Denis Grankin Head of Sales Department

How to build an On-demand Food Delivery App for the restaurant business

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make on-demand food delivery app

The high adoption of innovative technological solutions contributes to creating new segments of business in already established industries. A variety of online services, such as food delivery or booking form a new business area. Moreover, with the rise in mobile ordering across industries, consumers have turned to solutions that simplify their lives and help to better serve guests. The number of delivery app downloads is up 380%, compared to three years ago, the sales are also growing. According to recent statistics, the platform-to-consumer delivery revenue amounts 62.798 million U.S. dollars in 2020 and is expected to reach 86.006 million U.S. dollars by 2024.


Having that in mind, restaurants opted for delivery app solutions to provide food ordering for their consumers. Another survey shows that most people use restaurant websites or apps to make food orders regularly. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Restaurant app or website – 52%
  • GrubHub – 34%
  • UberEats – 20%
  • – 16%
  • Amazon Restaurants – 11%
  • Eat24 – 17%
  • DoorDash – 11%

With a drastic increase in demand for delivery and takeaway services forecasted, restaurateurs must get ready to adapt to such structural changes in today’s digital world. Sounds impressive, right? Let’s find out more details below:

What are the reasons to build a food delivery app for your restaurant business?

Below you can discover the main reasons for creating an on-demand food delivery app for restaurants:

  • High demand: according to recent stats, 86% of consumers in the US use delivery services at least once a month.
  • Wide customer base: your prospects are users with a smartphone who like to order different food, such as pizza, burgers, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, etc.
  • Increased revenue: based on recent news, orders placed through a mobile restaurant ordering system are an average of $4 higher compared to those placed in restaurants.
  • Save costs: restaurants can save the 15% to 30% commission that food ordering and delivery companies charge.

In addition to that, you have greater control over the quality of food delivered and the delivery speed by entrusting delivery operations to an in-house team. At the same time, food delivery app development requires some investments and technical expertise. Let’s reveal how to make a food delivery application step-by-step.

How to create a food ordering system: a step-by-step guide

Below we have gathered comprehensive insights on how to develop a unique food ordering app for the restaurant business. Let’s keep on reading!

1. Do competitive market research

By conducting in-depth market research, you can identify potential rivals and their competing applications that helps you to deliver a more sophisticated food delivery solution for your restaurant business. Take into account the following:

  • Feature set: write down a list of the features for each competing app – such as core features, unique features, features that might be completely missing from any of the existing apps.
  • Price/monetization scheme: you should define what monetization strategies are used to raise profit.
  • Last updated: make a note whether an app is being maintained well – that helps you to identify whether you have an opportunity to take the market share or not.
  • Ratings and Reviews: allows you to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the application.
  • Downloads: you should identify the number of app downloads that helps you to understand the app’s popularity.

2. Identify hot trends in the food delivery market

Only by identifying hot trends in the food delivery sector can you be ahead of competitors and provide more sophisticated services. Below we have identified some important food delivery industry trends to watch out:

hot food trends

  • “Tweet-to-order” system: ordering a pizza is becoming as easy as using the Twitter service. Now customers can place an order by simply tweeting only the pizza emoji. For example, Domino's will be the first major player in the restaurant industry to use Twitter on an ongoing basis to place and complete an order.
  • Virtual assistants: powered with AI, a chatbot is designed to interact with the users. Not only does it help to reduce personnel and labor costs, but also it opens up significant opportunities to reduce human errors and improve their overall customer service experience. Moreover, 95% of consumers believe 'customer service' will be the major beneficiary of chatbots.
  • Smartwatches: technical tools designed to help you to be more productive and efficient. With the rise of apps available for smartwatches, users can place an order right from their wrist and track it. In addition to that, users can receive alerts and real-time notifications that provide customers with important information and add convenience.
  • Order with a smart TV: thanks to Samsung’s Smart TV, you can order food directly from your TV. For example, Domino's app users can order pizzas when having set up a profile with previously saved online orders. Moreover, they can see exactly where their pizza is on its journey.
  • Order from your car: a food delivery application can be integrated with an automotive telematics system to make orders from a car. For example, registered mobile customers of Domino's app can order their favorite fast food using the Ford Sync AppLink fast and hands-free.
  • Robots delivery: food delivery robots have already started to deliver customer food orders in Northern California. Small service robots now show up to restaurants, get loaded with food, and then travel to the users.
  • Drones delivery: drones are able to reliably deliver all manner of food orders within minutes after a customer makes the order. What’s more, this way of delivery is cheap – $0.88 while Uber Eats and GrubHub apps pay human drivers approximately $6 to $8 per delivery/trip.
  • Speech recognition: if powered with AI, users can simply talk with your on-demand food delivery app if they want to make a food order.

3. Select a business model for the food delivery app

At this step, it’s imperative to identify a food delivery model that will work for your restaurant business and help to reach your business goals. We have found out three main business models for food delivery services:

The Order Only or aggregator business model: used in the situation when you partner with an aggregator platform that connects customers to the restaurants which manage their own fleet of couriers. Once customers place orders via the aggregator platform, restaurants will view and fulfill them using in-house couriers.

aggregator business model

Using this business model, you neither cook, nor deliver it, but tend to charge a lowish fee of 10–15%. These aggregators platforms are highly scalable and show remarkable growth opportunities.

The Order and Delivery business model: used by partnering with logistics companies. Customers place their orders on the platform, restaurants accept the orders and fulfill them. At the same time, the platform sends information to the couriers closest to the pick-up location when an order comes in.

When new entrants opt for this business model, it will be very hard for them to compete against already established and optimized networks of restaurants and couriers that charge a higher commission, 25–30% on average. Their core feature is offering a diversity of restaurants and price points that software-only marketplaces cannot.

food Delivery business model

The fully integrated business model: used when businesses decide to develop their own app through which users can place orders and get them delivered as fast as possible through couriers/drivers employed by the company. Each driver or courier gets information about packed meals and order requests automatically/manually by the admin. A courier chooses where to deliver first based on the order preference or based on the location – the customer closest to the courier will be served first. However, this business model requires some investments in technology and, in the long term, your delivery costs will reduce. That means when properly developed, the food delivery solution provides a highly personalized experience for their users and help to increase revenue.

4. Know the target audience of the on-demand food delivery solution

No matter what industry you’re in, identifying your target audience is the most critical step in planning your food delivery app. Only by conducting in-depth research can you find out who your customers are, where they’re from, and how they behave. Choosing the right target audience helps you to narrow down your audience to a group of people with similar characteristics, niche hobbies and interests, etc. The more clearly you define your target audience, the better you can understand how and where to reach your own unique niche in the world and tailor a more compelling message to it.

How to define the right audience for the food delivery app

Below we have provided some crucial steps to move your business in the right direction. Let’s delve into details below:

  • Identify the problems and needs of your potential customers by putting yourself in their shoes. All you need to do is to look at everything from your customers’ point of view and think of their wants and needs, of the message they would like to get from your company.
  • Profile your customers by looking at your current customers – age, race, religion, gender, jobs, titles, where they live, how many people in the household, etc. All those factors, even the smallest details can help.
  • Check out the competition: you can define what rivals are on the market, who they are targeting, what their rates are among customers. Based on that information, you can reach the customers that may be impossible for your competitors.

5. Choose the right features for the online food delivery system

The majority of food delivery services have separate apps for couriers, restaurants, and customers. Having analyzed the most successful online food delivery apps on the market, we have offered three versions of the food delivery app and identified all the essential features that a customer app, restaurant app and courier app required.

User Panel of the Food Delivery Application

Below we have highlighted all the critical features for the user (customers):

  • Registration: allows the users to create their accounts by inserting logins/passwords or sign up via a third-party service such as Facebook, Google accounts.
  • Card registration: allows users to register a card in order to make online payments for services faster and more convenient.
  • Payment integration: with that feature, users can make payments via the built-in payment gateway when the order is ready. Also, it’s advisable to integrate several payment systems – PayPal, Stripe, MangoPay – so that you can be well aware of the different options and make an optimal selection.
  • Food search: with the search option, users can find a variety of meals dishes and select a source for the food order.
  • Order placing and checkout: allows users to attach an image/photo of the food order and add it to the shopping cart; also they can view all selected dishes, and the total price they should pay for them.
  • Delivery location: users can select a location by typing an address or placing a pin on the map.
  • Order history: not only does it allow users to keep track of all current and past food orders and their status in the order process, but also they can get up-to-date information on each order placed online, including delivery, payment details, etc.
  • Ratings and reviews: helps users to make better, informed decisions as to the exact food delivery service they require.

user panel of food delivery platform

Courier Panel of the online Food Delivery App

Below you can find out the key features of the food delivery application for couriers:

  • Registration: allows a courier to register and get approval from the delivery company to provide delivery services.
  • Order map: allows a courier to view orders proposition, claim the job and take it.
  • Delivery status: allows couriers to set delivery status such as accepted, rejected, picked up and delivered.
  • Delivery history: allows couriers to keep track of all current and past food delivery orders.

Courier Panel of the Food Delivery Application

Restaurant Panel of the Food Delivery Application

Below we have identified essential features for the restaurant version of food delivery app:

  • Admin panel: web-based admin panel provides full control, allows you to monitor and track entire online restaurant ordering & delivery system in real time.
  • Order management and tracking: allows the staff in the restaurant to change the status of orders that have been already made fast and easily; also they can receive updates for canceled or completed orders, and orders out for delivery in real time.
  • Notifications: used to communicate information in real time – couriers are aware of once an order is put in while users get alerts about food delivery.
  • Payment menu: allows to invoice your users by generating and sending invoices.
  • Ratings: allows businesses to view their rates and respond appropriately.

Restaurant Panel of the Food Delivery App

Once you define the scope of features, you can generate the roadmap of your future food delivery service. Not only does it provide you with a clear idea of the app’s architecture, but also you can understand how the various pages and content elements relate. Also, you can create a wireframe by simply using paper and pencil to understand how the food delivery app will ultimately look.

6. Select the technology stack for food delivery app development

It’s not a secret that business owners have a clear vision about the business part of the food delivery app – they understand who will use their application, what customers’ problems it will solve, and how it’ll generate profit. However, when it comes to the technical part, they are not aware of the best technology stack for the food delivery service. What’s more, there is a possibility to utilize different technologies, depending on the business model chosen. Having that in mind, we have decided to close the gap between your business needs and actual app development and implementation. When deciding on the platform – Android or iOS, you should also consider the following aspects:

  • what features and functionality of web/mobile apps, wearables and multi-platform (operating systems and devices) options;
  • how easily APIs and backend systems will be integrated;
  • how core mobile backend services (offline sync, geolocation services, push notifications, authentication, etc.) will be integrated;

Here you can take a closer look at an essential tech stack for food delivery app presented in the table below:

essential tech stack for on-demand food delivery app

In addition to that, it’s imperative for most companies to find a reliable and credible tech partner who has great experience and skills required for the development and implementation of the food delivery mobile solution.

7. Test and launch your online food delivery solution

You can test your food delivery solution once development is done. Not only will you ensure there are no bugs and user experience issues at this step, but also you can test the wireframes. We should mention that there are two different tests – internal and external ones:

  • Internal testing: you and your team test an app and identify bugs or any user experience (UX) issues as if you are the end user.
  • External testing: means that people who are not familiar with your food delivery service are going to uncover any user experience issues and make sure the layout is intuitive.

When you thoroughly test your food delivery system, it’s time to launch it. Moreover, it’s imperative to plan launch timing and communication strategies, such as when you are going to launch your food delivery app and how will you let the audience know about it. In addition to that, you should think of how you are going to promote your food delivery solution so that the right audience will see it fast.

Case Study: How we have developed a food delivery app for the restaurant business

With the ever-growing popularity of online food delivery services, we have decided to create a concept of the food ordering and delivery solution for the restaurant business. Having conducted thorough research, we have identified a competitive unique value proposition. Not only does it help you to compete more effectively against the rivals, but also it will give a significant boost to your restaurant business. In addition to that, you can engage more customers and extend online presence as well as increase brand awareness. Having that in mind, we have identified the key features of the food delivery solution for User, Courier, and Restaurant presented below:

key features of the food delivery solution

However, here are not all possible features of the on-demand food delivery app – it may include additional features and functionality that depend on your specific business needs and requirements. Once you reveal the features and functionality of the food delivery solution, let’s read about the benefits you can derive from the app:

  • you can generate more online orders;
  • you can simplify the process of placing large orders for your prospects;
  • you can improve the accuracy of food orders;
  • you can process payments online and generate more revenue;
  • you can collect customer data to provide more personalized UX and market them more effectively.

What are the advantages of the food delivery app?

Since food delivery apps are gaining traction in response to increased popularity, we are going to explain the key advantages below:

  • Hassle-free process: with a food delivery system, users place their orders in real time without a need for confirmation or calling back.
  • Online orders: thanks to smartphones and tablets, you can reach more customers who opted for online food delivery services and grow your business as well as drive more revenue.
  • Brand visibility: with a food delivery app, businesses can extend their brand presence with superior digital experience and increase their customer base.
  • Cashless mobile experience: customers can get a completely cashless mobile experience by paying through multiple payment gateways and channels.
  • Wider scope of personalization: thanks to the food delivery solution, not only can you choose the restaurants with the lowest delivery time or price, but also you can get a variety of food delicacies based on your personal preferences.
  • Increased retention: you can provide users with special offers, food discounts that will significantly increase their retention. Only by informing regularly can you make them order frequently and keep retained.

What are the disadvantages of the food delivery application?

Here we have provided some limitations of the food delivery app solutions for your restaurant business:

  • Data security: if the data is not protected, you can face with a massive data breach that will compromise the sensitive users’ data.
  • Late deliveries: it may take a lot of time to deliver food ordered online, or it may be poorly presented when arrived that could negatively impact a customer’s opinion of your restaurant and affect placing food orders in the future.
  • Expensive delivery charges: there are unpredictable and high delivery-related overheads that passed on to the customers in the form of charges, in addition to the cost of the food ordered.
  • More expenses: once you decide to launch your food delivery services, you should take into account that developing a food delivery app or hiring couriers/drivers may be a massive investment.
  • Food quality: food delivery solutions and third-party logistics support – couriers may not guarantee the food quality, because it is being sourced from different places.

advantages and disadvantages of the food delivery app

As you see, when thinking of developing a food delivery service, there’s a lot to consider. All restaurant food delivery ideas have their advantages and disadvantages that should be examined before you decide whether it’s right for your restaurant business or not – so don’t be forced into making a hasty decision.

Bottom line: Is your restaurant business powered with a food delivery solution?

Food delivery services are becoming drastically popular with the growth of the Internet and easy access to a computer or a smartphone. What’s more, placing food orders online significantly saves users’ time while reaching new customers is getting easier for businesses thanks to the food delivery solutions. In addition to that, food delivery apps enable restaurant businesses to meet the quickly rising customers’ wants and needs and serve them better by delivering a personalized experience. Having that in mind, restaurant businesses should opt for food delivery app to be developed and implemented. We, at DDI Development, have extensive technical experience and can turn your idea into a unique food delivery application that will help you to increase ROI and drive business growth.

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