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How Much Does it Cost (and the cost structure) to Build an App like UberEats

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Do you need another app like UberEats on the market? If you’re brainstorming for startup ideas or expanding existing operations, the answer is a big “NO”, but with a big “BUT”. 

There are huge untapped opportunities in the food delivery industry, even with UberEats, Grubhub, and DoorDash leading the competition. There are untapped opportunities in specific  geographies, or if you want to build an on-demand food delivery app specifically for your food business. These apps have revolutionized the food industry. Customers can browse through menus of restaurants, place orders, and have the food delivered to their doorstep.

It’s a win-win situation for restaurant owners, too, as these apps are running the marketing campaign on behalf of the restaurants, which results in an increase in revenue. 

With consumers rapidly turning toward mobile apps for commerce activities, there are rooms for more UberEats alternatives. Besides, the numbers don’t lie on how online food delivery is a lucrative business for years to come.

Revenues for food delivery like UberEats hit $53 billion in 2019 worldwide. The figure is expected to grow by 17% in 2020. In 2018, UberEats reported revenue of $1.5 billion, which is a 150% increase of what the company made in the previous year. 

If you’re convinced by the numbers, the next question you ought to ask is, ‘how much does it cost to build an app like UberEats?’

In this article, we’ll answer the burning question that bugs business owners and startups. We’ll also breakdown the food delivery apps into individual components and the process involved to produce a functional app for the public.

Common Challenges When Building A Food Delivery App

You don’t want to be yet another UberEats or GrubHub. The fact is, the market is now dominated by big brands, and this influences how you’ll want to develop the app.

For a start, the app needs to fulfill the needs and requests of the audience you’re targeting, while following the food delivery model.

Second, it needs to be stable and functional, or you’ll risk damaging your business’ reputation right from the start.

It’s important to acknowledge that UberEats today is a product of multiple iterations. Therefore, it’s impractical to expect a fully-featured app right from the start. You can have your wishlist, but you’ll need to decide what constitutes a minimum viable product that is ready for launch.

With these concerns, you’ll want to consult an experienced software development agency, particularly in building similar food delivery apps. Having the hindsight of the developer team helps you to avoid the technical pitfalls associated with such a business model. 

Key Components & Development Cost Structure of app Like UberEats

While the development cost may be influenced by the software agencies, the complexity of the app, and other factors, it revolves around $70,000 to $150,000. The figure is derived base on 2,800 - 3,000 hours at $50/hour.

In order to create an app like UberEats, the software firm needs to develop not only the consumer app, but also the app for the merchant, courier, and the admin panel. Below is a timeline on how the developments are executed simultaneously:

Key Components & Development Cost Structure of app Like UberEats


Note that for the customer, courier, and merchant apps, at least 2 developers will be working on the Android, iOS app, and the backend software. Each of the apps will take approximately 3.5 months to complete. Another 2 developers are tasked in building the admin panel, which takes up slightly more than 8 weeks. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of what’s involved in developing a food delivery app like UberEats.

1. Customer App 

Development time ~700-900 hours (starting at $35,000)

The Сustomer app includes functionality which lets the user choose and purchase goods from stores and cafes/restaurants. We suggest the following user story map for a customer's app.

the customer side of a food delivery app

2. Courier App

Development time ~700-900 hrs (starting at $35,000)

Courrier app includes functionality that allows the courier to receive orders, view order details, and deliver it. 

We suggest proceeding with the following user story map for the courier app.

the courier side of a food delivery app

Pro tip from Uptech

  1. Couriers usually require as many notification types as possible. This includes changes in order status, balance, etc. 
  2. It’s a good practice to release the courier app with minimal functionalities to prevent couriers from being overwhelmed and distracted during launch. 

3. Merchant App (optional)

Development time  700-900 hrs (starting at $35,000)

For merchants we suggest starting with basic functionality like: add store details, add and manage products, track incoming orders. 

It’ll be good to start with a user story map for merchants.

the merchant side of a food delivery app

Pro tip from Uptech

Store owners prefer to have very little interaction with the app and system. Therefore, it’s a good idea to automate as many store processes as possible. For example, setting the store working hours will automatically change the store’s availability on the app. 

4. Admin Panel 

Development time 400-500 hrs (starting at $10,000)

Admin panel is so to say - the system brains, so basically, it should include everything connected to the app operations: managing orders, couriers, customers, stores. 

We suggest proceeding with a ready-to-use solution for the Admin panel for MVP in  order to reduce the cost for development. Still, it is important to include essential parts to the Admin panel, which are represented in the user story map.

the admin side of a food delivery app

Pro tip from Uptech

It may be cheaper to split admin panel functionality into two separate services, i.e. support chat (built-in or 3rd party) and main admin panel. 

What Technology Stacks Are Needed

Building an app like UberEats used to be more costly, and requires more time for completion. Thankfully, developers are aided with the range of technology stacks available. Here are some of the stacks helpful in building a food delivery app.

  • Cloud Services- Azure, AWS, Kahu, Cloud Sigma
  • Registration - Google Sign-In, Facebook Login SDK
  • Payment: Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Payment, Wepay, Braintree
  • Maps and Locations - Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, Mapbox, Mapkit JS
  • Restaurant Listing - Foursquare API, Grubhub API, Yelp Fusion API
  • Analytics - Google Analytics, Localytics, Apple Analytics

What is The Process of Estimating The Cost Of Building A Food Delivery App

For a fairer representation of what made up the cost of developing an app like UberEats, it helps to look into the processes involved.

At Uptech, an app development kicks off with the discovery stage. Discovery stage is not only the pre-development phase to define the scope, it’s all about the right product for the right users. And discovery helps to clarify and define user needs. We collect your business needs, listen to users, find their pain points and needs. Then, based on the collected data, we suggest a solution, which would definitely fit users’ expectations. In other words, discovery is the data driven process of product modeling.

Once the specs are put into place, our team proceed to design the UI for the apps. Within a short time frame, you’ll have a good idea of how the customer, merchant, and courier app will look like. After all, part of the winning-strategies of marketing an online food delivery business is the visuals of the app itself. 

When you’ve pronounced yourself satisfied with the visuals, our team proceed to craft the underlying codes and backends of the app. This often involves writing lines of codes and making use of the technology stacks involved. We emphasize agile development techniques and getting rapid feedback to fine-tune the app. 

Ultimately, we prepare the app for the launch and support it with iterations of bug fixes and improvisation. 

Summary 

Major players like UberEats or Doordash may have taken the largest chunk of the online food delivery industry. However, opportunities are in abundance for startups or established companies that would like to slice up the market and go for specific audiences with their apps.

In this business model, it's important to remember that you have multiple stakeholders (users, couriers, restaurants) and you have to keep balance in delivering value to all of them. This is a chicken and egg situation where you can't have users without couriers and can't have couriers without users (same logic goes for restaurants). This brings us the importance of professionally-built apps and clear business logic.

Talk to our team for a more precise cost of building a food delivery app for your business.

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