Food businesses already profit from social network accounts, on-demand delivery marketplace profiles, and their own websites.

Customers seem to already enjoy all the food ordering functionality they need. Why should a business create a restaurant app now? Because customer demand is ever increasing. According to a Doordash report on online ordering trends, diners prefer to order directly from you, the restaurant owner, rather than from a third-party service:

Customers' preferred method of ordering delivery/pickup

create a restaurant order app Create a restaurant app so that customers buy from you, not a seemingly indifferent third party. Ever wonder, “Where do I start when I want an app for my restaurant?” Check out below: essential steps of restaurant app development, demanded features, and great apps for your inspiration. Also, mobile app development is explained.

Why should you create a restaurant app?

Why should you create a restaurant app? Because it makes your customers happy. When you create a restaurant app where customers feel comfortable, they will buy from you directly. Happy customers quickly become loyal customers. Of course, there are many more benefits you get from restaurant mobile app development. Consider the following reasons to create a restaurant app customers love:
  • Savings on fees and commissions
    When orders go through an on-demand delivery app, payments go directly to the restaurants. Because the restaurants no longer pay 30% marketplace fees, their profit margin goes up.
  • Lowering risk of dependence
    Using aggregators is a great backup plan for expanding an audience. However, if a restaurant becomes too dependent on aggregators who, without notice, drop them, the restaurant could be left with no revenue. Restaurant app development is your security plan to keep revenue ongoing and profit increasing. No third-party decisions will block your road to success.
  • Improved order processing
    Restaurants create a restaurant app to offer customers many types of services, e.g., priority table booking, food preferences (e.g., no garlic), special offers, no commissions for pickup orders, and more. Also, since the restaurant is responsible for the delivery, problems with 3rd-party delivery drivers disappear.
  • Improved UX
    Businesses create a restaurant app to make it easier for users to place an order. The easier it is to order, the more often they order.
    The old way using a website:
    • Open a browser
    • Type in the website name
    • Go to the website
    • Log in
    • Select food
    • Go to the cart
    • Add order details
    • Select payment details
    • Accept the order
    The new way using an app:
    • Open restaurant app
    • Select food
    • Order
    • Confirm order
    • Receive update notifications

    Notifications will remove uncertainty.

  • Bonuses and promotions
    Promotional campaign costs are at a minimum when a restaurant uses its own app. Moreover, it can create a restaurant app to help users keep all bonuses in one place. No more forgotten or lost loyalty cards.
  • Easy feedback
    When businesses create a restaurant app, the feedback/help button must be visible and available at a glance. If customers need assistance, they can immediately get in touch: potential issues are avoided; no bad reviews.
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Best app ideas and tips on creating an app for my restaurant

You might have already asked this question: how to create an app for my restaurant that customers want to use? When you create a restaurant app, roadblocks disappear and the user path is clear. You could create a restaurant app to add more fun to the food ordering. To inspire you, check out these innovative restaurant examples on how to create a restaurant app. Watch how others work on mobile restaurant app development:
  • foddie restaurant app
    Foodie is Tinder for restaurants. This free app helps users find the best restaurant in their location based on pre-defined preferences. Users can set up their location by entering a zip code. They can filter restaurants by categories, price, distance, etc. They search through restaurants by swiping right or get a restaurant picked up by the app. The app works mostly for US users, but developers promise to expand to 32 more countries.
  • dominos pizza restaurant app
    Domino’s pizza
    Domino’s, the world-renown network of pizza restaurants, knows how to please its 85+ million active users with a smartphone app. They created a restaurant app that was actually a mini-Domino’s virtual store in a pocket. Domino’s AR configurator and real-time tracker add enormous value to the app. Users can see what they are ordering. They can track their order from any smart device, smartwatch, or smart TV.
  • resy restaurant app
    Resy is a simple table reservation app mostly serving US restaurants (promises to expand). The app lets end users skip lines and easily make table reservations for a specific number of guests. Users can navigate through different options and select the best offer. In some restaurants, they can order meals, pay for them in advance, and even leave tips. Reservations for special occasions are also possible. Users can also notify restaurants from the app if they are running late.
  • happy cow vegan app
    Eric Brent, HappyCow founder, wanted to simplify vegetarians’ lives. He has definitely succeeded in his mission by collecting the largest listing of vegan, vegetarian, and vegetarian-friendly restaurants worldwide. Users submit reviews and listings via a special form. Owners manage their listings via a special dashboard. HappyCow is available as a mobile app to ensure users can easily reach all relevant information. Available also in offline mode.
  • wine n dine app
    Wine n Dine
    Wine n Dine is an Instagram-like platform for food lovers. It lets users share food pictures, follow other users, explore recommendations, and more. Users can look through myriad photos or upload their own to get reward points and win prizes. Restaurants can create visual menus on their profile pages. Users can save ‘dishes to try’ via the “Wanna Try” feature. The app reminds users about previously desired dishes when they arrive at the restaurant.
What is the biggest challenge of any restaurant app development? A product owner must create a restaurant app to enhance customer experience. Make sure you create a restaurant app that focuses on this. Disappointments result in negative reviews. Consider these tips as a part of your restaurant app development process:
  • Beta testing
    To avoid wide negative feedback, start beta testing on a limited but loyal audience. Provide them rewards in return on their recommendations. Analyze feedback and introduce changes in the next version.
  • App promotion
    Ensure your customers know all the benefits of your app. Promote your app on your website and on your social network profiles. Hang posters in your restaurant with download links and/or with a QR code that takes your customers straight to your website. Perhaps add a promo code to entice them to get the app.
  • Multichannel approach
    An app for my restaurant works best with frequent customers. First-time and occasional customers might not be that interested. Make sure occasional customers can easily get in touch with you via an aggregator, a social network, messenger bot, website, or phone.
  • App Clips
    When you create a restaurant app, App Clips is another option to serve customers. They can use your app without needing to download it. When they download it later, Apple automatically transfers the data.

Four-step restaurant app development process

Success of restaurant app development depends on many factors. One of them is the technical side. Usually, it is possible to create a restaurant app in four steps:
  • App discovery and planning
    At this stage, the development team clarifies details and provides a plan on how they create a restaurant app. If source code is available, the team does code inspection to ensure they can add required functionality. A business analyst or UX designer prepares wireframes. This helps detect possible bugs and flaws and gives precise estimates.
  • Software development
    When the project roadmap is ready and the business owner accepts the wireframes, the technical part of mobile app development for restaurants starts. Here is what the team does to create a restaurant app: User interface – UI designer prepares screen layouts, icons, color schemes, etc. Coding – software developers program different parts of the system. What technology should the team choose to create a restaurant app: Native iOS app development or Android app development vs. cross-platform app development? The answer depends on project complexity. Cross-platform technologies work best for simple apps. For complex apps with sophisticated features (e.g., GPS or iBeacons integration), it’s best to use a native approach to create a restaurant app. QA and testing – QA engineers check already-produced parts of the code for bugs and flaws. For mid-sized and complex projects, automated testing is required.
  • Launch
    When the team finishes the app codebase, it is deployed on the production server and published in the app stores. Deployment – source code is available to users. Publishing in app stores – app stores have different policies. Team helps prepare a package for a store which is sent on review.
  • Post-launch activities
    Post-launch guarantee – a reliable development team provides a guarantee period to fix bugs and flaws at no extra cost (e.g., IT Craft provides a 1- to 3-month guarantee). Ongoing app maintenance – the development team/support team delivers necessary system updates and monitors app uptime 24/7.

Restaurant app development: app types and common features

There is no universal path to follow on how to create a restaurant app. Before restaurant app development starts, make sure you create a restaurant app that contains necessary features. Decide first, “What should the app for my restaurant do?” There are different app types:
  • reviews and finder app – promote restaurants via user feedback
  • table reservation app – eliminate waiting in line and associated frustrations
  • visual menu app – create a restaurant app to shorten decision time
  • on-demand app – help users with takeout
  • loyalty app – manage rewards and bonus points
  • tip calculator app – free guests from guesstimates
  • social media app – share impressions inside the community of food lovers
Add here, you create a restaurant app for internal use:
  • POS (point of sale) system – decrease order processing time inside a restaurant
  • food management software – manage restaurant kitchen workflow
  • table management app – organize waiters’ workflow
Or you can create a restaurant app that combines several types.
restaurant app development

For a detailed feature list, please click this link. A pdf file will open in the next tab.

For a detailed feature list, please click this link and it will open as pdf file in the next tab.

Please refer to “B2B Order Management Software for Food Manufacturers: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices.” for more about how food order management software works.

Costs to create a restaurant app

A restaurant app will cost its owner $25,000 to $110,000+ based on the average Eastern European $50 – $55 per-hour rate. Costs needed to create a restaurant app: number of hours developers spend on the project times vendor’s hourly rate. Now let’s analyze in detail how much it costs to create a mobile app for a restaurant. Below are example estimates on restaurant app development costs:
  • An alone-standing app for ordering.
    Users can sign into the app using email or social network accounts. They can browse through the menu. The app lets users create, manage orders, and send them via a third-party API for further processing. Essential, personal details, such as history and favorite meals, are available. A third-party payment system processes user payments. The app manages basic information from users such as name, contact information, and delivery address. No credit card information is stored. It is possible to create a restaurant app of this type within 500 – 600 working hours.

    It will cost $25,000 – $33,000.

  • An on-demand food delivery app.
    This kind of app can contain advanced search, feedback, delivery for now, and more. The app lets users track their orders in real time. It sends notifications to ensure users know when their order arrives. Apart from a user app, the system integrates an app for restaurants and an app for delivery drivers. It also contains an admin panel for user management. To make a timely delivery possible, data needs constant synchronization. It is possible to create a restaurant app of this type in a range between 1,300 – 1,600 working hours.

    It will cost $65,000 – $88,000.

  • Custom kitchen management system.
    A fully custom solution takes the most time and has the least predictability regarding how much it costs to create a mobile app for a restaurant. A custom management system affects the entire process. It can integrate different apps for customers, POS, kitchen managers, and delivery drivers to exchange data seamlessly with the system. It lets you control inventory and ensure quality management. System owners benefit from auto-generated reports. Different access levels are possible. Scope of work needed to create a restaurant app of an advanced type starts at 2,200 working hours.

    It will cost $110,000+.

restaurant app development

Do you want a delivery app for a fraction of costs?

IT Craft can help launch an on-demand food delivery app using a custom-built app engine.

IT Craft’s expertise in restaurant app development

Mobile app development for restaurants on time, on budget: IT Craft has helped startups and established businesses create a restaurant app that met end-users’ highest expectations.
  • itechcraft logo
    restaurant app development


    Mobile app
    This Australia-based startup created a restaurant app for both café owners and their customers. Café owners use the app as a POS. They set up a customized menu. They can easily manage payments and print receipts. Using proximity-based iBeacons notifications are also possible. For customers, the app makes it possible to use virtual coffee cards and even share them with friends. The IT Craft development team worked with a back-end team in another country. IT Craft developers ensured real-time data synchronization and zero-downtime—no client app stayed idle.
    • Zend Framework 2
    • PHP
    • MySQL
    • Objective C
    • QRCodeGenerator
    • Linux
    • Apache
    • ZBarSDK
    • iBeacons

In conclusion

“Should I make an app for my restaurant?” This is up to you. However:
  • if you feel too dependent on third-party platforms,
  • if your customers want to buy from you directly,
  • if you both want to spend less time clarifying order details…
…the answer is “Yes! You need to create a restaurant app.” One more point for you to seriously consider. A development team is a crucial component of restaurant app development. When you choose to create a restaurant app with an outsourcing team, you need a team that can manage your expectations. This is where IT Craft comes in. IT Craft has helped over 2,250 companies. This company can help create a restaurant app for you and launch it successfully. This is what makes IT Craft the perfect go-to restaurant app development company:
  • Reliability
  • Transparency
  • Expertise
  • Experience


  • How much does it cost to build a restaurant app?
    Costs needed to create a restaurant app depend on app requirements. Based on complexity of mobile application development, restaurant app development costs as follows:
    • simple app can cost $25,000 – $33,000 for 500 – 600 hours
    • average complexity app can cost $65,000 – $88,000 for 1,300 – 1,600 hours
    • complex app can cost $110,000+ for 2,200+ hours
  • What is the best app for restaurants?
    From a customer’s point of view, the best apps make it possible to find a dinner with no hassle. Here are some of the apps:
    • Resy
    • UberEats
    • Domino’s
    • Wine n Dine
    • Foodie
  • What features should a restaurant app have?
    The following functionality is an absolutely must-have when you create a restaurant app:
    • Sign in
    • User contact information
    • Restaurant menu
    • Cart
    • Payment module
    • Order status notifications
    • Help/Get in touch
  • How do restaurant apps work?
    This is how restaurant apps work:
    • Open the app.
    • Select food and drinks.
    • Go to the cart and check order details.
    • Add commentaries, if needed.
    • Select payment options and pay.
    • Apply bonuses, if an option.
    • Order confirmation displayed.
    • Restaurant receives an order notification and starts preparing food.
    • Users track the order in real time on the map and/or receive update notifications.
    • When delivery option has been selected, the restaurant assigns a deliverer.
    • Deliverer sends proof-of-delivery after correctly completing delivery.
    Ensure to include all essential steps when you create a restaurant app.
  • Why should I create an app for my restaurant?
    You shouldn’t create a restaurant app if you have insufficient resources. However, if you plan to grow and improve your business you need an app. Consider the following reasons to create a restaurant app:
    • lower order-processing expenses
    • control over data and processes
    • improved customer experience
    • direct, branded communication channel with customers.
  • How can I improve my food app?
    When you improve or create a restaurant app anew, think about shortening user path. If you can delete any screens, do it. Next, schedule user interviews to verify your assumptions. Ask users about their experience:
    • What is great?
    • What can be done better?
    • What prevents users from using the app?
    Analyze feedback and incorporate it in the new updates. Also, focus on the tech side of restaurant app development. Ensure:
    • App is stable and does not crash.
    • Server has 99.8% uptime.
    • Orders are calculated correctly.
    • No order or parts or order gets lost.
    It is not possible to create a restaurant app in one iteration with a perfect UX. Make as many iterations as needed. The more focused you with the correct details you are at the beginning, the fewer iterations needed.
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