In 2022, global food delivery earnings were projected to reach 760 billion U.S. dollars, with the meal delivery portion accounting for 300 billion dollars of that total.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the industry’s growth. During the lockdown, countless individuals ordered food online for the first time. Notably, the grocery delivery service Instacart met its 2022 targets in just the third week of lockdown.
Predictions for 2027 indicate a robust market expansion, with estimates nearing the 500-billion-dollar threshold. This surge is attributed to the consistent growth of both online grocery and meal delivery sectors in the U.S.
Below, we have collected the best apps for food delivery for your inspiration and top tips on on-demand food delivery app development. Check out ideas behind delivery apps, monetization models, business development directions, and more.
Best food delivery apps launched by startups
Check out these 11 top apps launched by tech startups. These include both food and grocery delivery. Note that most food delivery apps are eager to keep exact numbers on fees and commissions private. Hence, all information below is indicative.
Also, all operators regularly review their offerings, terms, and conditions. Please request exact, most up-to-date information via the companies’ official websites.
DoorDash is one of the most popular apps in the USA. It provides a marketplace for 450,000 catering merchants and 20+ million users worldwide. DoorDash has comprehensive features of an on-demand food delivery app designed to simplify ordering, enhance user experience, and ensure timely and satisfying meal deliveries.
The app charges restaurants a percentage of each order. Customers pay for the delivery. A special fee applies to small orders. A DashPass subscription allows end users to order from DashPass-eligible merchants by paying $9.99/mo subscription. Also, DoorDash has extended its business to grocery delivery.
Uber Eats is the second-largest food delivery service in the USA. Founded by the Uber company, Uber Eats is now merging with the taxi app. This app offers similar functionality as DoorDash.
To help users choose the best meal, the app provides multiple sorting options based on their previous orders, popularity, ratings of particular dishes, and delivery fees.
As with DoorDash, UberEats charges users a delivery fee or small order fee. Delivery costs for customers depend on distance and time of the day. Deliveries within non-peak hours are substantially cheaper. Subscription is also available.
Uber Eats has partnered with GoPuff, a delivery startup, to expand essential items such as grocery, alcohol, beauty and pet products, and medication.
In 2018, Deliveroo, a UK food delivery app, won Deloitte’s UK Technology Fast 50 awards for its tremendous growth rates. The company enjoys serving over 115,000 restaurants in 12 markets. Initially, the startup focused on the problem that too few London restaurants offered food delivery.
Deliveroo claims to be the first on-demand delivery service that employs drivers to ensure their social security benefits. Deliveroo is expanding its business to grocery delivery. It has announced partnerships with Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. It has also made a deal with Dija, a dark-store delivery startup.
Barcelona-based startup Glovo promises to deliver anything in less than an hour. The app connects users with an assigned courier who makes a purchase in the user’s name and delivers it. On-demand food delivery is the top request from platform users.
Glovo couriers use only motorcycles or bicycles, so delivery has size and weight restrictions. Long-distance delivery (over an hour away) is not an option. Glovo is expanding to other industries, such as groceries and pharmacy. Deliveries between two users are also possible.
Important note: Delivery Hero operates a variety of local brands. Pricing policy, as well as delivery terms, vary between different jurisdictions.
This Berlin-based startup focuses on creating a marketplace for small to medium-sized local restaurants that want to expand their customer base.
Delivery Hero has entered 40+ markets by partnering with companies and acquiring local service providers (Foodora, FoodPanda, Talabat, etc.). In May 2021, Delivery Hero completed the acquisition of Woowa as a part of its expansion strategy in the South Korean market. It also plans to return to Germany.
On the contrary, Delivery Hero sold part of its business in the Balkan states to Glovo. The company invests heavily in grocery delivery. It has opened 600 dark stores and offers delivery from 80,000 traditional supermarkets.
Postmates’ online delivery app helps small businesses compete with giants, such as Amazon, across the USA. Users can order anything from the local store and get it delivered within an hour via couriers, a.k.a. Postmates. The service is available 24/7. Online food delivery makes up a good portion of all orders in the system.
Postmates charges its users reasonable delivery fees. The percentage is lower for platform partners. Also, merchants can integrate Postmates’ API, thus offering instant delivery from a branded app.
Postmates was acquired by Uber in 2020, although the former continues to operate as a separate service.
GrubHub, once the market leader across the USA, comes in 4th behind DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates. GrubHub initially focused on non-delivery orders, offering an alternative to Yelp and similar review services.
GrubHub does not require any subscription fees or discounts on its menu.
As of 2020, GrubHub had 265,000 restaurants and 31.4 million users in its database. Subscription-based GrubHub+ offers free delivery for end users.
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Caviar is an excellent example of a cutting-edge, on-demand food delivery mobile app for a niche audience. Caviar is an upmarket app providing its platform to expensive restaurants.
The essential difference with Caviar is high quality. The app has distilled an audience willing to pay a premium for food from the best restaurants. Caviar has a strict onboarding system. This ensures they offer the finest cuisine to their discerning audience.
Moreover, the company has built a strong relationship partnering with food businesses, so most of them are available only in Caviar. This leaves end users with little choice.
Instacart operates in 5,500+ cities across Canada and the USA, beating its competitors in on-demand grocery delivery. Both local groceries and large national chains, such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and Walmart, are on the list.
The service lets its users receive the best online grocery shopping experience. For it, Instacart connects the user with a personal shopper who picks up items on the list, packs them, and delivers them within a designated timeline. Instacart offers its users several options: instant, same-day, and order pick-up.
Instacart charges partnered grocery stores 3% of each order. Costs are much higher for customers at shops that do not participate in the partnership program.
Saucey, an LA-based, on-demand alcohol delivery startup, keeps expanding its services to major US cities. The service offers on-demand, 30-minute delivery, or 2-day shipping via its app.
The Saucey app startup focuses on converting users from curious into loyal customers—a challenge even for the best mobile food delivery apps. The Saucey startup constantly works on improving customer experience.
In October 2020, the merger of Saucey and Emjay, the leading on-demand cannabis delivery service, was announced to further scale and expand the business.
Taskrabbit is among the most successful on-demand apps offering various services. Service providers, a.k.a. taskers, can do anything: grocery shopping, breakfast delivery, baby food delivery, and more. Taskers are even willing to wait for a delivery.
When it comes to pricing, there are no prearranged costs. Unlike delivery apps, taskers set their prices for the services they provide. Users can filter results based on price range, or they can negotiate.
Best food delivery apps launched by established businesses
Established businesses are active. Read how some prominent chains have responded to challenges:
Amazon Fresh is an additional service for Amazon Prime subscribers. With it, Amazon responds to the growing competition from online delivery apps. The service is available across large US and European cities, in India and Singapore.
Features are similar to those in top food delivery apps. Users sign in on the Amazon website or mobile app and choose food from the catalog. Once the order is finished, users select a delivery date and a two-hour window. Two delivery options are available: doorstep and attended delivery. The choice depends on whether the customer is at home or not.
Amazon Fresh operates from its local fulfillment centers. Amazon drivers are responsible for timely shipments.
FreshDirect is one of the earliest grocery delivery services. It focuses on reducing the time the food needs from the farm to the end customers. Unlike popular apps, FreshDirect operates its distribution centers and delivery fleet.
The company keeps pivoting its business towards e-commerce. Users can quickly pick up offers via a website or a mobile app and schedule delivery. FreshDirect prepares, packs, and delivers orders to your home or office. The price ranges between $5.99 and $7.99. Semi-annual, subscription-based DeliveryPass provides unlimited deliveries.
A Dutch retailer, Ahold Delhaize, bought the majority shareholder of FreshDirect as part of its growth strategy in the US market. FreshDirect continues to operate under its brand.
Walmart strives to make the most of its existing brick-and-mortar stores by pivoting to e-commerce. The company focuses on on-demand grocery delivery as a key part of its Walmart+ program.
Customers enjoy the same prices as in stores. This way, the company hopes to maintain customer loyalty.
Same-day delivery is now available from 3,000+ stores, with 800 more stores to come on board by the end of 2021. Users who pay $99/year for Walmart membership get unlimited free deliveries for $35+ purchases.
Users can pay via the app and track order progress. For express deliveries, Walmart promises delivery within two hours.
You may also be interested in our article “10 Top Mobile App Development Companies 2021”. It provides a comprehensive overview of the top mobile app development industry players and a guide on choosing the right company for your project.
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Five important points when designing a food delivery app
All food delivery apps have both benefits and drawbacks. An effective app is a game changer. Are you a startup planning on-demand app development? Or a business wanting to cut processing and commission costs when providing your clients with a delivery app? Consider the following points:
Answer these questions: What makes users feel unhappy: High commissions? Lack of exposure? Inconsistent food quality? Long delivery times?
Ensure your avatar’s life is better with your app than any of the best apps for food delivery in your niche.
Most online apps charge a commission from both business and customer. Restaurants/groceries pay for order processing. Customers pay for order delivery.
As a startup, you must carefully calculate and not ask too much.
As a restaurant or a grocery business, you need to determine how to charge the same or slightly higher prices as in your brick-and-mortar store.
Figuring out users’ real needs can take longer than anticipated. It makes sense to start app development for startups as soon as possible and launch the first version of your delivery app quickly to get valuable feedback from real customers. Then, you adjust your software to customer needs and scale after it gains traction. Start your MVP now. Finish your app fast.
Convincing customers to download the app takes time and effort. When you provide promotions and discounts, you ensure they can try out what you offer without risk.
It is easier for restaurant businesses to promote an app since the restaurant quality is already a known fact to customers.
Attract potential customer attention via your website and social media profiles. Spread the news on packages and via delivery couriers.
Repeat customers are your only chance of survival. As a startup, you need to satisfy three user groups.
- Food businesses require stable, predictable amounts of orders and expect to receive their payments as soon as possible.
- Customers need quality for acceptable prices.
- Deliverers need regular, stable payments.
As a food business, you retain customers by offering fast, convenient, error-prone order processing at the same or slightly higher price. Always remember that a reliable on-demand food delivery app development company helps you excel in crafting user-centric and efficient platforms.
Are you interested in more than just a delivery app?
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Here is what makes food delivery apps so popular:
- Customers see all options at a glance.
- They place an order within minutes.
- They can track and get the order within an hour or sooner.
- The food business receives an order and starts preparing it.
- Customers can pay using different options.
- Both the food business and the deliverer accept their payments fast.
Delivery businesses face tough competition. To win, they need a reliable, tech-savvy, and super reliable partner capable of providing users with seamlessly running UX and access to the service in no time.