Whether it’s pizza, Chinese takeout or even McDonald’s, nearly everyone has had a meal delivered at some point in their lives. While this used to be done primarily by phoning in an order and paying the delivery driver at the door, there has been a massive shift in recent years to using online platforms.
The move to online platforms now allow orders to be placed and paid for either in-app or on a website, which has caused the convenience of food delivery to become all the more appealing, as customers can receive their cravings with minimal human interaction.
Considering that the online food delivery market in the United States was valued at $23.4 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $42.6 billion by 2027, it’s safe to say the industry isn’t winding down anytime soon.
Keep reading to learn more about the fascinating rise of food delivery apps, as well as how you can get started developing a platform of your own.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- Types of food delivery apps
- Food delivery app market trends
- Popular features of food delivery apps
- 6 steps to develop a food delivery app
What Is a Food Delivery App?
A food delivery app uses a courier service so that consumers can receive their favorite foods right at their doorstep. Ordered and paid for through a mobile app, these food items can be delivered by restaurant and grocery store employees or through an independent food delivery company like Uber Eats.
Types of Food Delivery Apps
A grocery delivery app is a service in which a personal shopper is hired to purchase and deliver items from a chosen grocery store. This can be done by an employee at a particular store or through platforms like Instacart. With this type of food delivery service, customers will order their grocery items and a personal shopper will go through the store picking out each item on the order list. If an item is out of stock, some platforms will allow shoppers to send a photo of a possible replacement to the customer, who will be able to decide if they’d like to buy that item instead.
Takeaway food delivery apps partner with restaurants in the area to allow customers to browse a long list of menu options and search for a specific restaurant, food item or cuisine. Due to this partnership, customers will have access to various deals and discounts that are available exclusively through the app.
Restaurant specific food delivery apps are platforms operated by a particular restaurant. With this type of food delivery, customers will only be able to order items from that specific restaurant. In addition to delivery, this type of food service will typically also give an option for customers to pick up their order themselves – either by actually coming into the store or through “curbside delivery,” in which an employee will bring the order to their car.
Food Delivery Market Trends
Expanding at a rate of 85 percent between January 2018 and February 2020, the food delivery industry has experienced massive growth the last several years, largely fueled by a rise in smartphones, which have contributed to a boom in online shopping across the board. This was only exacerbated with the onset of the pandemic, when consumers were practically forced to turn to alternate measures in terms of food and groceries.
While the ability to have restaurant-quality food and fresh groceries delivered to your door became an essential commodity during the shelter-in-place orders of 2020, the industry has kept up its pace and is projected to reach a market size of $320 billion by 2029.
Top 3 Food delivery Apps
Consumers have welcomed the convenience of online ordering, meaning there are now countless food delivery apps currently on the market, including Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats.
Founded in London in 2013, Deliveroo is aimed at allowing consumers to get high-quality food delivered. This food delivery service consists of 50,000 restaurant and grocery store partners, as well as its own fleet of self-employed drivers, to offer a wide variety of menu options in 200 cities and towns. In addition to on-demand deliveries, Deliveroo customers can also schedule an order for 24 hours in advance.
2. Just Eat Takeaway.com
A merger of Denmark’s Just Eat and Netherlands-based Takeaway.com, Just Eat Takeaway.com is an international food delivery marketplace with over 680,000 partners that was launched in 2020. This service utilizes a hybrid model that facilitates online ordering and payment processing, but typically leaves the deliveries up to the restaurants. However, Just Eat Takeaway.com will deliver orders for restaurants who don’t have the capabilities to do so themselves.
3. Uber Eats
Uber Eats was launched in 2014 under the moniker UberFRESH and rebranded a year later with the inclusion of its own app. Currently serving 6,000 cities across 45 countries, Uber Eats enlists Uber drivers to carry out deliveries – either by car, scooter, bike or even foot. The food delivery platform also collaborates with restaurant partners to serve meals to Uber passengers. One of the most prominent names in the industry, Uber Eats achieved a revenue of $8.3 billion in 2021, and recently announced a partnership with the British grocery store Tesco.
Popular Features of Food Delivery App
With so many food delivery apps on the market, especially in the wake of the pandemic, it’s important for these platforms to implement a few basic features to ensure they’re poised for long term success. These features will also help with overall operations, as the app will be running as smoothly as possible.
Multiple Payment Options
In order to be appealing to customers, food delivery apps should offer multiple payment options, such as credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Wallet and occasionally even cash. Many food delivery platforms also accept promotional and discount codes from restaurant partners. This helps boost credibility with customers because it shows that the service is concerned with their payment preferences.
Driver & Restaurant Portals
A food delivery app should also include two distinct dashboards for drivers and restaurants to sign up for the platform and manage their business. The driver portal should provide access to all pertinent order details like the estimated pickup time, the location of the delivery and the customer’s contact information. A message system should also be in place so drivers can easily communicate with both the restaurant and the customer in case any issues or questions arise. For restaurants, the portal should offer the ability to publish and edit menu options, launch promotions and track the status of the order through its completion.
Advanced filtering is a no-brainer when it comes to food delivery apps. This feature typically lets users search the platform by a variety of parameters, including estimated delivery time, price, distance and specific food options. A solid search system is an absolute necessity for any food delivery app, as it gives customers full control of the available options while also saving them valuable time that would be otherwise spent in endless scrolling.
Under the Hood: Technical Considerations
In addition to enacting the most popular and essential features, there’s also a few technical components that should be considered when launching a food delivery app of your own.
Thanks to smartphones, information is constantly at our fingertips, and your food delivery app should be no different. That’s why having a dashboard that provides real-time tracking on the status of an order is a crucial feature of any successful delivery platform. A location tracking system gives customers access to a live map that shows where their order is at any given time and also provides necessary updates like estimated time of delivery. Ultimately, this feature promotes top-notch customer service, as it never leaves consumers in the dark about the status of their orders.
Because it’s likely that most people have at least one food delivery app installed on their phone, a notification system is another vital feature in ensuring that your platform remains relevant to consumers. Along with visibility purposes, notifications also work as a means of communication between your app and its users by relaying important information like upcoming discounts and special offers.
Building an MVP
As is the case with any new platform, it’s always best to start small and expand your food delivery app’s functionality over time. That’s why your platform should initially be built as a Minimum Viable Product, meaning that your app will be launched with only the most essential and basic features. After testing the app’s usability and collecting feedback, you can then start adding more advanced features based on consumer preferences.
In addition to verifying market demand, an MVP will also cut back on startup costs since it’s generally much cheaper than building a sophisticated food delivery app from the get-go.
6 Steps to Develop a Food Delivery App
Now that you understand the ins and outs of food delivery apps, we’ll walk you through the appropriate steps to take when building your own platform.
1. Choose Niché
The first step to take is to determine your niché. Do you want to deliver medicine, organic food, beer at 2 a.m.? The possibilities here are endless. The point is to find a way to specialize your platform so you can decide what functions and features will be necessary for your food delivery app to thrive in the market.
2. Research Market
After determining your niché, you will need to perform rigorous market research to identify anticipated user demographics. You’ll also need to consider what special features those consumers would prefer and require in a food delivery app.
3. Design Software
The required functionality should then be designed with user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) in mind. This means that your food delivery app should be easy to navigate with relevant information clearly laid out and not overly complicated. It’s also a good practice to utilize wireframing tools to boost functionality and visual understanding.
4. Build Software
Next, you’ll develop your food delivery app’s software based on your planned out design. This can be a daunting task, especially if you lack experience in mobile app development. If that’s the case, it may be better to receive some assistance from a trusted agency like Idea Maker rather than trying to build the platform solely on your own.
5. Beta Test Your Food Delivery Application
Once your food delivery app has been developed, you’ll want to beta test your product. This step consists of releasing your app to a small group of people to test its usability and provide user feedback regarding any issues or concerns. This feedback can then be used to make necessary adjustments to improve the overall user experience before the app’s official launch.
6. Deliver Product
Now that testing is complete, it’s time to deploy your food delivery platform to users. However, just because it’s been delivered to app stores doesn’t mean your work here is done. You will still need to regularly monitor the app for any errors and continue collecting user feedback to ensure it remains bug-free and appealing to its users.
Food Delivery App Development Cost
The cost to develop a food delivery app will depend on its required functions, as well as the time spent on the project. This number can vary greatly, ranging from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Of course, a basic MVP will cost less than a sophisticated platform with advanced features; however, a good rule of thumb to estimate app development costs is to multiply the total number of hours by the developer’s hourly rate.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Mobile App Development
Founded in 2016, Idea Maker has successfully developed various custom mobile apps, including the beauty services app Pink Beauty and a cross-platform social networking app called Quick Friends. Our designers and developers are dedicated to taking your innovative ideas and bringing them to life. You dream it and we build it. So what are you waiting for? Schedule a free consultation with us today.