How to Build an On-Demand Delivery App

As the number of people ordering their food and groceries online rises, so is the demand for on-demand delivery apps.

An on-demand delivery platform allows you to order something online and get it delivered to a specific address at a prefixed time. Cool, right? So, when you want to order food online and get it delivered to you at lunchtime, you can use one of these on-demand food delivery apps.

Amid the coronavirus lockdown, when people are restricted to their homes and unable to go out to a restaurant to eat or a grocery store to shop for essentials, both the demand and need for online delivery apps has quadrupled.

This can be a wonderful opportunity for business persons and developers looking to grow their businesses while developing the things people actually want.

By developing & launching your own on-demand delivery app, you can enable restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers in your area to deliver their products directly to consumers using your service. On the other hand, if you have a similar food or grocery business, a dedicated delivery app will enable you to continue serving your customers even in these testing times.

Now, you must be wondering how to build your own on-demand delivery app.

Unless you’re a mobile app developer, you will have to seek the assistance of a professional shopping and Retailer app developer or agency for your delivery app. However, if you are a developer, this article takes you through a simple yet definite process to build a competitive delivery app.

Types of On-demand Delivery App

Depending on the purpose, a delivery app can be of different types, including food delivery app, grocery delivery, etc. A single app can also be made to work for different purposes. For example, some food delivery apps also deliver groceries and other items.

Based on the target audience, a delivery app can be of the following types:

  • Restaurant/store app
  • Driver/ delivery person app
  • Customer app

Almost all on-demand delivery apps will have these three components. In this article, we will learn about the various features & functionality to have in a customer app and how to develop them.

Let’s get started.

On-demand Delivery App – Features Development

The customer app of your on-demand delivery service will have a range of features, as you can find in any of the food delivery apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc. The most basic features are as follows:


Menus are an important part of any food/grocery delivery app. The developer/owner will be required to collect the data from individual restaurants and/or grocery stores and prepare the menus to add to the app. In addition, other details such as opening hours, address, etc. must also be included. Unless you want to create everything from scratch, it’s both convenient & affordable to look for existing solutions (code, etc.) from open-source apps.

The Search option

Search is an important feature to add to your delivery app. It will enable customers to search for a particular restaurant, dish, and/or keywords. This feature can also be used as it is from a third-party API.

For example, you can use the GrubHub API to collect menu information of over 10,000 restaurants. The restaurants can use the API to update their information as well as to receive order details and payment confirmation from the delivery partner.

Similarly, the Zomato API has a database of over 1.5 million restaurants from all over the world, which you can directly integrate into your app, allowing customers to search by restaurant name, dish, location, etc.

To be able to use these APIs, you may need the permission of the respective team/owner.

Partnering with Restaurants

It’s always wise to form a direct partnership with a restaurant that you’re planning to add to your delivery app. This helps remove any confusion and arguments later.

If a restaurant is getting listed on your app with their consent, they will be eager to keep up with the service, providing timely and correct deliveries, and keeping the menus up-to-date.

To encourage a restaurant to partner with your delivery service, you can mention the benefits it will give to their business, such as more exposure, quicker service, more orders, increased reputation, etc.

Delivery Features

Since you are building an on-demand delivery app, the main focus should be on creating high-quality delivery features, such as:

Estimated Time

When developing a food delivery app, you should also consider adding an option to show the estimated delivery time to your customers.

Almost all the major delivery apps show an estimated delivery time when placing an order with them. It helps to let the customers know that you value their time and will do your best to provide prompt delivery.

This is made possible through the use of machine learning. In order to calculate the estimated or near-exact delivery time for a particular order, the algorithm uses factors such as delivery distance, order time, volume, driver/rider availability, etc.

The best and easiest approach is to learn from an existing model for delivery time prediction. For example, the Uber Eats Delivery Time Prediction model is a nice place to start. Or you can read the Postmates’ case study on the Estimated Delivery Time feature.


A lot of users prefer to make online payments when ordering food or groceries online, which is why it’s important to offer at least the basic online payment options, in addition to Cash on Delivery, with your food delivery app.

To allow payments by credit and debit cards, you can use any of the standard online/in-app payment gateway services. Moreover, you can add the option to pay via PayPal, Digital Wallets, and other advanced mechanisms.

Order Tracking

The ability to let a user track his/her order is another important feature to include in your food delivery app.

For this, you will have to add the GPS tracking feature in your app that can detect a user’s location, precisely the location of a delivery person. For Android devices, Google’s Geolocation API can be used to locate a user’s position/device. Then, you can use the Google Directions API to enable navigation in your app.

Some other advanced features you may consider to include in your on-demand food/grocery delivery app are the option to chat with or call the delivery person, chat support, phone support, rating & reviews, driver tips, delivery instructions, subscriptions, among others.

An on-demand delivery app should be built after a thorough analysis of the target market & audiences and should include all the features that your target customers may need for a seamless delivery experience.

Not sure how to do that? Find and hire an expert mobile app developer or agency, preferably someone with previous experience in on-demand delivery app development.

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