On-demand delivery services are booming today. Big names like UberEats, DoorDash, JustEat, and Glovo stand as key players in this industry. 

According to Statista, the USA's on-demand market is forecasted to hit $109 billion by 2027. Yet, crafting an on-demand app demands time and capital. 

The average cost for on-demand mobile delivery app development can range between $60,000 to $200,000 and take from 4 to 9 months. Such services may include a customer app, courier app, business app, and admin panel, each with its unique development challenges.

Let's start with exploring the different types of on-demand delivery apps and platforms.

Types of On-Demand Delivery Apps

An image describing 4 types of on-demand delivery apps with examples for each one.

In this article, we will focus on food delivery apps. We'll explore a variety of aspects, starting from idea validation to developing essential features and implementing monetization strategies.

What is a Food Delivery Service and how does it work?

Food delivery services act as intermediaries connecting customers with restaurants. 
Imagine you're craving something delicious, let’s say ordering some Asian cuisine, like a bowl of your favorite ramen. Here's an outline of how the process unfolds.

A userflow describing food ordering in the food delivery application.

Lots of famous restaurants and big food chains have their own delivery apps, but they only work for their own places. It's okay if you know exactly what you want from where, but honestly, having lots of restaurant options is way more fun, don't you agree? 

When creating an on-demand delivery app, the first thing to decide is the type of service that matches your business. There are mainly two types to outline: marketplace and complementary platforms with their own delivery.

Complementary app

This model refers to restaurant chains that own on-demand apps, offering their menu items. 

  • Restaurants handle delivery, with minimum or no commission. They often employ full-time couriers. 
  • This option is great for renowned chains, keeping customers engaged and avoiding third-party commissions.

Marketplace-type app

These are on-demand apps linking users to restaurants. You browse menus, order, and pay in-app. 

  • The common earning method is a set fee per order.
  • For restaurants, these apps ensure a steady flow of orders and customer support making the commission worthwhile.

There is no real distinction between grocery delivery and eatery delivery applications in terms of features. The concepts described below apply to any delivery software.

Roles and Features of On-Demand Delivery App

Creating a food delivery app is just the beginning, you need a comprehensive system to ensure everyone benefits.

Usually, there is an existing software layer on the side of the restaurant — order or inventory management systems. Integrating with those is a must for a delivery application and can be tricky since there are no two exactly the same businesses. At the same time, if you are planning to build a platform, you should provide your clients with the ability to stream data from your system to track their customers, orders, and revenue. 

A typical on-demand food delivery setup involves:

Each solution comes with a range of features. To give you an idea, we've compiled the essential features below.

Customer App

Registration and Login: Implement social signup using Facebook, Google or Apple SDKs.

Catalog: Item categories, filters, ratings, search — everything that makes browsing products easier.

Payment Options: credit/debit cards, ApplePay, GooglePay, cash or your local payment provider.

Delivery Location: Enable map-based pin placement or manual address input.

Real-time order and courier tracking: Check order status and track couriers’ routes. 

Chat with Couriers: Facilitate chat with drivers or support.

Push Notifications: Keep users updated, offer promo codes and deliver chat messages.

Order History: Provide a record of previous orders.

Ratings and reviews: feedback from users to enhance service quality.

Courier App

Registration and Login: Use mobile phone login for two-factor authorization — this way your delivery will be secure.

Navigation: Provide couriers with efficient maps for optimal routes. 

Order Details: Display order information for couriers, including pick-up and delivery details, building routes, and managing delivery time.

Order history: Show completed orders and payments.

Business App

Registration and Login: Ensure security with individual accounts for each employee. 

Menu Management: Through the business app, staff can effortlessly edit the menu.

Order Management: Enable employees to accept orders and manage their statuses.

Admin App

Screenshot from the custom digital menu app.

Monitoring and regular backups: Ensure that the software is stable and business-sensitive data is backed up.

Business and user Management: Review, edit, restrain, or delete certain users or clients through the admin panel.

Analytics: Track vital KPIs – orders, delivery time, revenue, etc.

Payment Management: Efficiently charge fees from users and restaurants; adjust financial inputs if needed.

Monetization models for Food Delivery App:

To develop your on-demand delivery app, you must carefully consider your monetization strategy. In the food delivery world, there are several effective methods to generate revenue.

Restaurant Charges:

This common approach involves restaurants paying a fixed amount to be featured on your platform. Alternatively, you can charge a fee for each order placed. For instance, Glovo takes a 22-30% commission from each participating business.


Enhance visibility for restaurants by offering paid placements in search results. This way, ads seamlessly blend in and stand out.

Delivery Charges:

Under this model, customers pay for the food delivery service. It's essential to calculate the fee carefully to cover expenses and generate a profit.

Examples of popular apps’ delivery fees:

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Developing an On-Demand Food Delivery App: 8-Step Checklist

Now you’re familiar with the types of food delivery app types, involved roles, and its core functionality.

When working on your app's features, begin by outlining your business model, identifying your target audience, and understanding their requirements. To guide you, we've prepared a set of stages to go through. Don’t be shy to ask the development team for their application development workflow — it’s impossible to deliver quality software without enough planning.

1 Idea Validation

  • Identify the specific niche or service you want to focus on (food delivery, grocery delivery inclusion).
  • Define your target audience and understand their needs.
  • Will you hire couriers, utilize external delivery services, or rely on the restaurant's drivers?

2 Business Model and Strategy

  • Determine your revenue model (commission, delivery fees, etc.).
  • Outline how you'll partner with restaurants or service providers.
  • Define your value proposition and unique selling points.

3 Feature Planning

  • List essential features for customers, restaurants/providers, and delivery personnel.
  • Prioritize features based on their importance and potential impact on user experience.

4 App Design and Development

  • Design intuitive delivery app user experience and interfaces for all user roles (customer, restaurant, courier). 
  • Plan and implement software integration with the existing restaurant or grocery processes using CMS or other custom solution.
  • Develop the app using suitable technologies and platforms (iOS, Android, web).
  • Implement real-time tracking and payment integration features.

5 Testing

  • Conduct rigorous testing to ensure app functionality, security, and usability.
  • Test different scenarios, payment gateways, and devices to identify and fix any issues.

6 Deployment

  • Launch your app on app stores (App Store, Google Play) and make it accessible to users.
  • Ensure the app meets all store guidelines and requirements.

7 Marketing and Launch

  • Develop a marketing strategy to create buzz around your app.
  • Utilize social media, influencer partnerships, and promotional offers to attract users.

8 Continuous Improvement

  • Gather user feedback and reviews to identify areas for improvement.
  • Regularly update your app with new features, enhancements, and bug fixes.
  • Monitor analytics and KPIs to track user engagement, retention, and revenue.

By following these steps and teaming up with a reliable tech partner, you're on track to create a complete On-Demand Food Delivery Service. Check our case study showcasing how we built a same-day delivery service for a dark store chain.

Keep in mind, many services opt for separate apps on iOS and Android for customers, restaurants, and couriers. But with Flutter, we use shared code to create apps for both platforms, saving costs on all 3 apps. You're welcome to use our feature list and tips or inquire about project specifics.

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