How to build a food delivery on-demand app like Postmates and Zomato

Most Britons order takeout on a regular basis: for them, this custom is no less natural than a trip to the supermarket. They want to have food delivered straight home - containers with warm and tasty dishes. As analysts predict, such a trend will grow, and not only in England but throughout the world. No wonder on-demand app development has spurted into popularity.

Farsighted brands have long been enjoying such a unique chance to earn. Shining examples are Postmates and Zomato, well-known mobile services aimed at finding restaurants and delivering food. And if their resounding success causes your envy, it's time you got your slice of the "cake". All you have to do is figure out how to make an app like Postmates or Zomato. And we'd be delighted to come to the aid.

On-Demand Services

Postmates is one of the typical on-demand delivery marketplaces, it’s a connecting link between the client and the courier. And before we’ll explain to you how to create a food delivery app, let's consider why the on-demand economy is so sought-after. There are several reasons, in effect.

create on demand app

We are used to feeling more comfortable thanks to our smartphones. Yes, mobile devices have plenty of possibilities to make the user's life easier and more enjoyable: for example, they can easily recognize the user’s location which opens up the vast potential of promising prospects. But these prospects remained unfulfilled until algorithms of route planning and optimization have been successfully developed. Fortunately, the world has been progressing, and innovative IT technologies have brought on-demand service apps from fantasy to reality. So, you shouldn't be surprised by the popularity of on-demand delivery app development.

Benefits of the on-demand delivery marketplaces:

  • the opportunity to get what you want when and wherever you want;
  • the growth of profit along with the increase in the number of clients (great news if you are a supplier);
  • the chance to get maximum data about the company without unnecessary hassle;
  • network effect: users willingly disseminate information about you, and popularize your on-demand service apps without your intervention.

Here are the businesses which should make you consider how to make an on-demand app:

  • transportation of any type;
  • delivery (for example, dishes from restaurants);
  • cleaning service;
  • medicine, healthcare, pharmaceuticals;
  • laundry;
  • goods delivery;
  • clothing studios;
  • dry cleaning;
  • catering;
  • hairdressers and beauty salons.

The number and variety of services to build an on-demand app are amazing. That’s why Postmates and Zomato decided to create on-demand apps. The idea has worked and proved to be an advantageous investment.

Postmates & Zomato Examples

It’s reasonable to assume that your competitors have successfully clinched the matter regarding the question of how to create an online food ordering system. Of course, they won’t be so kind as to share their experiences and secrets with you, and we’ll have to manage without extra help. However, we can fully analyze their business models. Let’s do it.

Postmates works on the principle of on-demand delivery marketplaces and uses the services of independent couriers. These couriers can track orders through the application and choose those that are located nearby. Postmates doesn't have its own courier staff.

how to create a food delivery app

Zomato is slightly different from Postmates, it offers users a variety of places to dine so that people can opt for the best one. Although residents of India (and several other countries) can order takeout from restaurants. Perhaps in the future, the service will expand its coverage.

how to create an online food ordering system

Impressive examples, aren't they? They must have made you wonder how to make an on-demand app. Well, let's figure it out, step by step.

On-demand Service App Business Model

If you are determined to create an app like Postmates, you have to understand which format of the business model most suits your goals and possibilities. That’s the first thing to do.

how to make an on demand app

And remember, not every restaurant will agree to use your on-demand service app - many of them prefer to deal with takeout orders with no one's interference. So you need to build an on-demand app with very beneficial features able to fascinate the owners of the restaurant business.

How to Create a Food Delivery App With the Best Functionality

Any on-demand delivery app development begins with thinking about the best features which would meet all the requirements of the average customer.

on demand app development

Postmates has 2 app versions:

  • for clients who want to order takeout
  • for couriers to process the placed orders (named a Fleet app).

create an app like postmate

To create an app like Postmates, you must adopt the practice of this brand. Among other things, let’s say that Postmates didn't limit itself to the above version. The company realized that it's also necessary to build an on-demand app for couriers to facilitate their work process.

how to make an app like postmate

So, now, are these two versions of the program sufficient to create an on-demand app? Not really! After all, restaurants should also be taken into account in the on-demand app development process. The staff of public catering establishments must be able to process the users' orders and interact with the courier service. We propose to make a user-friendly admin panel with an intuitive interface.

On-demand App Development Stages

How to create an online food ordering system? There are a few quite simple steps:

on demand service app

For now, these are just names that won't help you get on-demand delivery marketplaces of any type. Let's decipher these steps so that you'll know what it takes to create an app like Postmates.

1. Collection of requirements

Any on-demand service app starts with the idea - with an understanding of what you want to create. The more clearly you formulate your requirements, the easier it'll be to build an on-demand app.

The task seems too complicated? Well, the problem has a solution: experienced consultants who know how to create a food delivery app will give you qualified advice.

The formulated list of requirements should logically lead to making a preliminary specification.

2. Prototyping

Prototyping involves building user flow logic and creating application screens. These screens usually include finding places to dine, restaurant menus, and managing orders (payment, tracking, etc.).

Build an On-Demand App

3. UI/UX Design

To create an on-demand app, which will draw the user's attention, you have to take care of its UI/UX design. Firstly, look at what Postmates has come up with, let it serve as an example of a creative approach!

Postmates lures consumers with vivid images of the best restaurants that appear on the 1st screen of the application. A user opens the app and sees the famous names, wonderful places to have a bite... which makes him want more and leads to his ordering a meal.

Maybe, such a technique would inspire you to think of something no less interesting to impress users of your on-demand service app.

On-Demand Delivery App Development

4. On-demand delivery app development

To build an on-demand app, you need to pay attention to several stages. But let's be more specific!

Server and API

Of course, mobile on-demand delivery marketplaces require a backend development. We won’t go into details (the subject is too complicated), let’s just say, it’s about implementing the main part of service business logic and storing data in the database.

And server-side development should take into account the project scaling. You can use the API provided to constantly improve the on-demand service app by supplementing it with new great features (the server must be ready for additional loads).

And Postmates makes use of the public API to help third-party developers work with its service - it’s a good way to promote it! And you should follow the lead in order to create an app like Postmates.

Authorization with FB (and other social networks)

It's a very obvious and simple step, but you can not fail to mention it. Authorization through social networks is an indispensable condition of a successful project! People are used to registering in this way, do not fool their expectations.

There are a lot of social networks but we advise taking advantage of the user’s Facebook account (today, FB is in high favor). To ensure integration with FB, you have to supplement your on-demand service app with a Facebook SDK.

Maps and geolocation

on-demand delivery marketplaces

On-demand delivery marketplaces require using the geolocation feature which will help the user choose the restaurant he needs. And couriers would get the possibility to see the orders in their locations and take those that they like.

You’ll have to use the map to implement the idea of a location-based on-demand service app. We suggest Google Maps or Open Street Maps (OSM).


order food delivery

Of course, your order food delivery program should contain a list of restaurants with all the relevant information so that the user can see what he is being offered. And the main difficulty is to collect, store, and correctly use a series of data on:

  • restaurants, cafes, and other places of the sort;

  • details of the menu including names and photos of meals, price lists, etc.

The task is not easy, but, fortunately, Google will help you: use it to find cafes and places to dine. And don't forget to supplement each institution with detailed information because the user should have all the data to make the right decision: description, menus, rating, reviews, price, photos, promotional offers, etc. And remember that the data needs to be regularly updated.

Of course, as we’ve mentioned earlier, it would be more logical to agree on cooperation with restaurant owners. That's why before thinking about how to make an on-demand app, you must “test the waters” and figure out whether you’ll manage to interest all parties in the process: customers, couriers, and restaurants.

Payment system

Postmates offers only one payment option, with credit cards. But we think you should create an on-demand app, which allows using other options too:

  • PayPal
  • Google Wallet
  • Apple Pay

You’ll find many services to integrate the payment system: Braintree (Uber uses it), Payfirma, etc.

Adding custom images & integrating with Instagram

Perhaps, to increase the engagement factor, you should allow users to upload photos from restaurants to your on-demand service app. And it means you’ll need additional space on the server to store them.

Besides, people are used to posting the same images on several social resources, and integration with Instagram can be a more convenient solution. If you also think so, register on the Instagram API Platform.

5. Testing and publishing

QA engineers are responsible for testing on-demand delivery marketplaces at all development steps. The process is much more complicated than you might think, do not neglect it if you donэt want to end up with an application that works in an unpredictable way.

Create a Food Delivery App

Now you’ve got the idea of how to make an app like Postmates, but that's not enough. We’d like to list a few factors which are important to consider.

Cost to Develop a Food Delivery App

And of course, you can come up with your unique idea to interest the user. A vivid example of the original approach is Domino's Pizza which created the bot called Dom. Dom communicates with users through Facebook messenger and helps them to make the right order.

create a food delivery app

Knowing how to make an on-demand application is important, but the earning possibilities are significant either - especially if you really want to create an app like Postmates. Let’s discuss the matter!

Monetization of On-Demand Delivery Marketplaces

How to create an online food ordering system and make it profitable? It is much easier than you might think! Moreover, with the right approach, on-demand delivery marketplaces allow you to start earning without the slightest delay. Postmates and Zomato are great examples of the sort.

  • Postmates: more than 90% of all profits are being obtained from the percentage of the order made and the cost of delivery. The rest of the money is the result of cooperation with restaurant establishments (the Preferred Merchant Program);
  • Zomato: Zomato uses the advertising method of monetizing the on-demand service app. In addition, there is interest from restaurants, which also gives some of the profits.

We believe these vivid examples will help you build an on-demand app and successfully monetize it.

Let's go over the points and figure out what steps you need to take to make your on-demand delivery app development a profitable enterprise:

  1. Convince the restaurants to share with you the profit from the orders received through your on-demand service app. Of course, your potential partners must see the real benefits of such cooperation. That’s why you should moderate feedback, help users solve problems arising, monitor updates, etc. All this should work reliably in 24/7 mode.
  2. Think about advertising. Zomato made it the predominant source of its income. Just do the same!
  3. Try a system of a freemium model or premium paid features.

Think about how to create a food delivery app of a high grade.  This is the only chance that your mobile service will be in demand.

How Much Does it Cost to Create a Food Delivery App?

It is difficult to start the on-demand app development without knowing the necessary costs, and therefore - not being able to prepare the appropriate budget. We can help you by telling you how much it costs to build an on-demand app of the simplest type (MVP model).



rough estimate



up to $75,000



up to $70,000



up to $70,000

UI/UX (iOS +Android)


up to $30,000

When Choosing Experts

The last thing you need to do to implement your idea of the order food delivery service is to find qualified experts who can build a high-end on-demand app.

We offer services as restaurant mobile app developers! Our company has been working on the application market for a long time and managed to win the reputation of a reliable contractor. We are ready to advise you on all issues and take up the project of the highest complexity. Don't be afraid to surprise us!

In short, we understand how to make an app like Postmates. Visit our portfolio to assure yourself of our experience and expertise.


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