Restaurant App Development. How to Build The Best Food Ordering app?

I like to eat probably more than I like to sleep, you know? No, I mean, I really LIKE to eat, but most importantly I prefer to do it while sitting in front of my TV watching something like “Fear the walking dead” or “The Big Bang Theory”, maybe chatting with my best friend. Yeah, I’m one of those ‘food and TV-show’ obsessed nerds. And what am I adore more than anything? You’re right if you guessed about takeout and food delivery industry.

Seriously, this is my heaven and paradise and all of that combined. I can get whatever I want whenever I want... It’s insane how much a simple smartphone can ease my life, save my money and time while providing with an option to order any meal from any city’s restaurant!  

And you know what? I’ve always had a dream, childish really, but still... I wanted to open my own cafe or bar with some fancy interior and nice atmosphere. Where any customer could find peace and a good meal... I grew up and there is no restaurant for me, but... Now I‘ve another ability – I can develop a mobile app for the restaurant... I have a chance to create a whole other universe when it comes to a restaurant business! Wanna to take a walk with me?

How to build a food ordering app and why does any modern startup needs one

Food ordering app

Well, businessmen talk in numbers, yes? Sure, I could impress you with some fancy statistics about revenue of the restaurants that have mobile apps, but I don’t see a point. It’s obvious that you’re gonna get you sale’s boost, more interesting question here is why? In short, it’s all about time and place, actually, because an app allows not only a customer to save his/her time but you too.

Fast digital order straight to the operator who will pass to the kitchen immediately significantly eases the process rather than a client who would torture your waiters with an inability to choose something from a menu for like... 10 minutes straight. And as for the place, how many customers can one small cafe afford? Twenty? Thirty at best, if we aren’t talking about giant fast-food chains like McDonald's.

So, the numbers. Yeah, well, the number of clients that you can serve through the day with just one handy application will run over hundred, minimum. See, where I’m going with this? More customers – more money. And all you’ll need is just to hire a couple of extra workers to speed up the cooking. While the app works 24/7 restlessly and for much less “salary” represented in small updates or improvements.

Okay, but it’s not a big deal, someone would say. Can we hold on for a second and see what else is there?

  • Promotion – with the app you’ll gain an enormous target audience
  • Better and faster carry out service – people love it, trust me
  • The expansion – you’ll win over the territory you’ve never even dreamed of before
  • Social sharing option – do I even need to explain the power of social media today?
  • Brand reputation – you please the most demanding clients with a digital product and they will stay loyal to you for as long as it takes considering your food their top option
  • Mobile application is the easiest way to reach out to all of your customers with special offers and event notifications while saving money on the paper flyers and other advertising

Sounds promising? Then let’s proceed with a quick guide for those who’re wondering how to create a custom mobile app for a restaurant. 

1. Define the target audience of the food ordering mobile app

Who use mobile gadgets these days? Who spends there half of the day? Teenagers and students, busy working middle class and entrepreneurs of all kinds. Our lifestyle is represented by rush, quick decisions, and high-quality standards. So, along with everything else we adjust the eating habits in sync with that rhythm. And from here you should start your project, defining the type of the application you wanna have and how it will win people’s affection.

Food app's target audience

2. Evaluate your chances by studying the precedents

It’s never a bad idea to research the market niche in which you’re going to invest. Before you start spending money, make sure you not copying someone’s already existing product. Find out what made other famous food ordering apps so loved by the public, what features they include, and what services they provide. Then all that gathered information you can use to create a truly unique and spicy application that would solve the problems other apps could not.

3. Resources &  Revenue model

Once you’ve got over first steps, it’s time to set up a budget and make an economic sheet of all the resources you could possibly need. It’s better to be prepared for force major expenses, so add some extra money to your calculations to be fully confident in what you do.

In case you don’t know how to handle all this stuff, we have some piece of advice on how to develop a successful marketing campaign. And as for the business model, just like with any application, you’ll have to choose crucial mobile marketing metrics that would define the revenue growth.

4. Platform & Development tools

Will you choose a wider audience and build a product for Android users? Or is it your dream to be on top of the App Store market with iOS app? What type of the development approach is it – native or hybrid? Will you create an app from a scratch or use already made decisions like third-party APIs, app clones, and free SDKs? What kind of services will the application provide and how many functions it supposed to fulfill? And so on...

Your choices in all that cases will impact a calculation of the app’s price, so choose wisely. Probably, won’t hurt if you seek help of some professionals and talk to them about the concept you have in mind in general and the hidden pitfalls that may await ahead.

5. UI/UX design

Along with the catchy name and attracting icon there should be suitable fonts, colors, and pictures when it comes to UI design. It’s your must-do to make app using process flawless and easy as much as possible. And it includes payment systems, menu processing, and ordering. Minimum buttons, fastest way to find a desirable meal and an easy-to-use but trustworthy payment solution are exactly what you’re looking for.

Wrap your customers around in comfort and convenience, make for them an app that would impress not only them but yourself as well.

UI/UX design of your food app

6. Gather a team

I must say it at once to sort things out if you don’t have any idea about coding and programming you must hire a team of the restaurant app developers who know their job and can provide you with a qualified service. It’s gonna influence the final cost of the project, yes. And based on the country where you’ll seek those developers their hourly rate would be quite different, but in this case cheaper doesn’t mean a better product in a result. Just saying.

So, according to our experience at TecSynt, when you hire a small but trustworthy agency approximate restaurant app development cost will be around $30,000 for a simple fully functional product and like $70,000 – 100,000 if you want more complex sophisticated application.

7. Features – a clash of the titans 

What the app should do is to give a full and comfort access to the menus and offers of the restaurant. People are mostly lazy, so a food guide must be easy to navigate and enhanced with filters for favorite user’s ingredients.

Not to mention a modern design and marvelous virtual tours through the restaurant and colorful menu catalogs. That’s why you need to prepare the content you plan to put into the app and keep in mind that it should be like a feast for customer’s eyes long before you knock him or her over with the quality of your meals.    

And what makes an app a best one? Right, its features! So, what do we seek in the restaurant mobile applications? Check out a list I composed for you.

  • Restaurant information along with the directions
  • Menus with prices – standard, healthy and vegetarian, presented separately  
  • Informative and true pictures of the each meal (there could be video clips too)
  • “Hot” (quick) order for those who are in hurry
  • Food Constructor & Filters for desirable ingredients
  • Tracker for the order status
  • Easy payment gateway with different payment choices
  • Search option for finding the establishment to your like by location or cuisine (a place to go on a date, business meeting, or get the best takeaway)
  • Loyalty Programs and Special offers
  • Location based notifications and services
  • Social Media Integration
  • Easy Checkout Process
  • Push notifications & Event Calendar
  • User’s Transaction History
  • The ability for customers to rate a restaurant and leave a feedback
  • Bookmarking option for favorite places

8. Prototype and run an MVP 

Any mobile product needs a test drive, so, after you developed a project it’s time to create a prototype for the first version of the app. Sort out top ten features you definitely want to implement and go on with putting them together with the UI and back-end. Just to save yourself from unpleasant fails and extra spendings on unnecessary upgrades run a minimum viable product (MVP).

When you see how the app works and if there are some bugs present then you can consider some improvements or concept altering in general. This stage helps mobile developers to establish weak and strong sides of the application before its launch time.

9. Feedback and Improvements

Sorry, not the end for now. After you received first feedbacks from beta-testers, there are more tests to fix the problems and finish the development process. In addition, you’ll have to pass all the requirements of the Marketplace where you plan to sell your app. Oh, and don’t forget to include analytic tools in your restaurant app to track the customers’ behavior and check out traffic numbers.

Feedback and improvements

10. Launch it. Sell it hard. Become rich and famous

Well, finally! We are here, at the point where you pass the final version of the application to the App Store or Google Play Store. But. No time for relaxing and vacation! Keep listening to the customers, don’t ever neglect their remarks or bad reviews, only that way you’ll be able to continue improving your application by developing new interesting changes and features. Also, it’s necessary to provide a constant technical support and a hotline for complaints, in case you get some. 


And even though the restaurant mobile app development industry is somewhat crowded, let me tell you – it just an impression and most of the food serving companies don’t have an app yet. Which will give your restaurant a huge advantage in the battle of winning the customers’ affection. 

We tried to explore the reasons why the restaurant mobile app is a must-have nowadays and what it takes to create on. If you’re motivated to know more, please, feel free to contact us anytime or check one of our latest projects for Australian restaurant chain called ‘Guzman Y Gomez’.


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