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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.

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.

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