Olya Bohun · Tech Enthusiast

A Complete Guide to Building a Superb Food Delivery App

A Complete Guide to Building a Superb Food Delivery App

– Should we eat out today?

– Nah, I’d better stay at home and have some food delivered.

According to the recent research, 2% of respondents in US might have this small talk every day, as it’s the exact amount of consumers who claim to use food delivery apps daily. Moreover, 24% of respondents use food delivery services 2-3 times per week and 26% order once a week. And that’s pretty huge.

As eating is an inevitable part of our daily routine, we see increasingly more restaurants and cafes opening everywhere. But eating at home, with all its comfort and coziness, is still too attractive, especially when there’s no need to spend time and resources on cooking. That’s why the food delivery sector also grows noticeably.

If you’ve decided to enter this niche and develop a food delivery app, it has to be really flawless to attract customers and turn them loyal. When consumers go for food online, they surely expect to place the order in minimum clicks and get the delivery fast. But how to build an easy-to-navigate app that will satisfy their demands? We will help you figure it out.

Features to Pack into Your App

Before starting the development of a food delivery application, you need to know the complete scope of work. Let’s outline the key features that will turn your app into a robust product providing a seamless user experience.

Cuisine/Restaurant Data

If you aim to build an aggregator app like JustEat or GrubHub, let users see a full list of restaurants from which you will deliver, as well as their complete menus. Develop advanced filters and enable customers to sort out restaurants by the alphabet order, cuisine offering, location, delivery time and prices. Engage users with detailed information about dishes, including weight, ingredients, nutritional content and calories. And don’t forget about pictures of dishes — they will also help hungry people decide faster.

Developing an app for a single restaurant, consider sorting out your menu by courses for easier navigation.


Offer a quick and easy account registration either with a login/password option or a social media sign-up. This step will help you win customers’ loyalty, as having access to a personal profile with the saved delivery address, history of orders and preferred payment options will encourage more users to return and reorder their favorite dishes.

Delivery Time

No one likes waiting, especially when it’s not clear how much you have to wait. Display approximate delivery time and allow users to pick restaurants by geolocation in case they have no time (or patience) to wait for the delivery from a restaurant located on the opposite end of the city.

Order Placement

This step is a must, of course. Your task to make it as easy as possible, because users may abandon their shopping carts if the checkout process takes ages. The ideal variant is a three-clicks order placement, where customers add their chosen dish to a cart, fill in their delivery details and process payment (unless they choose cash instead). For registered users, this process will be even faster, with no need to fill in personal information again and again.

Delivery Tracker

Keep users informed on the order status through push notifications on successful payment, dispatch and exact delivery time. As a bonus, you may also integrate Google Maps and GPS tracking to let customers follow their dish journey in real time.

Online Payment

What are the chances of a person ordering food online to choose to pay for it in cash? In most cases, users demand in-app payment options. Thus, add payment gateways like Stripe or Paypal to ensure instant payment processing directly from an application.

Loyalty and Reward Programs

Offer discounts to loyal customers to encourage them to come back to your app more frequently. Entice new users with possible membership options or referral programs. Plus, you may add reward options for the most popular restaurants and feature them with stars or first positions in search categories. FoodPanda, for example, displays India’s most trusted restaurants on their main screen.

Scheduled Delivery

This one is a great bonus for users who want to get home from work and have their meal delivered exactly in time.

The Development Stage

First, you have to decide on building either a native app or a cross-platform one. Native applications work on a particular operating system only, so if you aim to target both iOS and Android audiences you will have to develop separate product instances for each platform. This, however, may increase the app’s time-to-market and require more people on your team.

Cross-platform applications fit any operating system, reducing the costs of mobile app development as much as twofold. You may also use third-party tools such as APIs, SDKs and app clones to cut the development costs and efforts.

Plus, don’t forget about UI/UX, as the look and feel of an application affect user behavior. As per recent research, 65% of users state that a poor mobile experience forms their opinion of the brand. Today, consumers demand increased personalization, and if you can provide it — users will stay longer with your app.

Here are four tips that will help you gain a competitive edge and develop your food delivery application as a niche leader.

1. Invest in a Custom-Built Website

Sure, buying a clone or using third-party APIs is easier to start off and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. But if you strive to hit the market with a decent product, we suggest you don’t save on the development stage and focus on building a unique identity. Give your food app the advantage of custom development and design. A feature rich and highly personalized app will pay off in the form of a bunch of loyal customers.

2. Create a Database

Make sure your application is programmed to manage a huge database of restaurants and cafes, including their geolocation, contact details, and menu. At first, you may target a smaller area and test how your application handles a limited amount of restaurants. Then, in case of superb app performance, continue with expanding the app functionality for more options.

3. Customize According to the Target Market Demands

Conduct thorough research to make an application appealing and satisfy the target audience. By developing an app that responds to local demands, you will be able to tailor your solution to the needs of the app’s actual users. Dive deep into trends and mold your business as per the requirements of your app’s potential users. It will definitely result in higher ratings and better customer reviews.

4. Develop Separate App Versions

No, not for customers but for the delivery personnel and managers from partnering restaurants. You can either create separate apps for each stakeholder or develop an application with different logins. As the things are pretty clear with the consumer apps’ functionality, let’s talk on the other types:

  • Delivery app/interface should help couriers manage pickup and dropoff orders with the ability to communicate with customers.
  • Restaurant app/interface should handle placed orders and pass information to restaurant managers.

This solution will require extra design and structure efforts, taking each stakeholder into account. Sticking to one app platform with separate interfaces will increase its complexity, but building three different apps is no easier task as well.

Prototyping and Feedback

Launch your mobile app in a test mode first to identify strong and weak spots and fix them in future iterations, provide A/B testing to adjust it to customer preferences. Also, don’t neglect the reviews on Playmarket and App Store, as they will give you a hint on customer needs and possible improvements.

This should be enough information for you to start with your food delivery venture, but in case you have any doubts or queries, don’t hesitate to contact us directly. We can also advise you to browse our blog for more insights on the app development process, like which payment gateway or app frameworks to choose.

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