Steps to Building a Food Delivery App for a Coming Lockdown

Online food ordering and delivery skyrocketed in popularity in 2020 and there’s no sign of slowing down. With whole countries going into lockdowns and quarantines during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, families and single people don’t always have all the necessary ingredients to cook wholesome meals at home. Sometimes the lack of motivation also plays a role, since ordering food is one of few pleasures left under quarantine. Statistics says that more than 70% of Americans opt for online food delivery. And what’s great for your food delivery startup, apps are increasingly more popular among consumers than websites.

While there are several established leaders among food delivery apps, you still have time and space to carve your niche in the local market. The first step for you is to don your innovative cap and invent a novel take on a food delivery service. Got a great idea? Congratulations! Now it’s time to get practical and proceed with the food delivery app development.

The on-demand food delivery app development doesn’t have to be a major headache once you have planned everything. This article will help you draw a blueprint to building your new food delivery app. For starters, let’s learn what are the building blocks of your food ordering and delivery application.

What’s Inside the Food Delivery App?

Here’s what’s happening on the customer side. When a user opens a food ordering app on their mobile device, they browse the food choices on the go, pick the dishes, select the delivery option, and pay for the order online or opt to pay cash to the driver. While they wait, they can track the order in real-time and they may tip the driver after receiving their delicious meal quickly. After enjoying their order, customers can leave a review. In a few days, the restaurant may incentivize them to order again by sending them a discount coupon.

For the restaurant, things work a bit differently. After the restaurant receives the payment confirmation, the order is passed on to the kitchen. As soon as the kitchen staff fulfills and packs the order, the nearest available delivery man collects the order for delivery to the customer address. After the order has been delivered and handed to the customer, the driver marks delivery as completed on their mobile device. Optionally, the customer can leave a tip to the delivery person.

As simple as the system sounds, it must work like a clock to keep both customers and restaurant owners happy. Let’s take a look at which components are absolutely essentials and which features of a food delivery application can be added at a later stage, when the app becomes profitable and successful.

The List of Food Delivery App Features

Three essential parts form the food delivery application: the customer-facing, the restaurant-facing, and the delivery layers. The following ingredients go into the perfect food delivery app recipe:

Features for the Customer

  • Access management: To place an order, customers need to register and log in using the information such as their email address or a phone number.

  • Food Selection: Customers need to conveniently choose from a list of restaurants and their menus. Alternatively, they can browse by cuisine or dietary preferences (vegan, halal, etc.) More complex categorization can segment restaurants by distance, rating, or a price range.

  • Tracking: Real-time order tracking helps build trust and keep customers satisfied as they wait for their order.

  • Payments: Hungry customers want to pay as quickly as possible using not only credit cards but also Google Pay, Apple Pay, and cash to the driver. A more advanced feature that is often requested by users is the ability to add a tip to the driver - but no one likes to be automatically charged the tip!

  • Order Management: Repeated orders are common among restaurant visitors, so order history should be easily available.

  • Delivery Management: Customers may want to receive a delivery at a specific time. They also like the flexibility of picking up their order at a restaurant’s location.

  • Discounts: Offering daily specials and discounts on multiple orders promotes loyalty among customers.

  • Support: 24/7 support may not always be affordable but timely help is an investment that builds trust and brings repeated business.

The Restaurant-facing Part

This layer of the application should offer the essential functionality without excessive complications and numerous steps required to achieve the goal. Here are the essential functions a food delivery app should offer to the vendors:

  • Account Management: Businesses should be able to keep their details accurate without spending a lot of effort. The app should offer easy branding for the restaurant partners.

  • Order Management: Restaurants should have real-time visibility into order status, from the time it has been placed to the moment it was handed to the customer. Alerts and notifications help keep the workflow smooth and speedy.

  • Menu Management: Easily adding and editing dishes, photos, prices, and even calories is important both for the restaurant and the customer.

  • Payment Processing: Restaurants should instantly process all successful and pending payments, both online and cash. The app should offer at least basic reporting and record exporting functions.

  • Customer Communication: A great feature to add is a live chat with customers. But you should consider the expenses of keeping a team of customer support to respond to queries in real-time.

The Delivery Part

It should be kept as simple as possible to ensure that drivers of all ages and abilities would be able to use it without added complexity.

  • Driver Management: Delivery people should be able to add their vehicle information, payment details, scans of their IDs and driver licenses, and also to schedule their availability.

  • Order Tracking: The app should offer real-time status of the order and display the route by using GPS tracking.

  • Delivery Status: Drivers can select the latest delivery status such as “Waiting”, “On my way”, “Delivered”, “Paid in cash,” and more.

And a Bit More Features

Among the features you may consider adding in the future when the app takes off are logistics integration to make restaurant supply management easier, accepting orders from social platforms, and a review system integrated with social media and Google My Business.

Considering that these three essential parts of the app should be. Closely integrated, you may be wondering if it’s possible to build a fully functioning food delivery app in a short period of time. No worries here! The global lockdowns are not ending anytime soon, so you still have time to design and develop the food delivery app and catch up with the growing trend of catering to people stuck in COVID-19 related quarantine.

What Time It Takes to Build a Food Delivery App?

When you work with a trusted and experienced development company to build your food delivery app, the whole process should take up to 3 months, at the most conservative estimates. Of course, this depends on the complexity of the features you have requested, the number of amendments. Still, this is the realistic time frame of building a solid, reliable online food delivery application.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Food Delivery App?

To cover all the essentials and create a user-friendly interface, you should estimate the costs starting at $10,000 - $15,000 and start with a minimum viable product (MVP). If you add extra features to your wishlist, this amount can increase but not significantly.

Although the cost of building a food delivery app is higher than that of a website, this is a good investment. Studies show that more than 85% of customers prefer to order their meals online using mobile apps and not websites.


Technology is transforming the food industry, and food delivery is not an exception. As online food ordering is skyrocketing in popularity amidst global lockdowns, a demand for easy-to-use, quick and thoughtful delivery apps is only going to grow. It’s time for you too to disrupt the industry with a great food delivery app that makes eating at home effortless, easy, and convenient. And to start the process of getting your own prosperous food delivery business, make your first step – a free project estimate.