The best on-demand food delivery apps let you effectively and efficiently manage customer orders.
A win-win for everyone.
Customers get a great selection of food and improved services.
Food businesses solve the problem of last-minute deliveries. They expand availability and provide food services to those who cannot come to the shop in person.
Deliverers earn money where the essential skill required is to safely deliver the food quickly.
Not all food delivery apps are equal. 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.
Table of contents
- Best on-demand food delivery apps launched by startups
- Best on demand food delivery apps launched by established businesses
- Five important points when designing a food delivery app
Best on-demand food delivery apps launched by startups
Check out these 11 top food delivery apps launched by tech startups.
These include both food and grocery delivery.
DoorDash is the most popular food delivery app in the USA.
It provides a marketplace for 450,000 catering merchants and 20+ millions users worldwide.
DoorDash offers a range of services via its tech platform to help merchants operate and promote their businesses among customers. It makes them more visible to potential customers. Food businesses can choose among different commission plans, depending on amount of marketing support and size of delivery area.
Customers can apply multiple search filters to find the best option among local businesses. They can pay and track order status via the app.
For deliverers, a.k.a. DoorDashers, the company offers flat rates. Customers can also leave tips if they are happy about their delivery.
The app charges restaurants a percentage from each order. Customers pay for the delivery. A special fee applies to small orders.
A special DashPass subscription gives end users the option to order from DashPass-eligible merchants by paying $9.99/mo subscription.
DoorDash has extended its business to grocery delivery.
UberEats is the second-largest food delivery service in the USA. Founded by the Uber company, UberEats is now merging with the taxi app.
UberEats offers similar functionality as DoorDash. To help users choose the best meal, the app provides users with multiple sorting options based on their previous orders, plus the popularity and ratings of particular dishes, delivery fee, etc.
UberEats boasts having the fastest delivery. It promises to deliver your order within 30 minutes or less. To fulfill orders, Uber deliverers use cars, scooters, bicycles, or on foot.
Food businesses pay one-time $350 activation fee and marketplace fees for every order that is processed through the platform.
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. The small order fee is higher than that of DoorDash. However, UberEats offers regularly free or $ 0.99 deliveries. Tips are welcome.
UberEats has announced an alliance with Gopuff, a delivery startup, to expand essential items such as grocery, alcohol, beauty and pet products, and medication.
In 2017 and 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.
For restaurants of all sizes and street-food businesses with tech, the Deliveroo service provides a means for reaching more customers. Some restaurants exist exclusively on Deliveroo.
The Deliveroo Edition helps restaurants expand their businesses in locations with high demand. Deliveroo identifies areas with heightened interest in specific cuisine and helps featured restaurants launch delivery-only kitchens. For such delivery-only kitchens, restaurants need zero up-front investment.
To help users order any type of cuisine at available locations, this service is available on all major platforms: Web, iOS, and Android.
Deliveroo claims to be the first on-demand delivery service that employs drivers to ensure their social security benefits.
The company charges restaurants a commission fee. Users pay three fees: a delivery distance-based fee, a service fee for using the app, and a small-order fee, if applicable.
UK customers enjoy subscription-based Deliveroo Plus—unlimited free deliveries.
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 name of the user 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.
Delivery costs are based on distance between the customer and store. When the store does business with Glovo, the price can be pre-calculated. Prices might vary from those in the app. If the price is 30% higher, the courier contacts the customer and asks to confirm the purchase.
Glovo Prime subscription offers free delivery from selected stores.
Glovo is expanding to other industries such as groceries and pharmacy.
Deliveries between two users are also possible.
This Berlin-based startup focuses on creating a marketplace for small to medium-sized local restaurants that want to expand their customer base.
For Delivery Hero users, the food delivery app provides access to a self-servicing platform where they can order food for the same or a slightly higher price as going to the restaurant. Delivery Hero’s riders pick up the prepared and ready-to-go order and deliver it in less than an hour.
Kitchens and restaurants pay a subscription fee for using the system plus a commission for order processing.
To date, Delivery Hero has entered 40+ markets by partnering with different companies and acquiring local service providers (Foodora, FoodPanda, Talabat, and many others.) In May 2021, Delivery Hero completed the acquisition of Woowa as a part of its expansion strategy in the South Korean market.
The company invests heavily in grocery delivery. It has opened 600 dark stores and offers delivery from 80,000 traditional supermarkets.
Postmates online food 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.
When a customer places an order in the system, a courier/postmate receives the order notification and picks the order up at the place of business. The customer can track the postmate’s location throughout the delivery process. A pick-up option is also available.
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 was among the first to let users browse through electronic menus, make online orders, and pay online with credit cards.
Although GrubHub still generates revenue through takeaway orders, it has also established a delivery service in response to newly emerged competitors.
The service charges restaurants a commission for order processing. Restaurants pay an additional commission for using GrubHub delivery system.
GrubHub does not require any subscription fees or discounts on their 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.
Caviar is an excellent example of a successful food delivery app for a niche audience. Caviar is an upmarket app providing its platform to expensive restaurants.
As other online food order apps, Caviar is a marketplace where users find restaurants, place an order, and wait for a courier to deliver it.
The app charges a commission for order processing from restaurants. Customers pay service and delivery fee. Splitting bills, so-called shared charts, is possible for user convenience.
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 that most of them are available only in Caviar. This leaves the discerning end users with little choice.
Caviar pays its drivers relatively high hourly rates. They receive payment immediately and enjoy more reliable deliveries knowing any risks with delivery or a non-paying client are slim to none.
No surprise that Caviar was purchased by DoorDash in 2019. End users can order from Caviar app or use their DoorDash account.
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, Walmart, etc., 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, and delivers them within a designated timeline. Instacart offers its users several options such as instant delivery, same-day delivery, and order pick up.
Users can track order progress and communicate with the shopper via website or mobile app.
Fees start at $3.99 for delivering $35+ orders within 2 hours and at $5.99 for delivering within 1 hour. Pickup fees also apply. Subscription-based Instacart Express gives users free deliveries for $35+ orders and lower fees for small orders.
Instacart charges partnered grocery stores 3% of each order. Charges 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. Via its app, the service offers on-demand, 30-min delivery or 2-day shipping.
Deliveries are 16 hours a day, between 8 a.m. and 2 a.m. Scheduling in advance is also possible. The service charges $4.99 for each delivery and encourages users to leave a tip. Saucey also charges fees for small orders.
The Saucey app startup focuses on converting users from curious into loyal customers—a challenge even for the best on-demand food delivery apps. The Saucey startup constantly works on improving customer experience.
For alcohol retailers, the app offers a detailed analytics system with advanced audience segmentation. This system helps track conversion and measure promotional campaigns. Retailers can focus on creating effective messages.
In October 2020, the merger of Saucey and Emjay, the leading on-demand cannabis delivery service, was announced to further scale and expand business.
On-demand marketplaces are serious rivals for online food order apps. Constant market growth is a perfect reason to expand.
Taskrabbit is among the most successful on-demand apps offering a wide range of 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.
Users assign a task and add a description. Then, they search through a list of taskers with matching skills, check their price and schedule, and get in touch to discuss details. Once parties reach the agreement, taskers complete the task. Customers pay and leave a review.
When it comes to pricing, there are no prearranged costs. Unlike food delivery apps, taskers set their own prices for the services they provide. Users can filter results based on price range or they can negotiate.
Taskrabbit’s success has not gone unnoticed. The service was acquired by IKEA in 2017. It still operates under its own brand.
Best on-demand food delivery apps launched by established businesses
Established businesses are not sitting idle.
Read how some prominent chains have responded to challenges:
Domino’s pizza invests heavily in both customer service and digital technologies to ensure the best experience for its 85+ million active users.
The company already had its own online food order app and delivery network. Responding to the challenges created by online food delivery apps, it has introduced new improvements.
Domino’s Pizza app guides users through the entire ordering process. Users can quickly place orders. They can choose different tastes and combinations with a few taps. Domino’s Pizza Chef AR (Augmented Reality) configurator adds fun: It lets users visualize their order and see exactly what they will get.
Users can request delivery or choose to pick up their order. Multiple payment options are available.
Pizza tracker can send push notifications to a smart watch or smart TV to keep users up-to-date. Live GPS delivery tracker enables real-time order tracking.
Amazon Fresh is an additional service for Amazon Prime subscribers. With it, Amazon responds to the growing competition from online food 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 choose 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.
Users count on the same product offering they can find in a grocery store, from cereals through frozen food to alcoholic drinks.
Amazon Fresh operates from its own local fulfillment centers. Amazon drivers are responsible for timely shipments.
FreshDirect is one of the earliest grocery delivery services. It focuses on reducing the amount of time the food needs to get from the farm to the end customers. Unlike popular food delivery apps, FreshDirect operates its own distribution centers and delivery fleet.
The company keeps pivoting its business towards e-commerce. Users can quickly pick up offers via website or a mobile app and schedule a delivery time. FreshDirect prepares the order, packs it, and delivers at home or to the office. The price ranges between $5.99 and $7.99. Semi-annual, subscription-based DeliveryPass provides unlimited deliveries.
In order to respond to the challenges of same-day delivery, FreshDirect acquired FoodKick in 2020. Express delivery is also available on a per-delivery or subscription basis. Delivery time is up to 2 hours.
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 own brand.
Walmart strives to make the most of its existing brick-and-mortar stores by pivoting to e-commerce. The company focuses its efforts 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. First, they need to make sure delivery is available from the store in their area. Delivery times vary.
Walmart grocery app has been integrated into the Walmart mobile app. This ensures users can order all items they have on their shopping list. When users have completed their online shopping, they can choose curbside pickup or home delivery.
Users can pay via the app and track order progress. For express deliveries, Walmart promises delivery within two hours.
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 food 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?
Make sure your avatar’s life is better with your app than with any of the best apps for food delivery in your niche.
A vast majority of online food delivery apps charge a commission from both business and customer. Restaurants/groceries pay for order processing. Customers pay for order delivery.
As a startup, you need to carefully calculate and not ask too much.
As a restaurant or a grocery business, you need to work out how you can charge the same or slightly higher prices as in your brick-and-mortar store.
Figuring out users’ real needs can take more time than anticipated. It makes sense to launch the first version of your food delivery app quickly and get valuable feedback from real customers. Then, you adjust your software to customer needs and scale after it gets traction. Start your MVP now. Finish your app fast.
Convincing customers to download the app is challenging. When you provide promotions and discounts, you ensure users they can try out what you offer with no risk for them.
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 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.
- Professionals (food businesses and delivery managers) 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 offering fast, convenient, error-prone order processing at the same or slightly higher price.
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 the order and get it within an hour or sooner
- Food business receives an order and starts preparing it.
- Customers can pay using different options.
- Both the food business and deliverer receive 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.
What is the best food delivery app?
Best apps for food delivery compete heavily against each other. As a result, the best delivery terms seem to vary from minute to minute.
Here is the list of the best on-demand food delivery apps to choose from:
- Delivery Hero
What is the cheapest food delivery app?
Although UberEats is believed to be the cheapest food delivery app, there is not a great difference between them at many popular food delivery apps. Depending on pricing policy, pricing might vary for each particular order.
Check several services for the best offer.
For end users, subscriptions help save substantially on delivery prices.
How does on-demand food delivery work?
A simple on-demand food delivery solution consists of two apps—one for customers and another one for deliverers. It also has an administration panel needed to manage users.
Browse through available offers
Place and confirm an order
Pay online via app
Track order’s position in real time
Receive notification with order details
View order location
Get in touch with customer
Manage single products
Why are on-demand solutions for food delivery apps so popular?
Best mobile food delivery apps save time users must spend on the telephone or in person picking up items, checking availability, confirming delivery hours, etc.
For restaurants and groceries, food delivery apps provide access to a wide customer base, even in bad weather and during lockdown. No need to hire and maintain a large fleet of delivery managers.
This is why mobile app development for food deliveries is booming.