How to Build a Food Delivery App (like UberEats, Glovo or Postmates)


Time to read:
12 min


Food delivery is swiftly changing the industry. Its share is one of the fastest-growing in the global food market. Frost & Sullivan estimated that the industry will scale up to striking $200 billion by 2025. Uber Eats itself is valued today at $20 billion with annual revenues of $1.4 billion and presence in around 670 cities.

And this is just the start. More impressive figures are probably to come. Will you just sit and observe success of others? Or you can create your own history. The latter option seems much attractive. Here is our guide on how to create a food delivery app.

Why to create a food delivery app right now?

The mobile food delivery has never been in such demand. Coronavirus dictates new reality for all. Quarantine is slowing global economy and challenging middle business. Yet, it offers the best chances to start food delivery service. 

Just imagine, 90% of global population suddenly must stay at home for a week, two or even months. Which services do they need at first place? Right, delivery. So, if you manage to create on-demand delivery app quickly and smartly today, you will be a winner tomorrow. 

How to build a food delivery app: a step-by-step guide

Research and analyze

Start with researching and analyzing your market. Look at your competitors, find their upsides and downsides. It’s their mistakes that you should avoid. A proper research of your field will help you make your app better, quicker, and smarter. If you don’t have expertise to conduct an analysis yourself, find a team of professionals to assist you. 

Choose your business model

Think about business model of your startup. For the mobile food delivery, consider three basic options:

  1. Using your own transport vehicles. It is a time-consuming model to build, which requires more investments, and involves higher responsibility.

  2. Using taxi service or external couriers. With this option, your app becomes a connecting dot between three agents: clients, drivers and restaurants.  

  3. Delivery is performed by the food service itself. In this case, you have just to connect clients with the restaurants. This model offers less control over the process and minimal involvement. 

How to create
a food delivery app?
Download the checklist we used to create our food delivery app.

How to monetize your app? 

Let’s take UberEats. The company applies three main monetization strategies:

  1. Delivery Fee. Before 2018, UberEats had a stable $4.99 delivery fee. Now the company switched to a pricing calculator (delivery order fee is estimated by the distance between clients and food sites). 

  2. Revenue Sharing from food businesses. The platform charges fee from each order done with UberEats. 

  3. Advertising. Restaurants pay money to be promoted in the app search.

Choose your app functionality

Before switching to the development stage, you should understand what features your food delivery app will comprise. Let’s make a short overview. There are three main agents of the process: a client, who makes an order, a restaurant, which prepares the order, and a courier, who delivers it. Consequently, three sides of your app should be considered. 

Client’s perspective 

  • Start with sign up feature. Your customers should be able to create their account, track order status and leave feedback. Don’t forget to include authorization via email address or social media channels. 

  • List of restaurants with their rating and reviews for clients to choose. 

  • In-app calls and chat. They enable customers to chat with restaurants and couriers as well as to check their order for updates.

  • Payment system for your app. The easier to pay, the better. Try to include as many paying options as possible — PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and credit cards. 

  • Functionality to place orders right from the restaurant menu. It seems to be a small detail, but yet important for a client-friendly service. 

Restaurant’s perspective

  • Sign up page as well. Create the food delivery platform for food businesses to join. Restaurant’s profile should at least include its name, location, menu, business hours and contact information.

  • Tracking the nearest courier available to deliver orders. Make sure your app has a functionality to follow the courier at any stage of delivery.

  • Cross interface communication between the restaurant, the courier and the client.

  • Tracking order status. Restaurants must see upcoming orders, processing orders and already delivered ones. 

  • Enable restaurants to update content of their profiles. 

  • Another detail — functionality to set other special offers

Courier’s perspective

  • Sing up. Courier’s profile should include some personal information (location, language, vehicle), rating and feedback features. 

  • Functionality to manage upcoming orders and update status of those that have already been delivered. 

  • Enable courier’s communication with other parties — restaurants and clients — to solve some real time problems and send updates on order status. 

  • Account history to help with tracking the experience of any courier. 

General stages of a food delivery app development

After you have identified requirements for your app, you need to find a professional team that will help you execute your plans and build the app. Let’s proceed to some general stages of the process:

  1. Prototyping. According to your requirements, a professional team builds user flow logic and creates application screens.

  2. UI/UX design. It is a main stage which comprises works on interface of your app and incorporation of its functionality.

  3. Development. It is a complex process, during which developers put everything together and actually build the product.

  4. Testing and publishing. After the product is built, it requires reviewing and testing. Quality Assurance team checks whether app’s functionality is fault-tolerant. This stage is crucial to ensure that everything’s working seamlessly. 

What stack to use? 

The stack you need totally depends on what functionality your app should have. Yet, it does not hurt to have some general overview. Let’s take a look at FoodTrucks — a cross-platform mobile application for truck owners, vendors and end customers developed by Fulcrum team.

In the table below, we outlined the stack our team applied, how long it took to develop an app like this, and what functionality it comprises: 

It's hard to predict the precise cost of your app. Yet, there are two main factors to consider: a performer and an app itself. The price usually depends on the company which develops an app. We recommend you to search for outsourcing companies, since their services are much cheaper. Among top countries for outsourcing are Ukraine, India, and Poland. 

Secondly, functionality of your app will be reflected in its price. The more sophisticated app you want, the higher prices you should expect. Check out our app costs calculator.

How to spend less money and time on your on-demand delivery app?

If you cannot afford to invest huge sums in app development, it’s is not an end of the world. Even with the limited budget, you can manage to create a food delivery app similar to UberEats, Glovo or Postmate. 

The secret is to use already developed APIs for food delivery services. These APIs can serve you as the foundation for your app. It is more efficient, time-saving and cheaper. So, why not using it? We have prepared some money-saving resources for you. 

UberEats API 

Let’s start from the easiest and most obvious one. If you have a restaurant and decide to invest in mobile food delivery, you should start with UberEats API. It helps you to manage menus and orders on the Uber Eats Platform. All you need to do is to integrate it with your restaurant’s Point of Sale (POS) system. And UberEats has already taken care about logistics.

Cost: the UberEats implements a revenue-sharing model with vendors. It ranges from 15 to 40 percent per order.

Google Places API

What is Places API? It is a Google service that provides information about establishments, geographic locations, or prominent points of interest. 

Cost: the prices are not too high. Google charges $2 to $14 for every 1000 queries up to a maximum of 100,000 queries per day. Besides,you can get $200 credit every month for free. 

OneSignal API

With the Onesignal API, you can add push notifications to your app. Their main task is to alert users via your app about updates and news.

Cost: The API is free and offers limited support if you have less than 30,000 subscribers. Otherwise, access to the OneSignal API will cost you $99 per month. 

Foursquare API

With the Foursquare API, your customers will be able get personalized recommendations on the places to visit or things to do in the chosen area. 

Cost: Its price starts from $599. Though the price is biting, Foursquare API is definitely worth investing.

Google Matrix

Another useful tool is Google Matrix API. It allows you to count travel distance and time your courier need to reach the destination. You can also integrate with the Google Maps API.

Cost: the API’s price goes from $4 and, similar to Google Places API, you can get the same $200 free credit.

GrubHub API

If you’re planning to do your business in the United States, certainly use GrubHub developer API. It retrieves information on more than 115,000 restaurants in the United States. GrubHub team offers a semi-public API, and is open to work with new partners.

Cost: its revenue-sharing model ranges from 10 to 30%.

Mapbox API

With Mapbox API, you receive an access to a service with custom maps. The Mapbox APIs comprise different web services, but to build food delivery app, you need to consider just two of them — Mapbox navigation API and Mapbox geocoding API. 

Cost: the API is free for up to 25,000 monthly active users. 

Freshchat API

The Freshchat API enables a live chat functionality on your app. The feature is supported by Freshchat — a messaging service which lets you embed a widget in any site. It lets you engage with and manage queries from your app users — both anonymous. 

Cost: the Freshchat API is also free to use with the limitation to 10 team members and 10,000 website visitors. If you exceed the limit, the charge is $15 per month. 

Waze Navigational API

After you integrate this API, Waze application can locate and mark an address on the map or start a navigation session to an address or destination. Note that the Waze Navigational API is specific to cars and relies on the user’s information.

Though it’s quite a good alternative to other APIs, using it makes no sense, if most of your curiers do not drive cars.

TomTom’s APIs

Let’s look at two of TomTom's APIs — NavAPP and MapLibrary. With them, you can add custom mapping features to the app. These APIs enable static and interactive maps to be displayed in any mobile and/or web application. TomTom real-time map making technology provides users with the most accurate and up-to-date maps. 

Cost: it is free for under 2,500 requests per day. For bigger amounts, the charge goes from $25.

Choosing the right team

To guarantee the success of your food delivery app, it is crucial to find an experienced and well-qualified team of developers who will care about your idea as much as you do. The team who can foresee possible pitfalls, can properly analyze the market, and, finally, create a unique and good quality product. 

We at Fulcrum will be happy to assist you on every stage of creating your own food delivery app. We are real IT nerds who want your idea to become a success and bring results.

We prepared a free checklist for you to see how far you are in building a food delivery app. Click ‘Download’ and check your progress. 

How to create
a food delivery app?
Download the checklist we used to create our food delivery app.

Kateryna Khalimonchuk
Marketing Specialist
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