 $35,000 – $50,000
User Service Application 700 – 900 $35,000 – $65,000
Restaurant Application 700 – 900 $9,000 – $15,000
Admin panel 400 – 500 $10,000 – $12,000
Based on Platform Compatibility:

When outsourcing a project like developing a food delivery app to an on demand mobile app development company, the cost of development would vary depending on the platform compatibility you choose for your app. Unlike Native apps which require different code bases for each platform cross-platform apps are cheaper as the single code base works on most platforms.

Here is the cost based on the food delivery apps’ platform compatibility.

Platform compatibility Cost Estimates
Native apps (Android & iOS) $50,000 – $100,000
Cross-platform apps $25,000 – $60,000
Web apps $15,000 – $50,000
Hybrid apps $10,000 – $150,000
Cost Associated with Each Stage:

Just like the cost of development can be bifurcated based on if you want to hire mobile app developers or hire UI/UX designer or hire software tester from the food delivery app development company, you can also break down the cost based on various phases of on demand food delivery app development.

Here are the cost estimates that your business will incur in each phase of developing a mobile application like DoorDash.

Phase Cost Estimates
Research and Planning $2,000 – $5,000
Design $3,000 – $10,000
Backend development $15,000 – $40,000
Frontend development $10,000 – $25,000
Testing $10,000 – $20,000
Branding & Marketing $5,000 – $20,000
Maintenance $1000 – $5000
Patent $3,000 – $10,000
Food Delivery App Development: Conclusion

Though the new startups have a revenue generation opportunity however increase in the number of food delivery apps in the market is saturated making it tough for a new food delivery app with a unique USP to complete and sustain. Having said that, with the right strategy and a well-designed product the business owners can gain a competitive edge.

Here is a quick overview of the food delivery app development process.

  • Start with having an idea of on demand food delivery app
  • Market research to understand the user persona and decide on app USP
  • Understand the cost of food delivery app development
  • Define the essential and advanced food delivery app features
  • Create the app concept and user journey
  • Select the tech stack
  • Start the development (MVP/Full-cycle development)
  • App testing and deployment
  • App performance monitoring, support, and maintenance

Not always the off-the-shelf food delivery application may work given the unique offerings business owners want to offer in their app. This is when the custom on demand food delivery app development comes to play. With years of experience in custom software development, we at SPEC INDIA offer your top-notch food delivery app development services which are crafted to suit your every development requirements.


SPEC INDIA, as your single stop IT partner has been successfully implementing a bouquet of diverse solutions and services all over the globe, proving its mettle as an ISO 9001:2015 certified IT solutions organization. With efficient project management practices, international standards to comply, flexible engagement models and superior infrastructure, SPEC INDIA is a customer’s delight. Our skilled technical resources are apt at putting thoughts in a perspective by offering value-added reads for all.

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