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The world meets great changes: accelerated life tempo triggered on-demand food delivery app popularization, as modern consumers struggle for convenience and time-economy. People would rather order food online than waste valuable resources on meal preparation. Besides, contemporary food delivery services provide a wide range of cuisines and customization options, allowing to choose healthy food to any taste, so the demand for them only grows.
In this post, OpenGeeksLab will disclose key steps in on-demand food delivery app development and give advice on how to create an online food delivery platform that will take off.
As the demand for online food delivery grows, market opportunities also expand offering more competitive prices combined with personal convenience. About 55% of people ordering food or takeout tend to avoid person-to-person interaction switching to digital services. According to statistic research, the number of consumers who order food online will increase from 1.66 billion in 2016 to 2.14 billion in 2021. Total revenue in on-demand meal delivery business has already amounted $122.739 million in 2020 and is going to reach over $164.002 million by 2024.
Now big businesses like Uber Eats, Postmates occupy leading positions in industry, though it becomes hard to predict whether these platforms are going to hold their positions or not, as promising startups appear every day provoking competition.
Food delivery services fall into two basic business models:
As a rule, the model is used by branded mobile food delivery apps which offer digital version of separate restaurant or restaurant chain. Restaurant-to-consumer model presupposes clients getting their food from particular restaurant via its own delivery service avoiding engaging outsource logistics-focused platforms.
Examples vary depending on industry sector and location: e.g. Jimmy John’s Franchise is famous for its ‘sandwich cuisine’ around the US, while Domino’s Pizza stands among best pizza delivering services worldwide.
Platform-to-consumer model has already gained a strong position on food delivery market offering more varied services at cheaper price. Initially, aggregators united several restaurants in the area on one platform, so users could observe menus from different places. However, logistics itself was not provided by aggregator service and restaurant had to supply it. Modern aggregator type platforms provide logistics support feature as well, so restaurants should care only about preparing food, while platform’s drivers will ensure it being delivered on time.
Most popular online food delivery aggregators include Uber Eats, DoorDash, Deliveroo, Postmates, etc.
Proper industry understanding is vital while on-demand food delivery app development, so before developing a startup business owner should consider main KPIs of food delivery market:
Identifying proper strategy is a must before developing on-demand food delivery app. Business runner should choose one of food delivery models (either platform-to-consumer or restaurant-to-consumer), decide on target audience and industry sector (fast food, vegetarian cuisine, exclusive cuisine, etc.) to make platform competitive in future. Check hot trends like virtual assistance, smartwatch support or social media integration to hit the niche with own service.
Proper design plays an important part in engaging and retaining users. Modern UI/UX guidelines claim that good mobile food delivery app should bet on minimalism, plain colors, and highly interactive interface spared of excessive details. Placing attractive food pics on homepage positively affects user’s decision to go for platform’s services as well.
Productive logistics service is an essential component of on-demand meal delivery application. It highly depends on planning and hired staff. The more elaborated and tuned your logistics is, the more satisfied with food delivered on time clients are. Having settled courier staff is also important (especially for restaurant-to-customer applications), as there is no need to spend time and money on continuous newcomer training.
Hiring proper development team makes great deal of your future success. When choosing partners while creating on-demand food delivery app, pay attention to company’s portfolio and technologies it mainly uses in projects. Make sure that your requirements are compatible with services offered and bet on companies providing full-stack development support: from business analytics to after-release platform maintenance.
Establishing strong user base consists of two interrelated components: user engagement and user retention. Food delivery business usually attracts new customers via diverse promotion platforms and services like PR, social media marketing, referral programs. Engaging people is only half-way to success, so business runner must design proper loyalty system, feedback, and support to retain clients.
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Functional scope differs depending on subject of application. Usually, food delivery services offer different versions for consumers, partnering restaurants, and couriers.
Registration feature is of primer importance, as it enables users retain customized settings within profiles. Registration must contain user name and password verified via e-mail or phone number. Another option is authorization via social media like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. In either case, a platform must ensure proper data protection for clients not to worry about their account data being disclosed or stolen.
Profile settings must equip user with all necessary customization tools supporting easy and intuitive experience. Main of them concern personal data storing, favorites, quick access, and food preferences (favorite/excluded products, dishes/cuisine, restaurants).
Providing convenient search system is vital for on-demand food delivery app, as it directly influences user retention. The less customer spends time for finding suitable restaurant or service, the more likely he/she will turn to your platform again. To make search system productive and easy-to-use, one may implement advanced filters or several criteria allowing consumers to range all available services according to location, food category, restaurant/dish name, etc.
Offering interactive order placement plays an important part in on-demand meal delivery, as arranging services from the very beginning every time you want make changes appears irritating. The ability to add or delete foods from cart before payment spares user’s time and patience. Besides, you may add options allowing to reorder favorite dishes or pre-order food, setting the time of delivery instead of traditional “as soon as possible.”
Customization stands among key priorities in online food delivery, as modern consumers pay great attention to eating habits. More and more people switch to vegan or eco lifestyle, so restaurants and food delivery providers must adjust providing popular dish options without meat or gluten. Customization is also important for people allergic to some products or having digestion problems, so adding ability to exclude widespread allergens (nuts, honey, citrus) or aggressive food spices will become a nice bonus to your service.
Wish list feature allows users save food variants they have liked but do not intend order them right away. Besides, wish list may serve as general cart containing customer’s favorite products, so it becomes much easier to compile an order from it, rather than search for necessary options every time.
Order history usually stores all orders customer performed. Thanks to order history, a person can easily track eating habits checking the foods he/she had. Besides, with order history users can easily reorder favorite ones without seeking them again.
Varied in-built payment services help in engaging more customers. In-built options usually appear more reliable and secure, as there are fewer services involved in personal data processing. Popular payment systems include credit card, PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, etc. However, do not forget to leave cash option available to cover wider target audience segment.
Setting delivery address is compulsory for customer to get his/her order, though the procedure may be simplified via storing frequent options (home, work) in profile info and imputing them with autofill.
Tracking feature allows user observe delivery progress in real-time regime. As a rule, food delivery services split whole procedure into several sections from processing on portal till delivery itself, so consumers can easily check whether their foods are still in “kitchen” phase or already on way. Courier’s rout can also be tracked by customer through smartphone’s GPS and Google maps integration.
Estimating delivery time represents a nice tool to manage customer’s expectations. Instead of giving average numbers for all customers, modern mobile food delivery apps calculate estimated time individually with algorithms taking into account cooking preparations, delivery route, traffic congestion, etc.
Via push notifications food delivery business runners usually inform clients about current orders, delivery details or cases of emergency. Besides, notifications represent a nice opportunity to send consumers additional info like discounts, special offers, new terms of delivery, though one should not overuse this feature, as it may turn irritating.
Binding in-app user account to his/her profile in social media networks is a win-win solution to engage new audience. Customers sharing pics of own orders with friends and followers usually promote the smartphone app as a platform where anybody can get the same or even better.
Profound rating and reviewing system represents key tools influencing customer’s final decision about food delivery providers. Via reviews customers share their positive or negative experiences helping newcomers to understand which restaurants are reliable to order food there, as well as showing providers their weak places so they can improve and strengthen their position on food delivery market in future.
Rewarding users and supporting loyalty programs have great impact on user retention as well. Partnering with restaurants, mobile food delivery apps provide coupons, special offers, or discounts, encouraging people to become regular customers of correspondent restaurant and platform.
Direct customer-restaurant/driver communication channel becomes indispensable to prevent users from worrying about their orders, or in emergency cases.
Admin panel is a key feature of restaurant’s platform version as it ensures access to varied management tools controlling orders, public data, and other content.
Registration feature is necessary for restaurants to create representative accounts, which will be displayed on search. Restaurants usually undergo authorization with login (company name) and password.
Content management feature allows food delivery providers edit public information including restaurant name, contact info, address, hours of work, menus (adding/removing dishes, changing products in dishes, changing prices/delivery rates), or media content like photos and videos.
Order management feature provides to restaurant detailed info about current orders and allows sending notifications to customers/couriers about order status (accepted/ready/delayed/canceled/other).
Payment feature in on-demand food delivery app for restaurants serves as additional transaction fairness guarantee, as usually restaurants get their money after consumers got ordered food.
As well as other participants of delivery procedure, couriers must undergo authorization on platform. Registration feature may be implemented either with user name and password confirmed by e-mail/phone number or through accounts in social media.
Courier’s profile usually contains general info like name, working hours, photo. Profile management feature serves to adjust account settings, add delivery peculiarities, important details, etc.
Order management includes abilities to view delivery details (size, term, location/destination, extra requirements) and either pick up or reject it. Besides, couriers can update statuses (approved/disapproved, picked, completed/delivered) keeping clients informed about their orders.
Route details and navigation are vital, as they directly influence productivity and app’s rating. Precise description of destination place and route optimization feature that provides shortest possible route considering transport type, traffic congestion will reduce delivery time. The faster hungry customers get their food, the more likely they would use service again.
Account history comes in use to check all accepted/completed deliveries and leave notes, concerning difficulties (if any) emerged. Tracking account history drivers may avoid problems in future and improve own skills.
Push notifications serve two important functions at once: via this feature restaurants inform drivers about orders being ready to pick up and couriers themselves inform customers about their food being on the way or delivered.
Opportunity to contact directly customer or restaurant turns vital in cases of emergency.
Proper loyalty system is important for couriers as well. Supporting and encouraging drivers by rewards for good job or engaging friends/acquaintances as customers makes workers loyal to platform.
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Starting on-demand food delivery app development, one must consider how to get profit out of it. There exist three basic revenue models for food delivery business startups:
Charging delivery fees stands among most popular revenue options for food delivery providers. Depending on the platform, there is either a fixed rate for delivery service or fees vary due to criteria like distance between client and restaurant, estimated delivery time, or ordered services.
Charging commissions for partnering restaurants guarantees stable revenue source on beneficial terms for both parties, as order flow equals charged rates. Delivery services will not work at a loss charging too low rates during demand growth, while restaurants are assured not to pay fees if orders reduce. Apart from order flow, fees may depend on restaurant’s size and popularity, so food catering startup services are supported by lower commission rates on digital platforms.
Another effective monetization option is presented by marketing and promotion fees. Restaurants partnering with food delivery platforms often struggle for increasing own visibility and win new customers in competition with market giants. Thus, they pay a platform for promotion to occupy first places on app’s restaurant search page and increase own chances in engaging customers.
Although on-demand food delivery market is saturated with varied world-famous services, there always stays a place for new unique startup idea. Do not be afraid of tough competition you will meet! Сonsider your strengths, choose right strategy and hit the industry with your innovation. Avoid wasting time and contact us to create together a business solution that will take off and win customer love right now.
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