How do you make a food delivery app like Uber Eats and how much does it cost?

Today people prefer to order food using their mobile and web devices since this way is more convenient and time-saving. As a result, online food delivery marketplaces such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, Deliveroo, Postmaes, and DoorDash experienced a rapid increase over the past years. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of food ordering applications that connect restaurants with consumers.

Dealroom reports that the number of Grubhub app downloads jumped by 23% last year while installs of Deliveroo and Uber Eats surged by 21% and 13% respectively. In March 2020, Uber Eats had a 30% rise in new customers due to lockdowns and social distancing imposed by countries around the world. At the moment, Uber Eats is the most popular online food delivery service globally, which is now used by millions of customers across 6,000 cities.

This article describes how to create an app like Uber Eats, including the cost and timeline necessary to implement the key functionality. In addition, you will learn how the platform generates revenue. Let’s get started.

Table of contents

How does Uber Eats generate income?

Founded in 2014, Uber Eats is the worldwide leading food delivery marketplace that matches restaurants, customers, and drivers. Owned by Uber, the company generated a revenue of $4.8 billion in 2020, according to Statista.

Uber Eats has the following sources of revenue:

  • Commission — Uber Eats generally withdraws a 30%–35% commission from cafes and restaurants on the total price of each order made by customers.
  • Delivery fees — The organization charges delivery partners a 25% fee, involving pickup, delivery, and distance fees. The final cost depends on distance, the availability of drivers, and location. Additionally, Uber Eats taxes a small fee for orders that have a price less than $12.
  • Promotions — Cafes and restaurants sign special agreements with Uber Eats to use exclusive promotions of their services through an online food delivery marketplace. Thanks to this, brands attract more customers and increase the volume of sales. However, to get access to this feature, vendors have to pay commissions negotiated in the contract.
  • Surge pricing — The company implements dynamic pricing on surge hours considering the availability of delivery drivers and the number of orders placed at the same time. As a consequence, users have to pay more during times of high demand.

It is worth noting that Uber Eats uses different ways to help brands boost user engagement and earn profit. For instance, the organization offers the possibility to purchase gift cards for employees, partners, and corporate clients, as well as coupons for customers, clients, and event participants.

Design of a food delivery marketplace like Uber Eats

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design is an essential stage of online marketplace development that requires joint efforts of designers and front-end engineers. Generally, this phase consumes 3–5 weeks.

By implementing an intuitive responsive design, you will attract the audience and improve the retention rate across all devices and operating systems. Analysts at WebFX inform that design has a 75% impact on consumer trust in the website while SWEOR reports that 88% of users are not willing to revisit a web platform after receiving a poor experience.

To boost customer engagement, we recommend that you create a tailor-made design with a unique branding theme instead of purchasing a market-ready template. This way, you will avoid multiple customizations to business-specific needs and minimize chances to encounter practically the same template used by another food delivery marketplace.

Explore the top 7 principles of a quality software design written by Andrew Volchek, CEO and Co-founder at Arateg. Having extensive expertise in UI/UX design, Andrew describes in the article how to ensure a seamless user experience, from ensuring smooth navigation to adhering to one brand style.

Time: 250 hours

The main features of a food delivery app like Uber Eats

A food delivery marketplace like Uber Eats comprises four parties: customers, restaurants, delivery guys, and platform owners. The company’s business model includes B2B transactions between a food ordering service and vendors and B2C transactions between the app and drivers. Therefore, marketplace developers have to implement functionality to fulfill the needs of all participants.

However, while Uber Eats connects with Uber, you may not have your own taxi service. In this case, you should build an online marketplace platform that will assign order execution to brands, each providing its couriers.

Features for customers

1. Sign up and sign in

Registration and authorization are essential features of a digital marketplace platform like Uber Eats. Thanks to this functionality, consumers can create personal profiles and fulfill the necessary information (name, address, contacts, etc.) only once instead of providing details whenever making an order.

When building an on-demand food delivery service, it is important to implement multi-option registration—involving mail, social media, phone number—which will help you ensure a seamless customer experience.

To increase data security, you should enable two-factor authentication, requiring users to provide an additional credential—besides their login and password—to get account access. For example, you can ask them to enter a code that has been sent to their smartphones.

Time: 40-80 hours

2. Search

An online food delivery marketplace has to provide users with the possibility to search for food dishes and restaurants, as well as view menus and prices.

When developing this functionality, software engineers should incorporate numerous categories and filters, for instance, by cuisine, cafe name, city area, or meal. To save the time of customers when inputting a search query, address, etc., you can implement an autocomplete feature, which will allow you to improve user engagement.

Time: 100-120 hours

3. Catalog page

A catalog includes a list of restaurants with details such as working hours, cuisine, delivery cost, and rating. To view a menu and other relevant information, a customer has to click on a cafe card or button. This page of a food ordering application should also contain search filters and categories, as well as display open restaurants at a time when a user visits the platform.

Time: 200 hours

4. Order placement

When building an app like Uber Eats, it is crucial to provide consumers with the possibility to choose food, add it to a shopping cart, as well as change the number and quantity of dishes. In addition, online marketplace developers should enable automated order generation, including instant price calculation.

Time: 120 hours

5. Order tracking

Order tracking is another vital feature of an online food delivery marketplace that enables customers to monitor delivery status and see an approximate time their dish will arrive. To implement this functionality, developers need to integrate the platform with GPS, for example, using Location API for Android and/or CoreLocation framework (iOS). It is also important to enable in-app push notifications informing about the order status.

Time: 30 hours

6. Checkout page

With a checkout page, a consumer can verify information—the number of dishes, total price, delivery cost and time, etc.—before sending an order to the restaurant. Using this feature, a customer can edit and remove orders and information they provide, for instance, address and phone number.

Time: 120 hours

7. Online payments

The possibility to make online payments is an irreplaceable feature of any marketplace, including an app like Uber Eats . Delivering goods and services in a competitive environment, companies should provide a variety of payment methods to meet the needs of customers, restaurants, and drivers. Additionally, it is important to achieve the security of sensitive data for ensuring safe transactions.

You can address these issues by integrating a food ordering application with a payment gateway that acts as an analog of a third-party virtual terminal. For instance, Braintree allows users to make payments via credit and debit cards (i.e., Visa, Mastercard, Diner’s Club, Discover, Amex), electronic wallets (i.e., Google Pay, Apple Pay), PayPal, Venmo, bank directs (iDeal, SOFORT, Trustly, GiroPay, and Bancontact), as well as ACH Direct.

When choosing a payment gateway solution, you should take into account supported currencies, transaction limits, and pricing. You should also consider the availability of the system in different countries.

For example, Stripe is not accepted in Germany, Israel, Argentina, Belarus, Ukraine, and other countries. Focusing on security, popular gateways generally include features such as AVS (Address Verification System), CVV (card verification code check), and 3D Secure.

Time: 120 hours

8. Reviews and ratings

Consumers should be able to write reviews and estimate the quality of services from one to five stars. Based on user feedback, an on-demand food delivery app will automatically calculate the overall rating of each restaurant. Thanks to this functionality, you will increase customer trust in either brands or an online marketplace platform.

Time: 120 hours

Features for restaurants

1. Sign up and sign in

Restaurants have to register in order to add their menus and company description. They should provide details such as brand name, address, working hours, cuisine, delivery cost. Additionally, a food ordering service should verify banking details provided by venues.

Time: 30-40 hours

2. Content management

Content management is among the key features of an online food delivery marketplace. Vendors must have the possibility to create and edit company descriptions, place menus, update prices, add and remove positions.

Time: 100 hours

3. Order management

When making a food delivery app like Uber Eats, an online marketplace development company should build a feature of order management. Using this functionality, restaurants will be able to process orders and track their execution, as well as inform customers about status updates.

To reduce the time for project implementation, it is possible to integrate a digital marketplace platform with an off-the-shelf solution, for example, Salesforce Commerce Cloud Orders, Tractry, Ordermentum, or BigCommerce Orders.

Experienced business analysts and software engineers will assist you in choosing the best OMS considering your requirements and budget. As a consequence, you will cut down expenses while saving software product quality.

Time: 200 hours

4. Courier activity tracking

Vendors should be able to track the order from the moment it is picked from a restaurant to the moment the driver comes back. For this purpose, marketplace developers can integrate a food ordering service with GPS and Google Maps.

Time: 40 hours

5. Payment acceptance and tracking

It is crucial to enable payment acceptance and tracking, so that restaurants can generate profit in the most convenient way. A transaction should be carried out once a customer makes an order and confirms payment details.

Time: 80 hours

6. Data analytics

Data analytics is vital to monitoring customer behavior and analyzing sales reports. Before creating a food delivery app like Uber Eats, you should specify metrics that vendors will be able to track. These metrics can include the number of restaurant profile views, the number and price of orders, revenue earned during a certain period, lifetime value, consumer satisfaction rate.

In order to implement this functionality, an online marketplace development company can integrate a software platform with a turnkey data analytics tool, this way reducing project costs and time to market. At Arateg, we generally employ Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Firebase Analytics, Kissmetrics, Zoho Pagesense, Brandwatch, Woopra, and Sprout Social.

Our engineers choose a service according to the business-specific needs of our clients. For example, when building an e-commerce fashion marketplace, we integrated Mixpanel as it enables brands to see which groups of leads show the best conversion rate, identify reasons for churn, and segment the audience by location.

Time: 400 hours

7. Data visualization dashboard

Data visualization is an important feature of an online food delivery marketplace that allows vendors to visualize sales reports and multiple metrics, involving retention/loyalty rate, lifetime value, the number of menu visits and orders. In 2017, Uber Eats released Restaurant Manager, a data analytics dashboard for restaurants registered on its platform.

The tool provides three groups of core metrics:

  • Customer Satisfaction portal — It helps partners take valuable insights into the user satisfaction level.
  • Service Quality portal — This portal comprises metrics like order acceptance rate and food preparation time.
  • Sales portal — Venues can track items sold, real-time net payout, and top-selling dishes.

With such functionality, restaurants will manage to estimate their financial performance, better understand the audience preferences, and increase the efficiency of marketing strategies

Time: 200 hours

Features for delivery guys

1. Sign up and sign in

Just like customers and restaurant partners, couriers should create their profiles. After registration, they will be able to start delivering food and earning money. An online food ordering service should also provide drivers with the possibility to manage account and payment information.

Time: 30-40 hours

2. Order management

Order management is an important feature for delivery guys that allows for viewing the list of the nearest orders, accepting or rejecting them.

Time: 100 hours

3. Order status updates

When building a food delivery app like Uber Eats, it is crucial to enable drivers to update order statuses (e.g., accepted, rejected, in progress, completed). These updates will be instantly seen by customers.

Time: 50-70 hours

4. Availability in terms of time and location

Couriers should have the possibility to indicate the time periods and locations where they can deliver food.

Time: 50 hours

5. Payment tracking

Payment tracking is a feature that will allow drivers to easily view their orders and earnings in daily, weekly, and monthly reports. A food delivery application should display the history of orders and transactions, as well as the current balance.

Time: 60-70 hours

An admin panel for food delivery app owners

An administrator panel is a web app that allows marketplace owners to manage restaurants, set up and charge commissions, track payments, manage reviews, add and remove search categories, as well as view delivery histories. Additionally, it is possible to implement role-based access permissions for employees.

Time: 2000-2500 hours

How much does it cost to make a food delivery app?

The time required to create an online food delivery marketplace:

  1. UI/UX design — 250 hours
  2. Customer app features — 850–910 hours
  3. Restaurant app features — 1,050–1,060 hours
  4. Delivery app features — 290–330 hours
  5. An admin panel — 2,000–2,500 hours

The overall time necessary to make the entire platform — 4,440–5,050 hours.

Project cost varies depending on the wages of software development teams. For example, IT companies in the USA and UK generally ask $100–$150 per hour while software engineering firms in Belarus and other Eastern European countries earn $25–$50 per hour.

Approximate minimum and maximum costs of making an app like Uber Eats:

  • USA, UK — $444,000–$757,500
  • Belarus and other Easter European countries — $111,000–$252,500

Therefore, by outsourcing online marketplace creation to a trusted IT service vendor from Belarus, you can cut expenditures by 3–4 times while saving quality!

Find out how to build an MVP of a food ordering application , including time and cost estimations. By starting out with an MVP, you can get a working solution in 3 months, collect user feedback, and extend a software system accordingly. Using an MVP, you can also showcase a product to investors.

A technology stack to make a food delivery app like Uber Eats

To make a web app like Uber Eats, an online marketplace development company can employ the following technologies:

  • Platform: Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Programming languages: TypeScript, Go
  • Libraries, tools, and frameworks: React, Redux, Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon Route 53, Amazon CloudFront, Docker, Kubernetes, RabbitMQ, Firebase Cloud Messaging, Jest
  • Database: PostgreSQL

Software experts can integrate a food ordering application with various third-party APIs for:

  • Order management: BigCommerce Orders, or Salesforce Commerce Cloud Orders, etc.
  • Inventory management: API2Cart, Fulfil.io, Zoho Inventory, eBay Sell Inventory
  • Shipping: Shippo, FedEx, DHL, UPS, USPS
  • Geolocation: Google Maps, W3C, MapBox
  • Feedback and comments: Disqus, Discord
  • Notifications: Firebase
  • Authorization: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo, Windows Live
  • Data analytics: Google Analytics, Firebase Analytics, Kissmetrcis, Mixpanel, etc.

Cloud computing platforms such as AWS and Microsoft Azure offer all the required tooling to achieve high availability, scalability, and resilience, vital to handling heavy loads and maintaining a growing number of users. Thanks to this, you will prevent downtime and save costs. Learn more about ensuring the scalability of a software system.

To build a mobile food delivery service like Uber Eats, software engineers can use the following programming languages:

  • Native app development (Android, iOS): Kotlin, Swift
  • Cross-platform development: React Native

With native technologies, it is generally easier to provide a seamless user experience. However, cross-platform frameworks such as React Native allow for making mobile solutions that look and perform almost like native apps. Furthermore, as you don’t have to hire two teams for writing two separate codebases, you can significantly reduce expenses.

Why choose Arateg for building a food delivery marketplace

Established in 2014, Arateg is an online marketplace development company based in Eastern Europe. Analyzing the needs and expectations of our clients and end-users, we build web and mobile (iOS, Android, cross-platform) solutions that provide a seamless experience across all screens and devices.

To help businesses achieve success, our engineers use advanced technologies and practices to ensure system high availability, scalability, fault tolerance, and data security.

Besides design, development, and testing, we assist organizations in creating a software requirement specification, identifying the top-priority features, choosing the best technology stack and software architecture, as well as outlining an implementation roadmap.

By now, our software experts have delivered more than 20 online marketplace platforms, including web and mobile apps. Check out a list of our featured projects.

If you want to create a food delivery app like Uber Eats, contact our team. We will get back to you within 1 business day and help address all issues.

To protect your intellectual property and ensure data confidentiality, we are ready to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Project consultation is free of charge.

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