How to Design a Food Delivery App: Our Experience in the Dringet Case
According to Statista, food ordering and delivering segment revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 10.01%, resulting in a projected market volume of $449,292m by 2025. As online food deliveries are in demand due to social distancing, more and more businesses want to be a part of the market.
In this article, we want to describe our experience of building a custom food delivery management software and share some insights into the process.
We worked on a web and mobile order delivery system: Dringet. It was designed for convention halls, concert venues, food trucks, crowded bars, board game cafes, fairgrounds, festivals, and parks. The app allows customers to capture the food and drink orders that you would otherwise lose to long lines.
Core features of a food delivery management system
Source: Dringet - Agente case
A food delivery app usually has three user roles: the customer (the one who buys), the vendor, (the one who produces), and the runner (the one who delivers). Each user role needs individual app features.
The customer should have an ability to:
- Choose from a menu of food and items and orders from a vendor. The food and items page should have pictures, prices, potential add-ons with prices (cheese, mushrooms, extra shot of espresso etc.), special request free text area, and a subtotal which lists delivery fee.
- Pay with credit card or cash. The app should offer multiple and secure payment options for the finest on-demand delivery experience.
- Create a profile that will save their information such as profile picture, phone number, recent orders, and vendors.
- Order products anonymously or after authorization to see the purchase history.
- Choose to pick up the food items.
- Receive updates on their orders. For example, “Food is issued /ready for pickup, Order out for delivery, Headed to you, Order arrived.”
- Track orders in real time.
- Get support. The app should provide a customer chat support option to contact a runner.
- Tip the runner when the food is delivered.
The vendor should have an ability to:
- Register on the website and create a profile that should include their business, the area they are willing to deliver to, and the menu they are willing to serve along with pictures and items, as well as pictures of each runner they have employed.
- Get notifications with a constant alert until they accept a customer’s order.
- Have the ability to accept or deny an order from a customer.
- See the status of all incomplete and complete orders.
- Change the status of an order to say that it is ready for pickup.
- Assign a runner to an order.
- Send one of a set of stock messages to a customer (for example, “out of stock,” “too busy to deliver,” etc.)
- Send out an alert when and where they have stopped (for mobile vendors).
Source: Dringet - Agente case
The runner should have an ability to:
- Create a profile with a photo and contact details.
- Have a map view of all customers that with orders that they are assigned to.
- Select one of the customers on the map and be led to the customer by a GPS compass.
- Check a photo of the customer with tracking arrow and distance.
- Pick up an open order from a vendor.
- Have a button to alert the customer about the upcoming order.
- Close out the delivery of an order (status changed to order arrived).
The functional set above is basic. It’s always possible to extend the list with your own specific features.
The challenges of food ordering app development
Delivery app development is rather feature-packed and complicated as it involves multiple user roles. The biggest challenges are:
- Route optimization. Customers want their food to be delivered as quickly as possible. It’s crucial to calculate the best route that will take less time for a runner, taking into consideration the current situation on the road.
- The number of user roles. Each user role has its own scenarios that need to be worked out. It’s also important to see how the scenarios of all three user roles work together.
- High load. Sometimes, there are too many customers, and both vendors and runners can’t physically serve all of them at once. It’s important to think the high-load scenarios through and make sure all customers get exactly what they ordered as fast as possible in the current situation.
While working on Dringet, we came across several further challenges.
We needed to ideate and design a food ordering app with a user-friendly interface and accomplish app design and landing page development in two months. Agente analyzed the architecture of the food ordering app for the target audience and suggested the following solutions based on the market scenario:
- Design wireframes and user experience to speed up order processing.
- Gather the killer features that can be integrated within the app.
- Work on branding and logo design to make the app more recognizable.
Delivery management system tech stack
When you develop an app for food delivery, multiple features need multiple technologies. We’ve prepared a list of essential APIs that can be changed depending on the project:
- Restaurant listing
- FourSquare API
- Grubhub API
- Payment gateway
- Square API
- Find user location
- Core Location Framework
- Google Maps
- Google Places API
- Push notifications
- Amazon SNS
- Urban Airship
- Firebase Cloud Messaging
Examples of technologies for food delivery application development (in reality you can choose any):
- Backend services - Python, Ruby, PHP
- SQL databases - MySQL, PostgreSQL
- NoSQL databases - MongoDB, Cassandra, ElasticSearch, HBase
- Message Broker/Queue - Kafka, RabbitMQ, Amazon Kinesis, Google pub sub, ActiveMQ
- Frontend - Angular, React, Vue and other JS technologies
- Mobile app - Android, iOS, Hybrid app
How to design a food delivery app?
The classic process of food order app design involves three stages: Design discovery, UX design and UI design. We will describe all the stages on the basis of our case, Dringet.
It’s an important stage in a food delivery app design as it allows you to come to a common understanding of the project, reduce risks, gauge the project budget, and receive quick feedback from your clients.
During the discovery phase, our UX/UI specialists determined what the final product will look like. The Agente team always applies design thinking, which is reflected in the process:
- We structure all the ideas properly, and formulate the strategy of the actions with temporal and financial benefits in mind.
- We create user personas, user stories, user flows, information architecture, and low-fidelity wireframes.
The following artefacts helped us to define the project’s functionality and prepare for further design stages.
- User personas represented the various user types with their needs, experiences, problems, behaviors, and goals.
- User stories demonstrated how a particular feature would deliver a particular value to the customer, vendor, and runner.
- User flows showed how a user should go from their entry point through a set of steps towards a successful outcome and final action.
- Information architecture gave us a visual representation of the app’s infrastructure, features, and hierarchy.
- A low-fidelity wireframe with a basic layout helped us to focus on the key purpose and functionality of the food delivery application by deliberately excluding specific details like colors, fonts, logos, and exact sizing.
UX design involves wireframing and prototyping. It means creating a layout of an app displaying the interface elements that will appear on each page. Think of it as a design plan.
The essential purpose of this stage was to provide a clear visual understanding of the app’s usability on multiple devices. This way, our designers and developers could make necessary adjustments and reviews before the creative phase began.
Source: Dringet - Agente case
We accomplished food delivery app UI design by making high-fidelity UI mockups, which are more in-depth iterations of the wireframe outline. A mockup is a static wireframe that includes more stylistic and visual UI details that present a realistic model of what the final page or application will look like.
Our mockup included additional visual details such as:
- Colors, styles, graphics, and typography
- Navigation graphics
- Styled buttons and text
- Component spacing
Mockups are needed in order to understand and communicate the look of the final interface, giving stakeholders a chance to preview design and style choices.
Source: Dringet - Agente case
Best practices in designing a food delivery system based on our experience
When you build a custom food delivery app, make sure you follow these recommendations and best practices to stay competitive in the long run:
- Stay current with market trends. The food delivery industry is heavily reliant on trends. However, there should be a balance between popular features and something specific, so that you don’t make a copy of another app. For example, Dringet is a street food delivery app, which allows customers to order food even from mobile trucks.
- Identify critical app features. A food delivery app should have a few basic features that all users expect. Don’t forget to include them along with your unique functionality. For example, users need quick and easy search, order status, real-time courier monitoring, convenient payment methods, customer support, and promo codes.
- Create a reliable project infrastructure. Aggregators and new deliveries with logistics support require a huge effort invested in server-side software. Be ready for a sudden influx of users to the service, as that will affect everything: server performance, network hardware, the application’s ability to handle competing requests on its own, and so on.
- Establish logs for everything. This way you can trace the source of the problem with ease. You will better understand the app’s behavior so that you can diagnose and prevent potential issues.
- Provide the security of a mobile app. Sensitive data (payment and contact details) must be encrypted and stored securely to avoid data leakage and misuse of the app’s business logic.
- Make a clutter-free admin interface. It will help to get more work done in less time. Vendors will be able to process more orders per minute, and faster order processing results in higher customer satisfaction.
- Ensure responsiveness across all devices. It determines how users will accept and experience your application. If the app is buggy, no one will use it continuously. No user will stick around if your app page takes a long time to load.
- Perform color analysis. This specific UI procedure is crucial to make your app appealing at first sight. For example, white is associated with truth and simplicity, violet with quality, red - excitement, green - refreshment.
How much does it cost to design and develop a food delivery app?
The cost of a food app depends on several factors: the number of specialists involved and their rate, as well as the project’s scope.
The essential team for building an application from scratch may include:
- Project manager
- Art director
- Technical lead
- Frontend developer
- Backend developer
- Mobile developers.
To save your budget, we recommend starting with an MVP version. It will help you assess the relevance of the application among the target audience, with a minimum of killer features and simple and intuitive design. The first version of the app can be developed within two to three months. The cost starts from $20,000.
As the online food delivery segment is expected to show a revenue growth of 16.6% in 2022, it’s high time to join the party and offer your own unique solution. An outsourcing company with extensive expertise and tech stack can be a good-fit solution since it is less costly than an in-house team.
We are sure Agente’s experience with online food ordering and delivering systems design and development will come in handy. Reach out if you have a plan to develop food order delivery platform
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