How to Build a Food Delivery App that Generated 90M Users

Maksym Yurko
MOBILE AND PRODUCT DESIGN LEADER
oleksandr-bespalov
Oleksandr Bespalov
SENIOR MOBILE DEVELOPER
Daria Iaskova
COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash, and JustEat—these brands’ success stories inspire anyone who has ever considered getting started with food delivery mobile app development. From startups to the world’s top online food delivery services with millions of users and billions of annual revenues—how did they get there and what can challenger businesses learn from their success?  

In this article, we analyze what’s inside the most popular food service apps and share our hands-on insights related to on-demand food delivery app development that generated 90M active users. So if you’re challenged with the question “how to make a delivery app that can conquer the competitive market ”, you’ll definitely find a bunch of useful practitioners’ thoughts on the topic below.

Is building a delivery app still a good idea?

A reasonable question indeed. Why would you invest thousands of dollars to get started with online food delivery when there are plenty of popular apps on the market?

All the services mentioned above literally make the backbone of the global food delivery market.

  • All together DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub take 85% of the US market share
  • Just Eat solely takes 45% of all food market deliveries in the UK

Other popular food delivery apps in Europe include Deliveroo, Glovo, Bolt Food, and foodpanda. And we are sure that as a consumer, you used at least one of them to get some food home or to the office. For you as an entrepreneur, however, is there still a sweet spot in food delivery application development?

The rise and current state of the food delivery market

With consumers becoming more demanding and sophisticated year over year, food delivery services are now taken by most of them for granted. But let’s look at bare figures. 

According to Statista, the global online food delivery market has been experiencing continuous growth since 2017 and boomed in 2020 due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Since then, the number of people ordering food online has been growing year over year and reached 2.5 billion by the end of 2022.

Along with that, it is projected that by 2027, food delivery will become even more popular, growing by a CAGR of 12.78% and finally reaching a $1.65 trillion market volume. 

These figures clearly show that demand for online food delivery will only continue to evolve, making users seek better service quality, bigger perspectives, and outstanding mobile solutions.

What makes a good food service app?

So, how to start a delivery service app and make it succeed? 

The answer is: you should look at your future software solution from both a user and a business perspective. Let’s figure out what that means in detail.
Below, we’ve collected some popular capabilities that are worth considering when building an online food ordering app. What do they mean for users and entrepreneurs?

User perspective
Business perspective
Real-time order tracking

A comprehensive view of the whole delivery process, from a facility receiving an order to a courier driving the nearby streets to get it delivered to the doorbell.

Building trust and loyalty with consumers by satisfying their major needs in a delivery process and taking care of their time.

Easy in-app navigation

Ordering food in a few clicks, without performing a chain of tedious actions.

More orders, more satisfied customers—increased revenue.

The diversity of payment options

Easily complete orders and choose the payment type that’s most convenient.

Reducing frustration, covering more age groups, and gaining a competitive advantage.

Easy in-app navigation

Ordering food in a few clicks, without performing a chain of tedious actions.

More orders, more satisfied customers—increased revenue.

Multi-vendor support

Connects users with multiple food facilities including restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, and groceries.

More partnerships, more revenues, and more responsibility leading to building a better brand image.

Expanded delivery reach

Provides a chance to benefit from online food delivery even in regions and places where aggregators (like DoorDash) are not available.

Catering to local demand, bridging market gaps, and gaining a strong competitive advantage.

Visually appealing app design

Creates a positive expression and builds a remarkable association with the brand.

Enhancing the brand’s reputation, making it recognizable, and leading to more orders and better revenues.

The points mentioned are just examples of delivery app characteristics that, connected to the given business context and today’s user needs, can create an opportunity for challenging the online food delivery market.

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The essential components of a food delivery app

Each food order app is typically focused on three user categories: a customer, a restaurant (or other food facility), and a courier. This means any functionality should derive from their needs and actions with the app.

Below, we list and explain the features for each user category.

Features for Customer

  • Registration for effortless sign-up and the creation of a personal account.
  • Account that allows customization of user profiles, including preferences, contact details, and delivery addresses, offering a tailored experience.
  • Order menu that displays restaurants or other facilities with available menu options, descriptions, photos, and prices.
  • Geolocation and order tracking provide real-time monitoring of the order's progress and delivery status.
  • Courier information allows users to access information about their assigned courier, including their name, photo, and contact details.
  • Contact courier options for direct communication with the courier, ensuring a seamless delivery experience.
  • Payment menu offers convenient management of payment methods, allowing users to choose a preferred one.
  • Checkout and shopping cart functionality permits a review of the cart's contents and straightforward order confirmation.
  • Order history serves as a comprehensive record of past orders, making it easy to reorder favorite meals.
  • In-app support provides quick assistance, answers to inquiries, and solutions to questions, all within the app.
  • Ratings and reviews allow users to share their valuable feedback on orders and access reviews from other customers to make informed decisions.

Features for Restaurant

  • Registration streamlines the process for restaurants and food facilities to join the platform.
  • Business account for easy management of a restaurant or food facility's profile, including key information and branding.
  • Order management allows facilities to effortlessly handle all incoming orders and track their statuses to ensure efficient operations.
  • Menu management allows restaurants to effortlessly oversee the menu, update offerings, and make changes.
  • Payment management makes it possible for restaurants to add and adjust payment methods, ensuring smooth and secure transactions for customers.
  • Courier tracking provides visibility into courier locations and the status of their deliveries and allows restaurants to better coordinate order preparation.
  • Contact courier functionality allows facilities to stay in direct communication with couriers, enabling coordination for smooth handoffs and efficient deliveries.
  • Insights and analytics provide a comprehensive view into business performance, customer preferences, and other key metrics that can inform decision-making.

Features for Courier 

  • Registration allows couriers to easily join the platform and get started on deliveries.
  • Account enables profile management and allows couriers to add and edit contact information and preferences.
  • Order details menu provides couriers with a comprehensive view of order details, including the items to be delivered, customer information, and special instructions.
  • Order tracking functionality keeps couriers informed about the delivery status, ensuring they can efficiently plan their routes and provide accurate delivery times.
  • Map ensures efficient navigation and route guidance, helping couriers reach their destinations swiftly and accurately.

The backbones of a successful food delivery and takeaway app

While appropriate functionality plays a pivotal role in food and restaurant app development, today’s competitive market requires businesses to think out of the box and go beyond conventional features and technologies.

At Trinetix, we help food delivery A-players and growing businesses create solutions that fully correspond to customer expectations and grow in line with the evolving market requirements. Years of practical experience and the lessons learned during our fruitful collaborations allowed us to define a set of best practices that make a foundation for success in this niche.

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Leveraging a strategic, value-centric approach to feature development

We’ve already mentioned the essential functionality your food app is likely to have, but here is another crucial thing to consider. No matter how sophisticated and modern the functionality of a delivery app will be, it should first of all deliver real value to the customers.

Successful food delivery companies make millions from discovering and satisfying their users' pain points. One of Grubhub’s founders Mike Evans invented America’s most popular food app when he as a consumer was browsing the Yellow Pages looking for a nearby restaurant that offers delivery options.

So, no matter if you develop a delivery marketplace or create your own food delivery app, you should make users paramount.

Here are some useful research and development practices that help us collect and validate ideas, build successful product strategies, and deliver solutions tailored to user needs and expectations.

  • User interviews and focus groups. These techniques help a product build empathy for end users by understanding who they are and what their lifestyles and experiences are.
  • User story workshops. By fostering the power of collaboration, this research activity helps to define target audiences and build a common understanding (of both the product team and stakeholders) of the future solution.
  • Usability testing allows the product team to validate the MVP as well as test any changes and features implemented as the product gets mature with end users to get their frank feedback and consider improvements before the solution goes live.

Building an adaptive and scalable product architecture

If we look under the hood of online delivery services, we’ll notice that most of them have separate apps designed for delivery clients and couriers (drivers). This allows every user category to get the most out of the service without being distracted by side features. On the other hand, two apps require twice as much effort from the development team.

In addition, any online food delivery service is a dynamic environment, with more restaurants joining and more menu options appearing for delivery. Along with that, as the service gets mature, customer expectations are growing, making users anticipate more delivery and payment options as well as feature updates. 

Altogether, these peculiarities drive the need for an autonomous and flexible architecture that would make a reliable foundation for your delivery app. What is it like?

  • Cost- and time-efficient, also admitting for automatic and autonomous system updates. This means any client-side changes (like updated components and new styles) automatically apply by the server part, requiring no additional effort from the development team.
  • Dependencies-free, meaning if any part is functioning improperly or plugs with bugs, those can easily be localized and fixed without affecting other system components. 
  • Reusable. This means major functionality can be grouped in modules and further re-applied, improved, or scaled during system updates without impacting the architecture and app performance in general.
Dealing with fast-growing products like food delivery apps, we at Trinetix, often turn to the concept of backend-driven UI development. Its principles allow for easy system scaling and maintainability by offloading UI-related tasks to the backend.

Developing a hands-on design system

Visual aspect is the cornerstone of product recognition and customer loyalty for every food delivery app development company. However, creating a unique brand style is not the only role of experience design in product development.

A responsible and future-forward approach to product development involves building a consistent design system that not only satisfies short-term UI/UX goals but overseas possible product evolution and enables efficient collaboration between the teams involved in the development process.

  • Unification of interface patterns and preserving style consistency allow product teams to create comprehensive user flows and guarantee seamless experiences. This leads to improved customer satisfaction and makes users think of repeating their interactions with the app again and again.
  • Development of reusable UI components helps a product team predict a number of possible user scenarios and allows for rapid product scaling while maintaining quality experiences users are familiar with. 
  • Careful organization of visual assets and design components as well as comprehensive documentation on their usage saves hours of designers' and engineers’ work and allows businesses to optimize costs and time spent on operational inefficiencies.
Want to keep user experiences simple
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More aspects of food app development to consider

Whenever you create a takeaway aggregator for restaurants or build an app for delivery for your own food, there are a few more factors that directly impact its success in the market.

Compliance with FDA rules and regulations 

Ensure that your food delivery app complies with FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations. These guidelines cover aspects of food handling, hygiene, and safety, all of which are vital for ensuring customer well-being and upholding the highest standards in food delivery. This will help you provide quality service and avoid reputational losses.

An effective marketing strategy

Rivaling the ongoing food delivery competition requires spending a considerable budget on marketing. A well-planned and efficient marketing approach and outstanding and targeted communication strategy will help you reach a wider audience, boost brand visibility, and drive customer engagement.

Open communication and continuous improvements

Take a moment to regularly collect user feedback and foster a culture of open communication and continuous improvement. Invest in developing in-app feedback forms and make sure your support team can address concerns promptly and efficiently. This approach will help enhance user satisfaction and loyalty, leading to long-term product success.

Why choose Trinetix for food delivery application development?

Guided by the principles described in this article, our teams have successfully developed and implemented game-changing digital strategies for both emerging businesses and key food delivery market players. Here are a few examples.

  • Joi Delivers, an online courier service from Texas aimed to create delivery app that would make a foundation for their business growth by providing seamless user experiences and developing useful functionality yet preserving fast time to market. Our team conducted market research and user studies to unleash the full potential of the service and come up with a well-structured plan that included both short- and long-term implementations and allowed the client to attract new customers and reduce the churn rate.
  • An America’s top-rated food delivery marketplace that values its excellent reputation and keeps product growth an ongoing priority was looking for top-tier tech talent to ramp up the in-house development and design teams. Considering our proven experience in mobile software development and successful digital partnerships with A-list enterprises, the company initiated a strategic alliance with Trinetix. For over 5 years of fruitful cooperation that continues until now, we've implemented dozens of transformative decisions that not only helped the client preserve the leading market position but also attracted 90 million active app users in 2022.

These success stories prove that regardless of the scale and maturity of your food delivery business and the aims you strive to achieve, a deep understanding of your users and a reliable technology advisor standing by your side will pay off.

If you are also wondering how to build a food delivery app that would succeed in the market, consider teaming up with Trinetix. Have a specific question in mind? Let’s chat about developing iconic digital products that win hearts and minds of millions.

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