How Much Does It Cost to Build a Food-Delivery App like UberEats or GrubHub?

By Tracy Shelton

Ordering food online has become so common these days and restaurants are now happily delivering food to the customers right at their doorsteps. The demand for food home delivery has increased sharply over the past two years, in particular, post the outbreak of the pandemic.

You can build a food delivery app or website for showcasing only a single restaurant’s offerings or a chain of restaurants catering to a single brand/establishment. You can also build an app that works as an aggregator and caters to many restaurants.

Food delivery apps are gaining immense popularity these days because they offer the comfort of ordering food of your choice from home and you get the finest food cooked by the expert chefs around. Also, the online food delivery system provides customers with an opportunity to order and taste foods they have never relished before.

Hence, by deciding to builda food delivery app like UberEats or GrubHub, you will ensure success among countless mobile app users across space and time. If you think that the market is already saturated with so many food delivery apps like Grubhub and UberEats, then you need to think again. Despite the fact that so many apps are available today for ordering food online, there is still a huge untapped market that you can target through your app.

As mobile apps are being used so commonly these days for various purposes such as ordering grocery, cooked food, etc., the market has enough scope for accommodating more food delivery apps. By allowing food lovers to order cuisines of a wide variety and flavors on a tap, these on-demand food delivery mobile apps gain instant popularity among mobile app users, no matter what demography they belong to.

If you are also interested in taking your restaurant online with the help of a food delivery app, you will need the help of a food ordering app development company to give real shape to your app idea. If you are not sure whether you should hire a food app developer or not, it is important to understand the cost you will have to incur to have one such app.

How much does it cost to build a food delivery app like UberEatsand Grubhub?

Before we talk about the cost, it is good that we dig a bit deeper in to the potential of a food delivery app market you are planning to enter.

Market share of food delivery apps

Users download food delivery apps mainly because of the comfort of ordering their favorite food and having it delivered at their doorsteps. Another highly compelling reason is the fact that through these apps users can try and taste different cuisines. The popularity of these apps is resulting in rapid growth of food delivery app industry. This clearly indicates the fast shrinking gap between online and offline. In fact, if the growth continues in the same fashion, it is no wonder if the online demand will excel the offline demand soon.

If the online reports are to be believed, then the market should cross $10,198 million mark by the end of this year and should reach around $15 million by the 2024. The concept of dining out has changed to dining in, especially after the pandemic COVID-19broke outlast year.

How do the apps like UberEATSand GrubhubWorks?

Uber entered the on-demand food delivery market in August 2014 with UberFRESH in California’s Santa Monica. But, it was then renamed in 2015 to UberEats. Since then, the app’s popularity is growing at an amazing pace. Now the app is available in over 200 cities across 20 countries.

UberEats’ business model is dual – one for aggregator and the other for delivery agents. In other words, it enables restaurant owner to showcase their food items’ lists through one online on-demand food delivery app. Furthermore, the app provides food delivery services for these restaurantswith the help of its own logistics network.

One of the top-rated on-demand food delivery app, UberEATSextends many useful features to users including personalized restaurant recommendations, tailored delivery details, easy tracking of orders, and intelligent search filters.

Other than that, UberEats has four key components that help it outdo its competition. These include:

Real-time placing of orders for customers: UberEats lets customers choose from various flexible menus of restaurants, locations, and timelines. The app works just like other on-demand food delivery apps. UberEats, however, has so many Uber riders in different areas who are already convinced by the quality services the company offers. This turns out to be an advantage for UberEats.

Ability to place custom orders for customers: This feature allows customers to choose food items, delivery location, and time as they wish. In other words, the customer has the liberty to choose everything about the order delivery.

Uber riders – delivery partners: This is what makes UberEats unique. They don’t need to hire delivery guys for UberEats separately. Rather, the products are delivered by Uber Riders who are already signed up or registered as a part of Uber network. The orders are assigned to the Uber drivers and partners based on the customer, restaurant, and drivers’ current location.

Restaurant partners: As the demand for on-demand food delivery continues to increase, restaurants have to partner with all available on-demand food delivery apps that deliver fast delivery and convenience. Hence, UberEats has become an ideal choice for them.

How does Grubhub work?

Founded in 2004by Michael Evans &Matt Maloney and headquartered in Chicago, Grubhubserves in 900+ locations in the United States. In just ten years of business, the startup Grubhub attained the status of IPO on April 7, 2014.

Grubhub website and app have made lots of restaurants easily accessible on just a click or tap for users. The company primarily targets “tired people” who just don’t want to cook and want delicious food on their table without working hard. This food delivery service is a boon for bachelors and those who like to host parties. If the idea sounds great to you, then probably you should start discussing about it with a restaurant app builder to create an app for your restaurant or food delivery business.

Let’s quickly understand how does it work. Grubhub works by connecting diners with restaurants available around them. Customers can place orders for their chosen food and have it delivered right at their home or office or elsewhere they want. Grubhub offers its services through a mobile application as well as a website. Let us understand the different components of this business.

Consumers: The customers can browse through the list of various restaurants available at Grubhub. They can place their order and the food delivery service will ensure that their food is delivered right at the doorsteps of the customers. The portal lets them pay in cash or online. This provides the customers with ample flexibility and ease of ordering food online.

Restaurants: Once the order has been placed, the restaurant gets instant notification about it. The restaurants can confirm the order depending on the availability of the food ordered. Once the order has been confirmed by the restaurant, they can prepare it for delivery through courier.

Couriers: Once the order has been confirmed by the restaurant, the courier that is stationed in closest proximity to the location receives a notification. The courier has to accept the request for delivery and, therefore, headdirectly to the restaurant. The order can be ready for collection or being prepared and packed.

On completion of this cycle, the food is delivered at the address of the customer.

How does Grubhubwebsite/app work for consumers?

In this section, we’ll see how the website/app work for the customers via a step by step model. Thecustomers arethe main users of the on-demand food delivery service. In fact, they are the foundation of this business. Ensuring a great user experience to users is vital for any business willing to thrive in the industry.

Let us take a look at the steps to better understand how Grubhub works for customers. The steps include:

  1. Browse: A lot of restaurants are available on the portal and the consumers can browse through the list of restaurants and menus bearing in mind the cuisine they want to enjoy on a particular day. Once they have decided what they want to order, they can check what all restaurants are providing it and decide what food they wish to order.
  2. Placing the order: Once the customer has chosen the food to order, the user can place the order. All he has to do is select and add the chosen food items to cart. The user must also add a delivery address so that the order can be delivered wherever required.
  3. Payment options: After receiving user’s confirmation, the app directs him to checkout page where he has to pay for the order. The options one can choose for payment include through credit/debit cards, PayPal, or Cash on Delivery.
  4. Wait: Finally, the customer’s order is with the courier and out for delivery. So, all he needs to do iswait for the meal to reach him.

How does the food delivery service work for the restaurants?

Restaurants have a very important role to play in the entire on-demand food order cycle. The restaurants list and prepare foods. Here is how Grubhub works for partner restaurants.

  1. Order received: Immediately upon receiving the food order on its dashboard, the restaurant checks for the availability of food ordered by the customer.
  2. Order confirmed: Once the restaurant has confirmed the order on its dashboard, customer will be updated about it and a notification is sent to the nearest courier for collecting the order.
  3. Prepare the food & pack: Once the order is confirmed, the next step the restaurant has to follow is prepare the food and pack it. The meal should be cooked and packed before the courier arrives. And, this part of the job is really very important.
  4. Have the order delivered: The courier will collect the food parcel from the restaurant. The restaurant must ensure to pack the food perfectly for parceling. It should be convenient for transporting and shouldn’t spill or create a mess.

Now it is over to the courier to complete the order.

How does this service work for couriers?

Delivery is a vital part of a food delivery service.Grubhub’s huge couriers’ network is responsible for picking up the orders from the restaurants and ensure to deliver the parcels to the customers.

This is how Grubhub works for couriers …

  1. There is an order: The restaurant confirms the order and the courier stationed nearby is notified about it. The courier accepts the order if it can reach to collect it in time.
  2. Pick the parcel up: Once the delivery request has been accepted, the courier must reach restaurant at the earliest. Once the courier collects the order and updates it in courier app. This helps users in tracking their order – whether it has been dispatched or not, on the way, etc.
  3. Delivery & tips: The courier delivers the parcel to the address mentioned on the app. The courier must contact the customer if there is any delay in delivery or any other issue. After food delivery, the courier can collect the tip and update the order status as “delivered”.

How do theUberEatsand Grubhub food delivery servicesearn money?

Almost all food delivery apps generate their revenue by charging commission from restaurants and delivery fees from customers. However, UberEats earns from the ads. This app advertises its restaurant partners as most searched/top searchers.

This is how their revenue generation model works:

  • Commission received from restaurants
  • Delivery charges from customers
  • Advertisement fees from partner restaurants

How does the entire system of online food delivery work?

As an individual or an enterprise connected to the on-demand food delivery system, one must work in perfect coordination with food services, restaurants, and bakeries as well (if possible). This will help them offer more options to their customers. It is good if you get some experience of working with a food services company, even if you have just started thinking of having a food delivery app.

You can take the help of a software builder to build a food delivery app. It is important that you connect multiple restaurants to your food delivery software solution. The app should allow the users to choose the restaurants that serve in their delivery location and choose & order foods they like.

Once the customer has chosen the payment option, the restaurant gets notified. After the completion of the food delivery service – from the restaurants to the couriers and eventually the customer. After food delivery, the app generates a delivery report and profit is distributed between the food service provider (restaurant) and the app owner.

There are many steps that must be considered when you make up your mind to build your on-demand food delivery app. Hiring a food ordering app development company can help you build your food delivery app but that doesn’t mean your success in this endeavor is guaranteed afterwards. You must be careful while allocating the task of app development to the food or grocery delivery app builder because unclear specifications and requirements may lead to app that doesn’t meet your expectations.

There are many sections that must be checked when your food delivery app is being built. The app needs to work in the following sections as part of the on-demand, multi-restaurant food ordering system. The checklist includes:

User panel: after downloading and installing the app, this is where the user registers and the section should ideally have these features: login, location, menu, homepage, and pickup & delivery location setting, payment options, cart selection, past orders, reviews, contact information, discounts, offers, delivery and order tracking, search, and refine search among a few others.

Restaurant panel: The app cannot work unless the foodservice or restaurant has registered on it. The foodservice or restaurant panel must provide the option for document submission that might be needed for app owner verification. Other than this, this panel should have many features namely dashboard, payment, accept or reject orders, restaurant account management, panel for delivery boy, etc.

Read the blog- Restaurant, fast food or cafe — mobile app is the perfect companion to your business

The delivery guy must download the food delivery app, register on the app, and other verifications done by the service provider and the restaurant. Furthermore, the panel of delivery boy should have these features i.e. login, order delivery, order request, chat and/or call, order history, COD, offline payment, wallet, push notifications, GPS tracking, payment withdrawal, online support, transaction history, and GPS navigation. Other than these, it may also have these features:

  • Real-time tracking of location
  • Push notification
  • Payment systems
  • Real time analytics
  • Customized searches
  • Sharing on social media

Are there any challenges too in the food delivery market?

Well, just like any other industry, on-demand food delivery market is also not untouched by the challenges. As we talk about the on-demand delivery apps, their market share, their huge potential, and features, etc., it is prudent to discuss the challenges also associated with this business. So, let us have a quick look at the challenges this business has:

- Tough competition is there from some biggies in the industry such as UberEats, Swiggy, Grubhub, etc.

- Finding partner restaurants to work with is another challenge for those who are just starting up because most restaurants and food services like to be connected with some renowned apps and popular brands. So, you need some really cool motivation to convince the foodservices and restaurants to partner with your app business.

- UI/UX should be stable across the app and different panels. No user will like the idea of varying user interfaces and user experiences just because you forgot to pay attention to a uniform UI/UX of your app. So. Make sure you app looks and feels great on all panels.

- Decide the features of MVP so you are able to test your app idea on the market before you invest in an app idea that doesn’t really have that kind of a potential as you expect.

- Hire an experienced food delivery and/or grocery delivery software solution for you, so you get an app that meets and exceeds your expectations.

How much does it cost to build a food delivery app like UberEats and Grubhub?

Having discussed all the important aspects of on-demand food delivery apps like UberEats and Grubhub, it is very important that we talk about the cost aspect as well. This is important as knowing the app cost or at least having a rough idea of the cost you will have to incur for building a food delivery app will help you decide better.

So, typically the cost of building a food delivery application is dependent on the features and functionalities that you want in your app. An average food delivery software or app may cost you somewhere around USD12,000-USD25,000 plus or minus. And, if you choose to build a feature rich app, then you should be ready to spend around USD40,000 on it.

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If you hire a freelance on-demand food delivery or grocery delivery app builder, the fee of a freelancer may fall somewhere around USD50-USD250 per hour depending on the expertise and experience of the developer. While this option may appear the cheapest in the beginning, you may soon realize that it is full of hassle and stress as you need to guide and manage the freelancers. And that turns out to be a headache for most businesses that are too busy to spend time on such aspects of a business.

The other option is to hire a fully-fledged food delivery app development and software development company that will charge you on a fixed cost or hourly basis. You just have to assign them the task, share your expectations & project requirements, and the rest will be taken care of by your app development company. They will do it all for you – right from UI/UX design, coding and development, testing and quality assurance, deployment, launch, maintenance, and support.

Read the blog- How to Build a Successful On-Demand Delivery App?


If we go by the trends in the last few years, they all indicate an impending boom in the on-demand food delivery across the globe. So, if you are planning to invest in this business, just consider the points discussed above, check your budget, and get started.

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