How to Create Food Delivery App: Trends, Features & Tech Details [2021 Guide]

25 min read
The food delivery market reached $107.4 billion in 2019.

Food delivery services are gaining traction and won’t slow down in the near future. The market is projected to reach over $182.3 billion by 2024.

How to Create Food Delivery App

Food delivery app development can help you build a successful startup.

On-demand food delivery services became especially popular during COVID-19 lockdowns. The pandemic has more than doubled the food delivery business.

Starting a food delivery service today will turn into a prosperous business in the future. This guide will help you learn how to create a food delivery app from both business and technical perspectives:

  • why on-demand delivery services is a good idea to start in 2021
  • key food delivery business models to start with
  • features that you should have in your food delivery app
  • step-by-step process to create a food delivery app project
  • technical aspects of food delivery app development

Let’s get to business.

Why Invest in Food Delivery App Development

As already mentioned, apps like Uber Eats are in high demand right now. With the lockdowns all over the world and no way to dine out, people started ordering more in.

The change in consumer behavior gave the industry of food delivery a huge boost. The four leading companies on the U.S. food delivery apps market raked in around $5.5 billion in combined revenue from April through September 2020. They doubled their revenue from $2.5 billion as compared to the same period last year.

The Covid-19 delivery boom

The four top U.S. food delivery apps saw revenue rise $3 billion collectively in the second and third quarters, as the coronavirus pandemic required shelter-in-place restrictions.

The Stage of Food Delivery Market During Pandemic

Right now, 52% of consumers don’t feel like returning to bars and restaurants when they open again. Thus, restaurants, cafes, fast-foods and other dining organizations have no other choice than sign up for food delivery service apps, since it’s the only way for them to survive.

Today, food delivery applications are generating huge revenue. Just take a look at some industry leaders on the U.S. soils.


Revenue Number of Monthly Users
DoorDash $1.92 billion (nine months of 2020) 20 million
GrubHub $1.3 billion (2020) 22.6 million
Uber Eats $2 billion 21 million
Postmates $107 million 10 million
Instacart 13.7 billion 5.5 million
All the statistics show that the industry of on-demand meal delivery will only grow in the future. That’s why many companies are asking how to create a food delivery app and actively investing in food delivery app development.

Do you have an idea for a meal ordering app that you’d like to discuss?

Get in touch with us to get recommendations for starting a food delivery service from technical and business perspectives.

Food Delivery Business Models

Food delivery applications are solutions that allow users to order meals from their favorite restaurants or from a restaurant that developed the application.
When you consider how to create a food delivery app, keep in mind that there are three types of food delivery business models. Depending on the type of food company you have or what business you want to start, you can choose between the following types:

  • aggregators with logistics
  • aggregators without logistics
  • hybrid food delivery solutions

Let’s find out how they differ from each other.

Food Delivery Aggregator with Logistics

Food Delivery Business Models: Aggregator with Logistics
Mobile food ordering apps of an aggregator type act as an intermediate between customers and restaurants. They allow dining establishments to find customers and for users to order from their favorite restaurants. A food delivery aggregator can either provide delivery services or not.

In the first case scenario, after an order is placed within a mobile food delivery app, it is redirected to the restaurant. After the restaurant prepares and packs the order up, the driver provided by the aggregator picks it up and delivers it to the client. Such applications are usually making money on taking some commission for an order or food delivery. Such solutions are numerous with a DoorDash being a great example.

Food Delivery Aggregator

 Food Delivery Application without Logistics
The other type of aggregators doesn’t provide delivery services. It means that after a user places an order within an app and it’s redirected to the restaurant, the aggregator takes a commission and is over with that order. If you are wondering how to create a food delivery app of this type, you won’t need to invest a lot of money upfront, since you don’t need to create your own fleet and hire couriers.

Very often startups at the beginning of their journey work on this business model with GrubHub being a great example.

Hybrid Food Delivery Applications

Food delivery applications of the third type also provide the delivery option to restaurants and clients. The main difference between aggregators with hybrid platforms is that the second type works with a delivery company that provides couriers and delivers all orders.

Restaurants that want to create a branded application but don’t have many resources to organize their own fleet, often choose this type of food delivery app development. You can partner up with Uber Eats or DoorDash to deliver the orders that you get within your application.

Key Features of Food Delivery App Development

You can’t know how to create a food delivery app without understanding which features go into development. Since a meal delivery app might consist of different parts for end-users, restaurants, and couriers, the features for all differ.

Let’s take a look at the main features for on-demand food delivery apps.

How to Build a Delivery App for Customers
Below you can find a list of the key features that you will need to include in food delivery app development for customers:

  • Sing up and log in – users should be able to create an account with your application and then sign in when needed.
  • Profile/account page – after users sign up with your application, they need to have the ability to provide their personal data, such as name, delivery address, and even add their payment details.
  • Restaurant search – this feature can be implemented in different ways and it should help users to find restaurants. You might include different solutions, such as search by location with GPS, cuisine, etc.
  • Order placement – this is the main feature that allows consumers to choose food and make an order.
  • Integrated online payment – after a user puts an order within your application, the next step is the payment for that order. You can integrate your application with different payment solutions, the most popular being Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Stripe, and others depending on the location where you will provide your application.
If you want to know how to create a food delivery app that customers will fall in love with, you might need to consider adding some nice-to-have features that will improve the user experience of your application.

  • Notifications – these will help you keep customers informed of their order’s status, notify them about new offerings, special offers, etc.
  • Order tracking – the feature designed to help track the status of the order in real life.
  • Loyalty programs – this feature will help to retain customers by offering special offers and discounts to the most loyal ones. You can build a robust loyalty program and integrate different rules.
  • History of orders – it might be good for users to have access to the history of all orders ever made with your application.

Food Delivery App Features for Restaurants

Build On-Demand Delivery App: Features for Restaurants
You will also need to think about features for the app designed for restaurants. When you are working on this part of the app, you will need to think about how to create a food delivery app from a business perspective and try to solve the issues that restaurants might have.
  • Registration and log in – provides restaurants with the ability to create their business profiles.
  • Account page – allows restaurants to provide their business information and update it when it’s needed.
  • Content management – since an application should provide users with the choice of food, restaurants need to have the ability to add their menus and meals they are offerings. Content management features can allow creating menus with photos, descriptions, a list of all the ingredients, and so on.
  • Order management – the feature that allows restaurants to manage incoming orders and track their statuses.
  • Payments receiving – after the order is delivered, restaurants receive payments made by clients through the app.
A list of nice-to-have features can include the following options:


  • Loyalty program – restaurants need to have the ability to create a loyalty program for their clients to improve retention.
  • History of order – access to the whole history of all orders received through the application system.
  • Revenue dashboard – an additional feature that provides an overview of revenue history made with the app.

Food Delivery Application Features for Couriers

Food Delivery App Development: Features for Couriers
The app for couriers needs to provide them with all the features that are required for doing their job. The list of features can include different functionality.
  • Sign up and sign in – provides a way to register an account with an application. It’s possible to integrate the social login option with Google, Facebook, etc. to make the process faster and smoother.
  • Order status – displays the list of available orders and delivery details.
  • Pick up management – the feature allows couriers to manage pick-ups, like track the locations and time where they need to get and to deliver the feature.

Aside from basic features, there are some additional, nice-to-have ones:

  • Revenue dashboard – provides couriers with all the money they make with an app. This feature might give the ability to filter the revenue by days, months, etc.
  • History of orders – access to the whole history of orders with different filtering options.

Do you want to discuss food delivery app development with experts?

Get in touch with our team and we will be happy to explain the best way to approach the development process and help you choose the needed features for customers, drivers, and restaurants.

How to Create Food Delivery App Step by Step

how to Create Food Delivery App: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a food delivery app like Uber might seem like a good idea at the start. However, you won’t be able to get far with a copycat of a popular solution. The main secret of creating a successful application is to build a unique solution that solves the problems of target users.

In this section of the article, we discuss how to create a food delivery app to increase its chance for success.


Analyze the Market

Market analysis is the first step of food delivery app development. You can’t make any moves without knowing what you are stepping into, like your competition, market state, target audience, etc.
Market research will help you define how you can prosper in the industry:

  • Select the market where you want to launch the solution
  • Identify your main competitors and analyze their strong and weak points
  • Come up with ideas on how you can make your application better
  • Find your target audience and learn what they are looking for
  • Test your app idea to see how your target audience will react to it

Create a Value Proposition

The next step in your journey is coming up with a unique value proposition. In simple words, you need to decide how to be different from food delivery like Grubhub or food delivery like Uber. You are tasked here to decide how to create a food delivery app that will stand out.

Aside from being unique, your application should address the needs of your target audience, being user-friendly, and help you with your business targets.շ

When you have everything sorted out, you can create a business model canvas to highlight the main value of your solution.

Take a look at the image below that is an example of such a business model canvas.


 Food Delivery Business Model Canvas

Design and Develop Your App

Once you come up with your unique value proposition and have a list of the features that your app will have, you can start looking for a food delivery app development company.

You can use such platforms as Clutch, GoodFirms, the Manifest to find reliable technology partners. The choice of such platforms is numerous.

Want to know more about outsourcing app development?

Check the article prepared by our team where we explained how you can safely outsource food delivery app development and mistakes that will cost you time and money: Outsource App Development in 2020: How to Make It Work
The process of app development consists of different stages:

  • UX/UI design
  • Project planning
  • App development
  • QA and testing
  • App launch

All of these services combined will help you create a robust food delivery app.

Promote Your Food Delivery Application

Knowing how to create a food delivery app is not enough today. The work on the application’s future doesn’t end with its release on the app market. You will need to work hard on its promotion to make it successful.

A comprehensive approach will help you create a robust marketing strategy. Consider concentrating on the following types of promotion:

  • Paid ads
  • Social media marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Partners

How to Create Food Delivery App from Technical Side

Food delivery app development is a process consisting of different steps. It can involve the use of different technologies, APIs, and third-party solutions.

Here, you can see the main technologies used for app development.


Android iOS
Programming languages Kotlin, Java Swift, Objective-C
Toolkit Android Studio Apple Xcode


Service APIs
Push notifications Twilio



Apple Push Notifications

Firebase Cloud Messaging

Payments PayPal



Apple Pay

Google Pay

Navigation Google Maps

Google Places

Google Maps

Mailing services Gmail


Firebase Cloud Messaging


Social media Google




Aside from these, you might need to integrate APIs of some restaurants, delivery services, etc. The choice of technologies depends on the application type you decide to develop, target audience, and business model.

You might be wondering how much it will cost you to create such an app. Food delivery app development cost starts at $60,000 for an app with a basic set of features for a single operating system (iOS or Android) and can reach $500,000 or even more when you add additional features and platforms.

Want to know how to calculate food delivery app development?

Check the guide created by our team explaining how app cost is calculated:

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App? (2020 Cost Calculation)

Concluding Thoughts on Food Delivery App Development

Now you know how to create a food delivery app and to bring it to the market successfully. There are different possible third-party solutions, APIs, and technologies that you can include in the food delivery app development process to speed it up and to cut its cost.

The main secret behind the success of the whole process is finding a reliable tech partner that will help you along the journey, successfully identifying your USP, and coming up with a unique app idea.

Do you need help with delivering your food delivery app?

Get in touch with our team to get a free consultation and project quote. Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to assist you in building an app and delivering it to the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a food delivery app?
Food delivery app development consists of the following steps:

  1. Analyze food delivery application
  2. Come up with a unique value proposition
  3. Find a reliable vendor that will help you with app creation
  4. Decide on the features and technologies
  5. Create a UX/UI design of your application
  6. Develop applications for customers, restaurants, and couriers
  7. Test your application and fix issues
  8. Launch your app and move on to its promotion
  9. Get customer feedback and plan further app growth
How much does it cost to make a delivery app?
The creation of an application for food delivery is a complex process that comprises of different stages, namely business analysis, UX/UI design, development, QA and testing, and promotion.

The first version of your application might cost you $60,000 for a single app version (for iOS or Android) and can reach $500,000 or even more depending on the number of features and platforms that you are going to target.

Get in touch with us to get a professional project estimation.

What is the best app for food delivery?
The market of delivery applications for food is full of different names. Today, the list of industry leaders includes the following applications:

  1. DoorDash
  2. Uber Eats
  3. Seamless
  4. Instacart
  5. Grubhub
  6. Goldbelly
  7. Postmates
  8. Whole Foods Market
  9. Fresh Direct
What is the market prediction for food delivery?
The food delivery market is an area that is gaining traction. In 2019, the market was estimated at $107.4 billion. The market is predicted to grow at a rapid pace and reach $182.3 billion by 2024. There is still enough place for new names to enter in the following years.
What are the main types of food delivery applications?
There are three main types of food delivery applications that you might be interested in developing:

  • aggregators with logistics
  • aggregators without logistics
  • hybrid food delivery solutions

All the most popular applications work by one of the models, including Doordash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, etc.

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