Delivery & Shipping

Food Delivery App Development Cost: How to Estimate Your Future App?

May 26, 2023 • 192 Views • 19 min read

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Bohdan Vasylkiv

CEO & Co-Founder

Food delivery app development is a well-known trend in the field of the software development industry. Such types of apps existed long before the COVID Pandemic, for instance, the two most famous and successful food delivery apps Glovo and UberEats were founded in 2015 and 2014 accordingly. They are undoubtedly the most significant examples of food delivery applications. Even if they were not the first ones on the market, they are considered as most prosperous such cases.

When the Pandemic started, most people were forced to stay home, and their regular everyday routines like visiting cafes and restaurants were seemingly doomed, the trend for building delivery apps emerged. As a result, the number of such services, as well as the number of companies, that proposes such services increased. Moreover, food delivery applications started changing, proposing different services and covering completely new fields.

Surprisingly, the demand for food delivery app development stays at its level. Such software development services are popular even nowadays when the Pandemic is officially over and everyone can freely visit public places. For instance, USA TODAY claims, that the online food delivery market in the United States has all the chances to grow up to 24 billion dollars in 2023.

Therefore, to better understand such a trend and its potential benefits, let’s try to figure out what delivery app types exist today and how much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

Types of Food Delivery Applications

Clearly, such a massive industry has a division into different segments. It can be divided both by the type of proposed services and types of proposed products. For illustration, by-products, food delivery apps are divided into grocery delivery and ready-to-eat meal delivery. To show how scalable these subtypes are: according to Statista, the number of meal delivery app users is supposed to grow up to 2.45 billion people in 2027.

Yet, to tell the truth, food delivery app development costs, as well as the software or development methods are similar regardless of whether it is a groceries delivery or meal delivery service. So, instead, let’s better consider the application software service types in this market. Mainly, there are three types distinguished:

Business-to-Customer Food Delivery App

It is one of the easiest in terms of development. To make it simple, this business model is about the creation of an application, designed to represent various restaurants or other businesses and their goods to the users.

As a result, you will have an all-in-one application, which works as an intermediary between the cafe and its potential clients, gathering different businesses under one hood, and proposing users to choose from a variety of different shops. However, it is basically all the functionality of such a food delivery platform:

The user chooses the restaurant and wished meal - the platform sends this request to the business - the restaurant staff cooks the ordered meal and delivers it on its own.

Pros of such an approach for a business are that

  1. It is quite a cheap solution because all the third party does - advertises and promote the services of food delivery services, the rest, including the delivery is the direct responsibility of the business owner.
  2. The owner of food delivery services has all control of the production cycle, “from the fridge to the table”.
  3. There is no need to take part in app cost estimation or to build a delivery app.

Among the cons of using such a method, we can name

  1. The need to perform the delivery on your own, i.e. to have delivery services on-premises, which are built-in the business logic
  2. There are no guarantees, that the position of your food delivery business will be high enough and that the demand will cover the expenses of paying the fees for the third party.
  3. This type of food delivery application is not as popular, as the rest of the list.

Food Delivery Aggregators Application

This on-demand food delivery app development cost is the same as the foregoing. Most of the working principles are also the same. Still, the main difference is that such an app proposes food delivery as a service. So, in addition to proposing a platform for presenting and advertising your business services or nearby restaurants, this third party also covers the delivery from the shop or cafe to the user. Among the examples of such apps, there are previously mentioned Glovo and Uber Eats, GrubHub, Smiggle, etc.

The advantages of this type of application are almost the same, as in the foregoing case, yet they also allow your business to avoid having in-house delivery personnel. Additionally, it results in the increased popularity of these online food delivery apps due to the fact, that they have their own rules and standards related to delivery (guarantee a delivery app, give various bonuses, regulate delivery time charges delivery fees, proceed in-app payment gateways, supports extra integrations, etc).

Once again, most of the drawbacks are similar to the foregoing app type, yet the price for using such an application for business purposes is higher because the software vendor takes care of delivery, having its own delivery agents.

Personal Food Delivery Application

It is a beloved and very popular choice among various big restaurant chains or franchises like supermarkets, grocery stores, and various restaurants. In other words, bigger enterprises with a lot of stores, located near, are most likely to be the main customer for such restaurant app development services. For example, it includes Walmart, and probably the most well-known example of such a type of delivery app is Dominos.

The reason for such a limited list of potential customers is that such a food app cost is significantly bigger than the rest alternatives on the market. Obviously, having your own software application with only your products available requires not only an additional marketing campaign but a dedicated development team to build a delivery app and maintain it after the development cycle was completed.

Talking about its weaknesses, it is impossible to skip the “price” part, which includes numerous development-related costs, as well as paying for other key features like the delivery process or online payment methods. Additionally, it is much harder to make such apps more popular, compared to the alternatives. Finally, it takes extra time and resources, requiring an app cost estimation process, and developing it.

On the other hand, having a full-fledged grocery and food delivery app brings a number of advantages like increased awareness of your brand, a larger targeted audience, having extra ways of selling the goods.

How to Create a Food Delivery App?

Choosing the Type of an App

First thing first, you will have to decide which of the foregoing types of application is the most suited for you. Talking about them from the perspective of the software development team, the first two types are similar on the code level. The difference between them for a software vendor is the overall business logic:

  • Business-to-Customer method is a software-only solution, all you need to start such an application is to develop it and maintain it after publication.
  • Food Delivery Aggregators apps require also maintaining some extra business processes like logistics (delivery services).

In the case of building a full-fledged app for food delivery, designed for a specific customer, the software development approach differs. Yet, this difference mainly depends on the preferences of the client.

Tech Stack and the App Cost Estimation

After choosing the type of application, you have to proceed to food delivery app development cost estimation. At this stage, both sides will consider the tech stack to be used, as well as the number of features to embody.

Frankly speaking, it is hard to tell the exact food app cost, because it varied depending on numerous aspects. Clearly, the first two options are most likely to be cheaper to develop, while the personal food delivery app cost increases due to the specifics of development. According to app cost estimation and revenue prognoses, these types are also most likely to pay for themselves faster for both the developer and business, which uses these services.

Alternatively, the full-fledged personal food delivery mobile app cost estimation says, that it is much more expensive, but still has an important advantage for the delivery app development company - they are paid for developing one and are not responsible for further market metrics and the overall business success. Also, in such a scenario, the app cost estimation process itself is also a great challenge. For instance, if the average app like Uber Eats price can be calculated thanks to the common and standard built-in features and the known average scale of work, the creation of a customizable personal application has no strict limits or basic features. For instance, the answer to the question of how much it cost to develop a mobile app is between 100,000 and 500,000$ because there are no clear criteria to understand or calculate.

There are numerous technics, designed for adequate project estimation and further management. For instance, one of the simplest yet most effective such practices we can name is Iron Triangle balancing. However, it is more reasonable to combinate it with the rest estimation methods, which will help you to get even better results.

Delivery App Cost Estimation

At this point, it is time to talk more about the overall project estimation. As was mentioned before, it depends on multiple factors. One of the most essential among them is the number of features to implement. Obviously, if you are developing an individual software application like a mobile app for a specific restaurant, then the functionality, as well as the spent time and resources are also going to be highly individual, depending on the requirements of the client.

Still, it is possible to estimate at least the most basic list of features, which are a must-have for any food delivery application. Among such tasks, we can name

  • User profile feature, which allows you to write down all the needed information like an address for delivery, your name, preferred time of delivery to postpone the request for later, desired meals as an optional feature, and other needed fields, related to the personal user profile. -** A list of restaurants and cafes** or a search bar is also an obvious must-have part of any food delivery application, which basically allows users to choose among the accessible businesses and place orders. Besides, this section includes the menu of available goods or meals.
  • Payment methods are a 50/50 option. For instance, you may provide your users with the possibility to pay directly to Delivery Boy after receiving your package. Still, the experience shows, that the possibility to pay online is so well-spread, that it is possible to assume, it will become a must-have feature very soon.
  • Order tracking is another example of an extremely popular and known service, which allows users to better navigate and plan their time until the delivery arrives. Frankly, it is hard to imagine a modern app from the logistics or delivery industry, so we will consider it a must-have as well.
  • The rest key features include mainly various tools for management and administration. For example, it is important to give business owners the possibility to implement challenges within the menu by themselves. So, they can implement changes immediately, without the need to contact and ask your employees to do this on your side.
  • Finally, among important, yet optional features, worth integration, we can include ratings and feedback for the client, customer support services, loyalty programs, push notifications, and other components.

Having such a list of must-have features, which must be embodied, we can calculate the approximate minimum required time and resources for the development of a very basic food delivery application. According to our rough food delivery app development cost and time estimation, we can say that the most basic example of such type of application will take around 6-16 months and including that the average developer salary is around 40-80$/hour in Europe and 100-150$/hour in the US, such app you will cost approximately 40 000 - 250 000$, depending on other specifics and a more detailed explanation for each feature, as well as the overall professionalism of the whole team in general, and each its member in particular.

Therefore, you might consider outsourcing as a great solution to cut the expenses and still gain a great software product. Additionally, estimation is a very subjective and individual process, which is unique for each project. So, if you wonder how much it will cost to develop your app with Incora - contact us, and we will gladly consider your requirements and vision.

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Building a Delivery App

Eventually, after considering all the details and signing the agreement, the software development team can proceed with the application development. As a matter of fact, this stage is the same, regardless of the tech stack used and the type of app. To make it simple, you need to find a dedicated team of software engineers, who are familiar with the technologies you have chosen. For example, you want to hire Python developers for your food delivery app startup because you decided that it is an excellent programming language with numerous variations and allows you to achieve desired results. Therefore, after having such a development team on board, they will simply start the coding process, which is almost the same for any Python-based applications.

Frankly speaking, the best way to simplify the app cost estimation and development processes, is preferred to choose outsourcing services. As a result, you, as a business owner, will be able to save some time and resources by delegating all the aspects, related to the development to the experts from the field, having more time to spend on improving your own business.

For example, here, at Incora, we encourage our developers to improve not only their tech-related skills and knowledge but want them to become niche-experienced specialists from different industries. As a result, apart from proposing high-quality development services, our dedicated development specialists are able to upscale your products with the use of unique expertise, i.e. our clients get not only great developers on their projects but those, who can advise on the industry you are interested in. For more details, you are welcome to check our case studies.

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What factors influence the cost of food delivery app development?

Several factors can affect the cost of developing a food delivery app, including app complexity, platform selection (iOS, Android, or both), design requirements, features and functionalities, development time, integration with third-party services (such as payment gateways or mapping services), and the development team's hourly rates.

How can I estimate the cost of developing a food delivery app?

What are the typical features of a food delivery app?

Can I use an existing app template to reduce costs?

Are there any recurring costs associated with food delivery app development?

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