On-Demand App Development. What You Need to Know Before You Build a Food Delivery App like Postmates and Zomato
In the UK, every fifth person orders food delivery at least once a week. And analysts predict that this trend will grow, and not only in England but throughout the world. That's why on-demand app development has become so popular.
Yes, farsighted brands have long been enjoying such an excellent chance to earn. Shining examples are Postmates and Zomato, well-known applications for finding restaurants and delivering food. And if their resounding success causes your envy, it's time you got your slice of this "cake". It means you should think about how to make an app like Postmates, Zomato, and other services of the sort. And we're happy to help.
- On-Demand Services
- Postmates & Zomato Examples
- Your Business Model
- How to Create a Food Delivery App With the Best Feature Set
- On-demand App Development Stages
- Important Factors
- Delivery App Monetization
- How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Food Delivery App
- When Choosing Experts
Postmates is an intermediary between the client and the courier and, therefore, belongs to the on-demand services. And before we figure out how to create a food delivery app, let's take a look at the reasons for the increased popularity of this on-demand economy. There are several of them, in fact.
The matter is that mobile devices provide us with a lot of opportunities to simplify our lives. Among other things, smartphones can easily recognize 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. All this made the on-demand economy not only real but also effective. And this, in turn, explains the relevance of on-demand app development quite well.
Benefits of the on-demand economy:
- Ease of obtaining the necessary service or product;
- The increase in sales and audience growth for suppliers of on-demand services;
- the convenience of studying the necessary information about the company;
- Network effect: users themselves popularize on-demand applications.
You can think of how to make an on-demand app for such business areas:
- passenger and cargo transportation;
- cleaning service;
- laundry and dry cleaning;
- goods delivery;
- clothing studios;
- hairdressers and beauty salons.
As you can see, the range of services is wide. That’s why Postmates and Zomato decided to create on-demand apps. This idea has worked and proved to be an advantageous investment.
At one time, your competitors were also interested in the question of how to create an online food ordering system. Of course, they will not share their experiences and secrets with you, and we will have to deal with this matter on our own. However, we can fully analyze their business models. Let’s do it.
Postmates works on the principle of on-demand delivery 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.
As for Zomato, this service, rather, specializes in finding restaurants and allows users to pick the best place to eat. Though, residents of some countries (for example, India, the UAE, and Lebanon) can also take the opportunity to order food delivery from restaurants.
Both examples inspire respect and make you wonder how to make an on-demand app. But, first of all, you should learn about various kinds of pitfalls and ways to avoid them.
To create an app like Postmates, you need to decide on a business model - the one that is most convenient for you.
Actually, there are 3 main options:
- Your own car park
- Services of taxi drivers and independent couriers
- Outside services dealing with the delivery issue (this option is true for virtual projects)
And remember, a lot of restaurants prefer to deliver food on their own, and you will have to make an effort to interest them in your application and its benefits. And the benefits themselves largely depend on the functionality of the mobile service.
Since you are wondering how to make an app like Postmates, it will be useful for you to learn about its approach to building the functionality.
The Postmates service consists of two parts: the Postmates client application that allows placing orders and the courier Fleet app being used by contract employees.
Client application features:
- User registration
- Editable user profile
- Search for a restaurant where a user can make an order
- Information about restaurants (photo, description, menu, reviews, etc.)
- Ordering system
- Menu search. It helps users to search for the dish they like
- Time referencing, the possibility to order food delivery at the specified time
- History of orders. The customer can easily repeat the previous order
- In-app calls. The ability to call an operator directly from the application is also in high demand
But the client version is not enough to create an app like Postmates. It is necessary to provide the application format for couriers so that they can search for orders, accept and execute them.
Features of the courier application:
- Registration of couriers (including the ability to edit the profile)
- Order management: a courier should see available orders and be able to accept one of them
- The order status. This feature is more important than it may seem at first glance, and its implementation requires a certain skill of developers you've hired to create an on-demand app. The order status (accepted, refused, executed, etc.) should be updated in real time. Otherwise, you will face the problem of delayed delivery, and this will lead to dissatisfaction with customers.
And, of course, you need to help the restaurants interact with customers and couriers. So, on-demand app development should include the stage of creating a convenient administrative panel for restaurant staff. This panel is a variation of a web application designed to serve as a tool for processing customer orders and courier requests.
How to create an online food ordering system? In general, the development stages are these ones:
- Collection of requirements
- Application Design
- Testing and Publishing
And now we should take a closer look at these steps needed to create an app like Postmates.
1. Collection of requirements
Of course, you should previously make a detailed plan of what you want to get as a result. If it's hard for you to decide on your own, ask experts for help - those who know how to create a food delivery app in a highly professional way.
The formulated list of requirements should logically lead to the formation of a preliminary specification.
Prototyping involves building user flow logic and creating application screens. These screens usually include finding places to dine, restaurant menus, managing orders (payment, tracking, etc.).
3. Application Design
To create an on-demand app that will be popular, you need to work hard on its UI/UX design. How did your main competitor handle this task?
To force users to take the desired action (namely, to order food), the Postmates application lures customers with a list of famed restaurants that appears when the app opens (this is the very first screen that the user sees). We do not say that you should copy this technique but it can inspire you to come up with another interesting idea.
Now that the prototype and UI/UX design is ready, your mobile development team can start working on the mobile application itself.
4. On-demand app development
We propose to study this issue in full detail.
Server and API
As we’ve already mentioned, your application needs backend development responsible for the implementation of most of the service business logic, as well as for storing data in the database.
Using the API also simplifies the scaling of the food delivery program: for example, if you want to improve your application by adding support for another platform. Besides, Postmates takes advantage of the public API to facilitate the work of third-party developers and thereby promote the service. Perhaps, you should do the same to create an app like Postmates.
Registration via social networks
Registration with social networks significantly simplifies the users' authorization process, which means that the chances of attracting more people to your service can be increased.
Today, the most popular social network is, of course, Facebook. To ensure integration with FB, you need to register a Facebook Developer account and add a Facebook SDK to your application.
Maps and geolocation
You should figure out how to create an online food ordering system based on geolocation (it is really important). This feature will allow the user to choose the restaurant he needs, and couriers will be able to accept orders in their locations. It means that your application will need a map. You can make use of Google Maps or Open Street Maps (OSM).
Catalog of restaurants and menus
The main difficulty, in this case, is the need to collect, store, and correctly use 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 initial version of the list of restaurants can be obtained from Google. As for the menu and photos, you will have to collect them yourself or agree on interaction with the owners of restaurants. In addition, you will need to monitor price changes in the establishments' menu to update your database on time.
Ideally, restaurant employees should regularly make all the relevant changes with the help of the admin panel, and this action should immediately update the database (this requires, again, the high-level backend development). That's why before figuring out how to make an on-demand app, you have to “test the waters” and understand whether you will be able to interest all parties of the process: customers, couriers, restaurants.
Postmates offers only one payment option, with credit cards. But we advise you to create an on-demand app that will allow using other options to pay for the order:
- Google Wallet
- Apple Pay
There are many services for the integration of 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 application. In this case, you will 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. In order to implement it, you will need to register on Instagram API Platform.
5. Testing and publishing
QA engineers guarantee stable operation of the mobile service through testing it at all stages of on-demand app development. They conduct tests on different gadgets and implement real scenarios of user behavior. And programmers immediately fix all the bugs found (if any).
Well, and the final touch is the app publication in AppStore and Google Play.
We explained to you how to make an app like Postmates, but that's not enough. There are a number of other factors that are important to consider.
What should you consider when poring over how to make an on-demand app?
- A simple navigation system. The catalog of restaurants (as well as the choice of food categories) should be intuitive to any user.
- Informativeness. When selecting a restaurant and a meal, the user must see all the data necessary for making a decision: description, rating, reviews, price, payment features, promotional offers, etc.
- The convenience of ordering. It means that the order should require a minimum of actions, without unnecessary steps.
- Visual appeal. The application should be modern, recognizable and user-friendly. In other words, it should encourage users to order more food.
- Use of new communication channels. For example, Domino's Pizza already has its own bot named Dom for the Facebook messenger. This bot helps users to choose and order pizza.
Everyone who wants to create an app like Postmates is interested in ways to make money using this mobile service.
The great advantage of the on-demand economy is an excellent chance to start making profits right away. All you should do is to organize the process correctly.
For example, Postmates receives 20% of the delivery cost, and the rest of it goes to the courier. In addition, the owners of the service collect 9% of the total order cost. Postmates gets 94% of all its money in this way. The remaining 6% are monetized using the Prefered Merchant Program, an affiliate program with restaurants.
Zomato earnings are based on interest from restaurants and advertising (with advertising playing a decisive role in the monetization process).
Use these services' experience while brooding over how to create an online food ordering system.
Firstly, you need to force the restaurants to share with you the profit from the orders received through your service. And for this, 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. So think about how to create a food delivery app of a high grade. This is the only chance that your application will be in demand.
We are ready to offer you an approximate estimate of the cost of on-demand app development. In this case, we're speaking about an MVP model with minimal functionality.
up to 40 hours
Editing the User profile
Total development time
Approximate costs (at a rate of $ 35 per hour)
up to $2,625
We have a vast working experience and would be happy to undertake the on-demand app development task for your business project.
We always study competitive applications in detail and analyze existing IT solutions, as a result, you get a functional app specification.
Our specialists determine different possible scenarios of user interaction with the future application. Based on these data, we develop prototypes of each app screen.
Our UI/UX experts create interface concepts with regard to usability rules. All applications are being built in strict accordance with the requirements of Google and Apple.
In short, we understand how to make an app like Postmates. Visit our portfolio to assure yourself of our experience and expertise.