Food Delivery App Development: Process, Team, Mistakes and Cost

5954 Updated 01.11.2023
Yuriy Matviyuk

Development Tech Lead


Table of contents

The global food market is estimated at 83 billion euros. The sphere is growing and becoming even more powerful. Therefore, online food delivery is becoming inevitable. For example, already in 2017, every 5 people in the UK ordered food online. 

What is this article about?

Our new article is dedicated to the topic of developing a food delivery application. Today we will look at the following questions:

  • Who needs a food delivery application?
  • What are the main types of food delivery applications? 
  • How to improve your idea for a food delivery application? 
  • What are the main food delivery app development challenges?
  • What are the main food delivery app design challenges?
  • What are the core elements of a food delivery application? 
  • What are must-have features for food delivery apps?
  • What steps do you need to go through to develop a great food delivery application? 
  • How to hire a food delivery app development team and what food delivery app development cost is? 

Let’s start with the first question.

Food Delivery App Development: Who Needs It?

Let’s first consider which organizations and companies need to think about developing a food delivery app. We have identified 2 main types of companies: food establishments and startups.

Food establishments

According to statistics from Horago, online orders through mobile food delivery apps generate 23% more revenue for restaurants on average than regular orders. With the right tools, this metric can get even better. Not only did Covid 19 influence the accelerated digitalization of the restaurant industry, but this trend also appeared long before the pandemic and will continue for at least the next 6 years.

Food establishments are using food delivery apps to reach more people. Many people do not have time to visit restaurants, but for example, they want to eat delicious food. For such people, food delivery apps are an ideal option.

Food establishments also use food delivery applications in order, for example, to relieve a restaurant during the most active time of the day. Thanks to the application, if there are no seats left in the restaurant, people can order food to go. In this case, people will not remain hungry, and the restaurant will receive additional profit. 

People choose food delivery because they lead a more active lifestyle and have less time for gatherings in restaurants. A food delivery application is a great way to earn more than you earn in a restaurant. People can sit at one table for a very long time, and during this time, the application can bring you twice or even three times more money.

Food delivery application is a very convenient product. People no longer need to use taxi services or make telephone orders. Using the food delivery app, they can order the dish they want in a few clicks. Such an application is convenient for publishing discounts, studying the menu and selling new products.


The food delivery app is also being used by regional aggregator startups, where the user can choose food from many different food establishments. In this case, restaurants and cafes that do not have their own delivery service become partners of the aggregator, which allows them to increase sales through delivery.

Also, startups can use applications to deliver food from various supermarkets or specialty stores. Thanks to the application, they make it easier for people to buy food and help them save time. Usually, startups receive a percentage of the use of the application by various establishments.

Types of Food Delivery Apps

There are three main types of food delivery apps: aggregators, logistics-focused and full-cycle applications. Let’s look at each type in more detail.


Food delivery aggregator is a mobile application that is a platform for selling and delivering food from a large number of restaurants at once. The pros and cons of food delivery aggregators include:

  • Facility marketing. Aggregators are great marketing platforms for restaurants. Flipping through the catalog of restaurants, many people will learn about your establishment every day.
  • Delivery delegation. The aggregator provides the restaurant with delivery services, which removes the cost of organizing delivery from the restaurant on its own.
  • High Commissions. As mentioned above, aggregators charge fees from restaurants. Too high commissions may not be possible for all establishments.
  • Lack of control. By cooperating with the aggregator, the restaurant loses the ability to control many things: for example, markups for dishes or the quality of courier services. In addition, mistakes on the part of the aggregator can negatively affect the opinion of users about the restaurant.

The most common examples of this type are:


At first look, logistics-focused food delivery companies appear to have a lot in common with aggregators. Such systems allow clients to compare different cafés, pricing, and cuisines, as well as place an order, all through a single application.

However, the companies who are growing their businesses on the ‘new delivery’ model also provide logistics to the restaurants with which they collaborate. It eliminates the need for cafés to employ their own couriers. It is extremely useful and handy for businesses who have never used delivery services.

Unlike aggregators, these services charge set fees not just to restaurants that have agreed to partner with them but also customers.

Customers often do not have to pay exorbitant costs, but due to a continually rising client and restaurant base, such platforms have a fair opportunity of making a profit.

According to analysts, this industry’s total number of orders processed is $20 billion by 2025.

The most common examples of this type are:

  • Just Eat (serving Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America under the iFood brand.)
  • Deliveroo (serving Europe, Australia, and Asia)
  • GrubHub (serving the UK and the US)


Full-cycle food delivery applications are applications that include both logistical aspects and the possibilities of restaurant management, for example. Full-cycle food delivery applications has a number of advantages: 

  • Complete control of all activities and the client experience. You are not reliant on third-party logistics or the chefs of other restaurants; you always know what cuisine is supplied and when it is served.
  • Financial viability. Yes, you may incur significant expenditures; but you are not required to share your gains with partners or any other parties.
  • Excellent adaptability. You have direct contact with your clients, so you can listen to them and meet their requirements without the participation of third-party contractors or corporations.

The most common examples of this type are:

  • Swiggy (serving Bengaluru, India)
  • DoorDash (it supports over 300 cities in 32 markets)

How To Improve Your Idea For Food Delivery App Development

Let’s now look at ways to improve your food delivery app idea. All the information we share is based on the experience of our team.

Explore market trends and opportunities

First, you should research the market, its trends and opportunities. You should know what is popular with regular food delivery app users right now. Learn what practices are used to develop food delivery apps. Analyze what popular technologies, functionality and design are most often developed for food delivery applications.

Explore competitors

Secondly, you need to analyze and evaluate your competitors. Explore their apps, analyze them, note what you like and don’t like about the app, think about what you would like to change or improve, etc. You can also make a comparison table of competitors where you will write down all the details that you will need in the future.

Test the idea with MVP

Third, test your idea with an MVP. MVP is a product with a minimum number of features. However, you add the most necessary functionality. MVP is a great way to check if your product is needed in the market and if you are moving in the right direction. If you want to learn how to create an MVP, check our article How To Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? [Startup Case Studies].

Food Delivery App Development Challenges

Now let’s look at the challenges you may face while developing a food delivery application.

The correct technological stack

One of the challenges in developing a food delivery application is choosing the right technology stack. Many teams or individual developers do not have sufficient knowledge to select the required stack for creating a food delivery application.

Therefore, selecting a skilled and experienced team that uses advanced technologies and best practices to develop products and solutions is very important at the first stages of product creation.

Data security

Like any other application, a food delivery application should be protected from data leakage and cyber attacks. In any case, users will enter their personal data and card numbers when registering in the application. Therefore, it is necessary to protect your users from possible system hacks and theft of their personal data.

Integration with payment systems

Users of your application should be able to pay for their orders immediately without closing the application. Open the ability for users to connect their bank cards, as well as the ability to pay using PayPal, for example. You can also add instant payment with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Navigation API

This thing is responsible for ensuring that the application correctly and automatically determines the place where it is located, for example, the courier or the place where the courier should take the order. For a food delivery application, this thing is mandatory and vital.

Food Delivery App Design Challenges

And now, let’s take a look at the challenges you might face during the design phase.

Product usability

Usability is responsible for the convenience and ease of use of the application. We have identified 5 main components of usability:

  • Ease of use. It is easy for new visitors to navigate the application: a clear interface, no need to deal with the design, spend time learning the functions, disable pop-ups.
  • Efficiency. The user can quickly perform the desired action: read the menu, place an order, contact the company.
  • Memorability. If the user has not visited the application for a long time, he will easily navigate the structure.
  • Satisfaction. Users like the design, navigation and content. They willingly make orders and other targeted actions.
  • Mistakes. They rarely occur and are easy to fix.


Readability is as the application content and information are understandable to users. Readability is affected by many factors: typography, fonts, illustration layout, text block size, text color, etc. Readability is also responsible for how users perceive the information and products presented in the application.

A food delivery app should be as user-friendly as possible. If users do not understand what they need to do to place an order in a few seconds, for example, then do not expect success. 

Satisfying the needs of each target user

In fact, the food delivery application will be used by ordinary users, couriers and restaurants. Therefore, it is essential to take into account the needs and desires of all these groups. When creating a design for an application, keep in mind that it can have the same style for all user groups, but it should have functional differences.

Creating a brand

The app design should have elements that represent your brand. Your app needs to be recognizable and stand out from your competitors’ apps. So add branded colors, logo and other elements to the app design.

Synchronize with marketing strategy

Do not forget that after the launch of the application, you will need to promote and advertise it. Therefore, your design should be in sync with your marketing strategy.

Food Delivery App Development: Core Elements

Food delivery app development is the process of creating an application for 3 main personas: the user, the courier and the restaurant. Let’s look at these personas in detail one by one:

User application

Keep in mind that your application will essentially need to include 3 different separate applications. The first is the application for the user. There should be all relevant information for ordinary people who want to order in a restaurant or other food establishment.

The user should have the functionality of ordering food, paying for the order, tracking the courier, viewing the menu, choosing a restaurant, etc. We’ll talk more about the features a little later.

Сourier application

The courier application should include relevant information for the courier. For example, it can be information about the order that a particular courier should deliver, delivery address, order amount, route, etc.

Restaurant application

An application for a restaurant should have the functionality of posting an up-to-date menu, the number of online orders, a list of free couriers, etc. The restaurant application should be more detailed and contain all the information about both couriers and customers.

Food Delivery App Development: Must-Have Features in 2023

Now let’s look at the list of must-have features for a food delivery app. You should add these features in order for your application to be competitive and in demand in 2022.

Personal account

A personal account is required primarily for users. Users will fill in the account with personal information, including bank card information, delivery address, email address to receive promotions, etc.

Online payment

Make it possible for users to pay for their orders online. Most people prefer this particular payment method rather than using cash.

Chat with a courier

For users to control the delivery of their order, add a chat feature with the courier. If, for example, the courier gets lost, he will be able to write to the chat and find your location. You can also clarify any questions about your order using this chat.


This feature is needed in principle for all persons. For example, the restaurant rating will show users how successful the restaurant is and how good the service it provides. The courier rating will show users how quickly and efficiently, for example, the courier delivers the order.

Promo codes

Promo codes will allow users to receive certain discounts on orders at specific restaurants. Promo codes usually have a very positive effect on users and are a good part of a restaurant’s marketing strategy.

Real-time tracking

This feature will allow users to monitor how their order is delivered, where the courier is and how long it will take to arrive.

Order status

This feature will show users the status of their order at a certain time. That is, let’s say the order will have the following status: the order is accepted, the order is being processed, the order is in process, the order is being delivered.

Support chat

This chat is needed so that users can solve any problems that arise quickly. The user can use the support chat for any question and get help.


This feature is required so that users can complete the process of ordering food. Checkout is required to confirm all the entered data and send the order for processing.

Order history

The order history will show users exactly which dishes and from which restaurants they ordered earlier. Thanks to this feature, users will be able to track how much money they spent on online food delivery, for example, and how many bonuses they received for it (in case the restaurants where orders were made offer a bonus system).

Compilation of rations

Compilation of rations helps people who follow certain diets create a ration for a certain period of time and set up daily or weekly delivery.


The cashback feature will enable users to receive a certain amount of cashback after placing an order. Different restaurants may set different cashback amounts.

Calorie counting

You can add a calorie calculator in the application, which will calculate the calorie content for each dish. This feature will definitely be appreciated by vegetarians or those who follow certain diets.


Users should be aware of updates that take place in restaurants or promotions, for example. The notification system will allow users to always be aware of new events and updates.


This feature will allow restaurants to publish discounts for regular customers, for example, or for certain seasonal dishes. Restaurants choose discount options themselves.

Northell Expertise in Food Delivery App Development

Northell team has a wealth of experience in building food delivery applications. Our team uses the best practices and modern technologies to create advanced and user-friendly food delivery applications.

We provide customized mobile app development services that are tailored to your specific product with native iOS, Android, and cross-platform solutions.  

One of our partners, Careem, is the internet platform for the greater Middle East region. Careem is expanding services across its platform to include mass transportation, delivery and payments to become the region’s everyday SuperApp. Careem operates in over 100 cities across 14 countries and has created more than one million employment opportunities in the region.

careem now fi.jpg


Together with our partner, we developed a great application that simplifies and improves the lives of people, as well as builds an awesome organization that inspires. Our team developed an attractive design and advanced functionality. A big focus in this app our team made on branding.

To know more about our customized mobile app development services, click here

Food Delivery App Development: Step-by-Step Guide


Food Delivery App Development: Step-by-Step Guide

The food delivery app development process consists of several important steps. Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps:

Point 1: Develop an Idea and Describe It

First, you need to describe your product idea. Describe how you want your product to look like, what functionality and design it should have, how exactly the product should work, etc. Every successful product starts with an idea. And the more detailed you describe it, the better. It will be easier for you to create a plan and convey to your team what they need to develop.

Point 2: Marketing Research and Product Discovery

Next, do some market research. Study the market, your competitors and your target audience. Conduct a product discovery. Determine whether users will use your product, whether they will, for example, pay for it, and whether specific problems need to be solved using your application. After doing the research and getting the results, you can switch to the design stage.

Point 3: UX Design: Prototype, Logic and Navigation

At this stage, you need to develop a prototype, logic, and navigation for the product. A prototype is a detailed blueprint for an application. It is needed to focus on the meaning and think through the interface at a conceptual level before moving on to graphic design. A well-designed prototype is a full-fledged application framework, on which the design is then easily “put on.”

When prototyping, don’t forget about logic and navigation. If the chain of actions in the application is not logical or navigation is complex, the user will most likely stop using your product.

Point 4: Testing

After the UX design is ready, you need to test it. Namely, you should test each action that will be performed in the application, the consistency of these actions and the correct navigation. The more time you spend testing, the better. During testing, you will be able to correct possible errors. It’s better to do it now than later when users will actively use your product.

Point 5: UI Design: Design Style and Elements

User interface (UI) design is all about building interfaces with an emphasis on aesthetics and interaction. The objective of the UI designer is to build an interface that is both easy to use and pleasant to the eye.

The aesthetic decisions a designer takes while creating a product, such as an image, button, menu bar, or footer, are referred to as UI design. All of these factors will have an impact on the user’s engagement. Thus, they should be considered carefully.

Point 6: Start Food Delivery App Development Life Cycle

Now you need to translate the design into a working product. We divided the entire food delivery app development life cycle process into several steps. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Point 7.1: Product Technical Documentation

During this stage, all the relevant information from the client is collected to develop a product as per expectations and requirements. The team should write technical documentation and choose technical stacks.

At this stage, the team should also define the requirements for functionality (requirements for the admin panel) and user roles (admin and super admin). The team should complete the estimate and scope of work.

Point 7.2: Food Delivery App Development

Mobile app developers use the documentation and architecture from previous steps to writing code for all the application components.  

Point 7.3: QA

QA engineers test all delivered code and carry out manual testing for developed components.

Point 7.4: Deployment & Integration

After the development and regression testing from the QA team, the team switched to production deployment and integration. The tested version of the product is delivered to the users for beta testing. The team collects user feedback, fixes all the bugs, and implements some improvements.  

Point 7.5: Maintenance

After deploying a product in the production environment, maintenance of the product, i.e., if any issue comes up and needs to be fixed, or any improvements are to be done, it is taken care of by the development team.

Point 8: Get and Analyze user feedback

Next, collect user feedback about your food delivery application. Take a survey to get answers to the following questions:

  • Is it convenient to use your food delivery app?
  • Do users encounter any problems while using the product?
  • To what extent does the food delivery app cover the needs of users?
  • What would users like to improve in the product?
  • How does the product meet user expectations?

By getting answers to these questions, you will know what you need to change, remove or add to the product.

Point 9: Improve and Scale

The food delivery app development does not end there. After analyzing the opinion of users about your product, you should continue to improve and develop it. The main thing to remember – progress is the key to success!

How to Hire a Food Delivery App Development Team?

Many companies often wonder how to hire a good team for their project. We have prepared a mini-guide to help you find the perfect partner for food delivery app development. Let’s look at each step individually:

Step 1. Write your goals, budget and requirements

Before you start looking for a team for your project, define your goals, budget, and requirements (for both the team and the product). You should clearly understand how much money you are willing to spend on food delivery app development and what your ultimate goal is.

 Also, you should determine the basic requirements for your future team (what experience it should have, what skills and knowledge it should have, etc.) Additionally, you should determine the requirements for your future product. If you want to learn how to write a requirement document, read our article How To Write The Design Specification? [Quick Guide].

Step 2. Choose a Model of Cooperation

When choosing a cooperation model with a team, you should pay attention to what opportunities this or that type of contract opens up. Today, the most popular payment models are Time & Materials and Fixed Price contract.

Key features of working with Fixed Price:

  • fixed budget;
  • fixed amount of work;
  • fixed time frames;
  • inability to make changes or additions after signing the contract;
  • higher development rates;
  • possible compromises regarding the quality of the product.

Benefits of the Time&Materials model:

  • it is a flexible payment model that is perfectly compatible with Agile principles;
  • the ability to quickly start development unlike Fixed Price, collaborating on T&M, you can start working literally right away;
  • transparent hourly rates of developers allow the customer to control tasks, deadlines and budget;
  • the ability to see the result of work at each stage;
  • you get a solution that meets your expectations.

If you cannot decide which model is best for your project, read our article Fixed Cost vs. Time and Materials. What is the Difference?

Step 3. Find and interview potential teams

Next, you should start looking for a team for your project. You can find a good team on social networks such as Linkedin, rating sites, freelance websites, or ask your friends.

Once you’ve selected a few potential candidates, you can begin conducting interviews. However, before conducting the interview, prepare a list of questions. We have prepared a list of questions that you can include in the interview:

  • What’s your experience? How many years have you been working in the industry?
  • What projects have you worked on? What areas were these projects from?
  • What problems did you face in product development, and how did you solve them?
  • What were the results of the projects you worked on?
  • Have you had failed projects? What were the reasons for the failure?
  • What is your most successful project, in your opinion?
  • Is communication in the team well established?
  • How quickly do you solve problems that arise during product development?
  • What tech stacks do you use the most at work?
  • Do you follow the trends and best practices during product development?
  • How are you different from other teams?
  • What is the key to your team’s success?

Step 4. Start your Food Delivery App Development Team

After choosing the team that suits you best, you can start cooperation. Do not forget to conclude a contract so that everything is at the official level. Agree with the team about regular meetings and workshops. Discuss the work plan and responsibilities of each employee.

If you want to learn more about dedicated teams, read our article How to Hire a Dedicated Software Development Team?

Step 5. Set KPI

One of the important steps is to establish KPIs. Key Performance Indicators allow you to determine how well, quickly and efficiently an employee is performing. The achievement of the company’s goals set for the team depends on these indicators.

It is essential to choose and calculate correctly which KPIs will adequately assess the effectiveness of a particular member of a dedicated team. 

The advantages of the capabilities of the KPI tool for members of a dedicated software development team are obvious – you do not need to monitor how the managers work hourly. It is enough to perform the KPI calculation at the beginning of the month and at the end – to control the KPI.

Food Delivery App Development Cost

The food delivery app development cost may be estimated based on the scope of work, the development approach, the technology stack, and the team size chosen. The following are the average hourly rate for employing different specialists in various parts of the world:

Cost by country

Rough project costs

Rough project costs

Cost by different types of application

Let’s now look at food delivery app development costs for different types of food delivery applications:


Food delivery app development cost for aggregators starts at $30,000 for an app with a basic set of features for a single operating system (iOS or Android) and can reach $100,000 or even more when you add additional features and platforms.


Food delivery logistics-focused app development cost starts at $50,000 for an app with a basic set of features for a single operating system (iOS or Android) and can reach $300,000 or even more when you add additional features and platforms.


Food delivery full-cycle app development cost starts at $80,000 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.

Food Delivery App Development: Summary

Food delivery app development is a rather complex process. To create a really useful product, you need to stick to the plan and the tips we gave in this article.

We hope our article will help you go through all the food delivery app development stages without any difficulties. The main thing to remember is that the key to success is good planning, an expert team and detailed research.

If you still have questions or want to discuss your project, don’t hesitate to contact us! The Northell team is ready to build a top product together with you.

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