How to Build a Food Delivery App Like DoorDash

Why such a topic? Well, in this age we live our lives fast and furious, when speed and comfort mean everything. We don’t like to spend our valuable time on something as trivial as crossing half of the city to eat at the favorite restaurant. We prefer to do business during this time if we can manage to order our desirable food online with the delivery-to-the-door option. Right? It saves money, time and even nerves.

So, there is no miracle in the fact that nowadays the food delivery mobile apps is so highly popular and appreciated. Today it became an independent strong industry. Every self-respecting fast food chain, grocery store or enterprise restaurants have their own mobile app for food delivery. It doesn’t matter either it’s an ordinary customer or a big company – they would want to get their orders quickly and exactly the way they like them. 

For such purpose, there are multiple local food delivery apps, that allows the customer and the seller to track the order from the start to the finish point through the whole way when it will be given to a final client. It’s not a secret, that in the nearest future every one of us will be using on-demand delivery service.

On-demand mobile app industry, for sure, is a huge and highly profitable niche of business, where even a newbie startuppers can simply copy the famous Uber model code to implement it in the needed type of food delivery app.

Why should you make your own food-delivery app?

There are already hundreds of food delivery mobile apps across the globe offering all kinds of services that are able to meet the expectations of the most demanding eaters. Let’s see. What is the main goal of the food delivery apps? To satiate the hungry customers and to make them come back for more. Satisfied client equals the revenue increase and your business success. People eat and they will never stop doing it – we live, we еat, we want more next day. Hot meal or sushi? Doesn’t matter – you can get almost every type of food you desire. At all kinds of occasions, people order take-out food.

The statistics show that the number of customers in the food delivery sector is constantly growing with each year. Sounds promising and reassuring. If you’re ready to go all-in, we will try to help you to learn how to develop a mobile app for food delivery purpose.

Best food delivery apps

The best food delivery apps

To be the best you need to learn from the best, so here are some well known and highly ranked food delivery apps as the examples for your future app.

Grubhub food delivery app

GrubHub is one of the first and best food delivery apps. It’s enough to make a profile and add your address along with payment information only once. Within this app, you can search by certain kind of food for or find a local restaurant nearby. You can mark your favorite restaurants and dishes so you can jump to them directly without going through the whole menu each time. Also, you can read through user reviews and see if there any fee for delivery. The app is available for both iOS and Android platforms.

Eat24 food delivery app

Here is the opposite scheme – add your address and the app will find the best food near you. Then you can search through types of cuisine or in the “What’s Good” section. Look for a desirable restaurant using photos, reviews, and a full menu. There are options like adding the items you want to your customer bag or favorite them for later. After choosing you can check your order status to know exactly when your food will arrive at your door. EAT24 is available for both iOS and Android platforms.

Seamless food delivery app

Seamless ordering food is extremely convenient. Navigation is plain and simple. All you need is to choose the type of cuisine you like and the app will search for the places that can deliver to you. In the process of adding items you desire, you can even leave special requests like based on your preferences. The app is able to sort your search by the cost of the food. The app is available for both iOS and Android platforms.

Doordash food delivery app

Doordash is the hottest food delivery app on the market and the most simple in this top. The ordering process completely stress-free. All you need is just look through the list of participating restaurants or search for something specific. Each restaurant gives fixated time of delivery. There is your order history for your convenience if you’d like to reorder something. Guaranteed food delivery in 45 minutes or less. The app is available for both iOS and Android platforms.

And how to build a mobile app for food delivery like Doordash?

The best choice of food delivery apps

Why we choose DoorDash as the role model? Well, because the positive sides of this app are just awesome to look for in some other apps. The DoorDash’s features take into account food and delivery quality, and popularity of places you order from. This app lets you narrow down the options by fastest delivery time, lowest price or overall consumer experience. DoorDash is a company that connects customers with local businesses.

Through the DoorDash marketplace, people can purchase goods from local merchants and have them delivered in less than an hour, thanks to their revolutionary logistics technology. As one of the latest steps up the company included in the app the option of alcohol delivery.

“As we started talking to our merchants about it, they loved this idea of pairing their most popular dishes with specific types of alcohol. Merchants got really excited, and we at DoorDash have always said we’re more than a food delivery company — it just happens to be the first vertical to focus on. This felt very natural.”

DoorDash Head of Business Development, Prahar Shah

DoorDash continues to expand its existing markets and getting ahead of the competitors. It’s the example of an excellent food delivery app development you need you explore and remember for future business strategy.

So let us proceed with the simple guide to give you an insight on how to create Doordash app clone for both Android and iOS platforms.

Food delivery app development can be hard and tricky, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – the mechanics of all the existing apps is practically alike, leaving at the same time a lot of space for innovative food delivery app developers who wish to build some special features that will attract users. Therefore, if you dream to develop a mobile app for food delivery – don’t hesitate to start.

Take into consideration that food delivery mobile app has to be as convenient and simple as possible. Your users should be able to order in a few easy steps. There shouldn’t be too many unnecessary functions, concentrate on minimalistic UX/UI design with access to the menu, local data along with contact numbers, and colorful pictures of the dishes. Also, it’s better for your future profit and high number of customers to develop a mobile app for food delivery for both most popular types of gadgets – smartphones (Android) and iPhone (iOS).

The main characteristics and advantages of your food delivery app you should keep in mind:

  • Comfortable service for users;
  • Friendly and easy-to-use UI;
  • Fast ordering process and delivery of products;
  • Some unique features in your app that will win compare to your contestants;
  • Cheaper price than traditional seller’s service;
  • Independent contractors working part-time or at any day you need them to;
  • Suitable payment system;
  • Benefits for customers as well as the contractors;
  • Loyal customers fanbase/users retention.

Okay, it’s the basics. From where to start and what should you take into account? Here are some tips to begin your successful journey:

  1. If it’s your first experience, we advise you to start with local food delivery app. This way it will be a lot easier to recruit contractors, launch a noticeable marketing campaign and test your concept for the first time. After your adaptation it the niche, you can discover the larger scale.
  2. It’s highly recommended for startups companies to hire delivery app developers who have some real experience in this field.
  3. Don’t forget to promote your app starting from the beginning of the development process. Use social media, advertisement, emails and banners.
  4. Earn the trust of your customers, because it’s the key to the success of your food delivery app. Pay attention to the feedbacks and reviews, hear what people have to say about the app and interact with them properly.  
  5. Cherish your contractors and make them stay. There are many ways to do this such as a competitive salary, flexible working schedule, compensation for transportation expenses, encouraging bonuses and other sources of motivation.

Now it’s time for you to choose the type of food delivery app that will satisfy your goals. There are four most common types of food delivery apps below.

  • Delivery of meals, cooked locally (startups like Domino’s Pizza, Munchery, Sprig, which cook and sell their own dishes).
  • Third-party delivery from restaurants (GrubHub, DoorDash etc. Apps that offer a wide choice of meals for order from different restaurants).
  • Grocery delivery (Postmates, Uber)
  • Combination of delivery and home cooking (Plated, Chef’d)

Fine, let’s sum up what we have... Role model? Check. Some main characteristics for your app? Check. Tips on strategy? Check. Now, did you decide what kind of app do you plan to develop? We need to move on to find out what features you should include in your app.

Technical aspects

Technical aspect to start food delivery app development

Choosing the right technology from the start allows you to save a lot of time in the future. If you’re new to the mobile world our post 7 easy steps to create a mobile app will definitely help.

Our research shows that native mobile experience is the choice of the biggest food delivery players when the backend stack may vary from PHP to Ruby. AWS hosting solution is an often choice for companies so “not reinventing the wheel” approach is very common.

Must-have features of the great food delivery app

Must have features for food delivery app

  1. Custom menu / Catalogs – they should contain a short and substantial description and nice colorful photos of the offered products.
  2. Geolocation – some apps use geolocation to provide menu differences for different areas and to calculate the transportation time and fee.
  3. Route Map Integration with Google Map integration – helps to select the shortest route to the needed destination. Google Maps ensure accurate navigation for various transport modes like bikes or vehicles.
  4. Online payment system – for the convenience of your users and your accountant tracking as well choose from some of already designed payment systems, such as PayPal, BrainTree, Stripe etc.
  5. Order tracking / Delivery status – this feature can be represented in a separate menu of the app or by messaging service with SMS alerts about the order status.
  6. Option for scheduled delivery – today it’s extremely important feature very appreciated by customers who value their time.
  7. Push notifications – to notify users about the status of the order or inform them about any special offers or discounts. Pretty much a great tool to enlarge the retention level of the customers.
  8. Loyalty programs – coupons, vouchers, special offers, points for buying particular items or placing each new order that will get some users a discount.
  9. User reviews, ratings and feedback – absolutely critical option if you want your app to success, because you need to know if the app is satisfying your users and if it needs some improvements.
  10. User account – information console for the customer’s personal data, to keep track of the order and delivery history, cash spent, commission earned and so on.

Wow, that was something... But we finally reached the final destination and the most crucial point of this journey. You have all information that you need, you know what resources will be required. So, there is only one question left...

How much does it cost to develop a food delivery app?

Not a single professional app developer won’t give you the accurate project cost right away, so be ready to negotiate and debate. App entrepreneurs always try to cut down development cost while looking for suitable solutions to ensure a quality of the product.

Food delivery app development costs

When it comes to creating apps, the amount of  money to be spent highly depends on:

  • Features and functions you want to have in your app;
  • A mobile platform (iOS or Android) –  Android usually will cost you less;
  • A server backend, a third-party services integration?
  • Social media integration?
  • Do you need an admin panel in your app?
  • Approach to the app development (native or hybrid) – the price of the cross-platform app will be lower;
  • Specialists you hire to build your team.
  • Design of the app –  the more complex and sophisticated UX/UI you want, the higher will be the price;
  • Optional hardware usage;
  • Post-production maintenance (read more in "How To Start Mobile App Marketing Campaign").

As you see, mobile app development cost estimation is a very complex process affected by many factors. But there are some fixated categories of the apps that could be estimated approximately:

  • Simple apps with some basic functionality, elementary integrated API(s), plain UI/UX, item list(s), a simple search will in the average cost to develop around $25,000-$35,000.
  • Middle complexity apps with more advanced features, custom UI/UX elements, tablets support, payment services integration, social media integration, map search etc. The average cost of such apps is around $45,000-$55,000.
  • High complexity apps that include the most advanced features with audio/video processing, real-time synchronization, custom animations, integrations with third-party services, complex backend with several types of databases, an offline data cache, etc. This one will cost around $55,000-$100,000.

Based on the estimated project complexity and the platforms for which your app is being developed, you need to choose basic or advanced development team.

Basic team consists of:

  • UI/UX Designer
  • 1-2 Developers
  • QA Engineer
  • Backend Developer
  • Project Manager

Advanced team consists of:

  • Project manager
  • UI/UX Designer
  • 2-4 Developers per platform
  • QA Engineer
  • 1-2 Backend Developers
  • Admin Panel Developer    

The current hourly development rates across the globe look like this list:

  • US and Canada- $60-$200;
  • Eastern Europe - $35-$120;
  • Western Europe, Scandinavia, UK - $40-120;
  • Australia - $50-$150;
  • India $5-50.

So, based on statistics and known average price for different categories of apps we can say that the development of balanced food delivery app, takes from two to five months and costs between $28000-$60000 (iOS or Android + back-end) with hourly development rate around $40.

Learn from our experience:

Working with enterprises is always challenging and requires a deep commitment of each team member. Our challenge was to create iOS/Android app using existing backend in the short amount of time for Guzman Y Gomez

Predicting the number of users is a hard job. Check thoughts of Julian Dabbs, CTO Guzman Y Gomez when the app became live on the AppStore:

“Previously about one percent of our customers made purchases online, and after our app launch this jumped to 10 percent pretty much overnight, peaking at 20 percent,”

“Our infrastructure was really only built for one percent, allowing for a little bit of growth on top of that.“

So the understanding of scaling procedures and possibility to extend the current setup is a must on your way to millions of users.

Final Thoughts

We really hope that this article was useful to you and that the food delivery app development process became less complicated for you. Don’t be afraid to follow the path to your dream and we’ll always help you on the every turn of your road!  As you can see, the food delivery market doesn’t lose the growth pace and is able to feed both, the customers and the sellers as well.

As the app development company, we know a lot of useful tricks and we can put our knowledge to your service when you decide to hire us. So please don’t hesitate to contact us right away, we’re here for you and will look forward to hearing your thoughts regarding this topic.

Tecsynt Mobile development company

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