Olya Bohun · Tech Enthusiast

How to Build Food Ordering Application: Practical Manual for First-Rate Product

How to Build Food Ordering Application: Practical Manual for First-Rate Product

If you own a restaurant, cafe or bar, expanding business horizons doesn’t always mean opening up in a new building or adding some extra room to the existing one. In the digital era, businesses have to impress online. Moreover, it’s critical to target mobile, as compared to the previous year, mobile food ordering has grown by 18%. And that’s exactly why you need a restaurant ordering application!

Remember the day when you were lying in your bed after a tough working day, too dog-tired to cook and even too exhausted to dine out? What did you do to defeat hunger?

We bet you’ve ordered pizza! And, what’ most important, you’ve done it through a smartphone!

And so does the lion’s share of consumers around the world. If you’re too lazy to dress up for a restaurant in such situations, don’t expect others to come to your place — they will choose ordering as well. So, if you’re not a Pizza Hut, make sure your cafe devotees can still enjoy their favorite dishes at home with a comprehensive food ordering and delivery application.

Restaurant Spend

How Exactly You Can Benefit From a Food Mobile App

Competitive Edge and Customer Engagement

In today’s hectic pace of life, consumers get convenience-focused and call for instant and more accessible services. Going mobile will help you deliver value to the most demanding customers that are always on-the-go and rarely let a smartphone out of hands. Having your app downloaded, users are only one tap away from getting in touch with you and order some food, which is a win-win deal for both of you.

Smoothie Land

An animation in Smoothie Land. Source: Dribbble

Establishing connections with consumers online also doubles the chances they will prefer your place offline. An application increases your brand’s visibility and gives you more channels to engage clients, like sending them push notifications about in-app discounts or appealing offers. This is a proven way to stand out and outperform rival organizations, as well as set up long-term relationships with your target audience.

Return on Investments and Increase in Revenue

The development of an application is a smart investment, which will pay off in higher conversion rates and boosted revenue. An intuitive and high-performance mobile app encourages customers to return to it regularly, as a result ordering more often and giving your business a constant revenue stream. If you offer not just a usual food ordering app, but an excellent one, be sure to get a constant money-making channel.

A food mobile app broadens your market coverage. With its help, you may reach both people that are not into socializing in crowded restaurants and tech-savvy customers who’d rather use an app than browse for your website. Moreover, should these people admire your online services, they will more likely become loyal customers one day.

Did you know that one Indian startup with their food ordering app attracted $100M of investments this year? And have you heard that around ⅔ of US consumers ordered food from restaurants within the last six months? These stats are motivating for starting a food ordering application for your restaurant right now and prove that you’re on the proper track!

Restaurant concept

Yet another restaurant mockup animation. Source: Pawel Kwasnik @ Dribbble

7 Features You Should Pack into a Restaurant Ordering Application (and Their Tech Aspects)

If you consider diving deep into a food mobile app development, look through our list of the must-have features you should implement in it. Having our own experience and following success stories of startups with various business models from food takeout apps to single brand applications, we’ve defined the scope of functionality your product may require. Let’s take a closer look to the checklist:

1. Login and personal account

Let your customers log in through their social media pages. First, it’s quicker and more convenient for them. Second, it’s more informative for you.

When users enter your app with their Facebook credentials, for example, you get access to the valuable data about their likes and preferences. All you have to do is analyze the received information and form a personalized offer to continuously engage users.

Otherwise, provide an option for creating a personal account where users will be able to point at their tastes and interests.

2. Menu

Listing all your menu items on the landing page is basic, but to hook customers you have to give them more. Think of dividing an offer into fish, meat and veggie menus, for example. Add dish description and nutrition facts. Make it easy to move meals directly to a cart and make an order per one click.

3. Instant payment

Employ reliable payment gateway solutions like Stripe or Braintree. Each of them is customizable and integrates with both Android and iOS platforms. They enable one-click purchases, support recurring bills and offer fraud prevention tools.

4. Intuitive UX

We suggest enriching your app with mobile animation for a smooth transition between displays, visual feedback, and non-irritative system loading. For fast and easy integration pay attention to libraries and tools like DynCSS, Hover.CSS, Bounce.js, React Native and Lottie.

5. Order tracking

Make sure users can keep an eye on their delivery status, enabling GPS geolocation. Geolocation can be integrated into Android via Google Maps Services API, while for iOS you need iOS Maps Services and MapKit. Use also Google and Apple libraries, TomTom’s NavApp and MapLibrary APIs or Waze Navigation API for GPS tracking.

6. Push notifications

Don’t forget to alert your users about app updates, loyalty programs, transactions’ status, discounts, and delivery stage. Different types of push notifications will help you “communicate” with customers, luring them to use your restaurant ordering app more frequently.

Use Google Cloud Messaging or Firebase Cloud Messaging services to enable sync up and message transfer between your servers and client apps.

7. Social media optimization

Employ reliable payment gateway solutions like Stripe or Braintree. Each of them is customizable and integrate with both Android and iOS platforms. They enable one-click purchases, support recurring bills and offer fraud prevention tools.

Estimating Time and Budget You Will Spend on a Restaurant Ordering Application

The development of a top-notch food mobile app may take up to 16 weeks and cost even more than $200,000 if you decide to build it in-house or turn to an American software company. When appealing to European outsourcing companies, you may significantly reduce the expenses — starting from $50 thousand.

The average hourly rate in Eastern Europe, for example, varies from $30 to $70, while US vendors offer their services for $120-150 per hour. You may also turn to guys from India, who charge around $15-25, but you won’t likely get the best quality ever along with such a budget cut.

Drink ordering

A drink ordering mockup animation. Source: Bre Huang @ Dribbble

To count the amounts more precisely, decide on the features you will definitely include; the more options users get, the biggest amount of money you’ll spend. Address the following issues prior to estimating pricing and timing:

  • Which platform to cover first — iOS or Android? Or build an app for both of them simultaneously? Usually, Android is more affordable.
  • Will you provide social media integration? Third-party APIs may be way out of your expected budget.
  • Complex design requires higher costs, so think of a simple but engaging UI/UX if your budget is rather tight.

Based on our experience and calculations, you will have to take out of your pocket around $35,000 for the development of a usual app with all the necessary basic features. And now, it’s time to think of the process itself with the two development scenarios possible.

First, you can hire the entire core dev team: up to four developers, a UI/UX designer, a QA engineer, and a project manager. For building apps on different platforms at once, you may need even more developers, each specialized in different tech stack.


  • You get an established in-house team
  • You may interview and choose the best-matching specialists


  • It’s expensive
  • Recruiting experts is a long-lasting process
  • What will you do with the hired team once the project is finished?

The second variant is to outsource, cooperating with a reliable and experienced vendor that specializes exactly in the app development. It’s cheaper, faster and more convenient.

Takeaways for Takeouts

A food ordering niche is rapidly evolving, posing new requirements and challenges to restaurant owners. But one thing is a fact — progressive restaurants need to own a food delivery app not only to gain new customers but to retain existing ones.

Take it seriously and make the right decisions based on the info we gave you in this blog post. If you struggle to choose the perfect functionality for your app or can’t decide on how to assemble a team of professionals, our “contact” button is for you! You may also read more of our expert stories and insights in our blog, we’re sure you’ll find much valuable and applicable info there.

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