How Do Food Ordering Apps Work? Complete Guide for Beginners

how do food ordering apps work

The online food delivery system is integral to our daily lives and provides convenience to order food online. However, have you ever wondered how food-ordering apps work? The answer lies in this blog.      

Numerous successful online food apps like Grubhub, Caviar, Postmates, and DoorDash are available that provide the best services to their customers. They are successful in this business because they use the latest technologies that have been used for ordering food online. All these food ordering apps are the backbone of the food delivery startups and serve as the central store for placing and receiving orders.

To create a food delivery system like these well-known applications, you need to know these things:

  • How do food ordering apps work?
  • What are the models of online food delivery systems?
  • What features you should include in your food delivery application?
  • What common challenges face when building a food delivery app?
  • How much does it cost to build the food delivery app?

So, let’s start and get complete details. 

How Do Food Ordering Apps Work?

Below are some steps that show how food ordering apps work.

  • First, the customer signs up with the food delivery app by providing basic information. After signing up, the customer starts scrolling the restaurant menus.   
  • The customer adds the food items to their cart. 
  • Customers can apply coupons and discount offers, before making the payment. 
  • Customers select the preferred payment options from multiple methods.  
  • When the customer places the order, the restaurant receives the notification. Once the restaurant accepts the order, the customer gets notified about their order acceptance.  
  • Customers can know the order preparation time from the app.  
  • The restaurant owner contacts the nearest rider and informs them about the food pick-up and delivery. 
  • The rider picks up the food from the restaurant and proceeds with the delivery.
  • The customer is notified that the rider is on the way.    
  • When the food is delivered, the customer can provide their feedback about the food, taste, quality, and rider.

What Are The Models of Online Food Delivery Systems?

In developing the food delivery app, you need to know what business model you should use for your delivery system. Choose the top food delivery business model for your business. Check their pros and cons and then select the business model. 

Two models are used for the online food delivery system.

1. Aggregator Model

This model acts as an intermediary between customers and restaurants. Customers place orders from the platform and the platform forwards the order to the restaurant. 


  • Data security
  • Lower costs
  • Improve customer experience 


  • No control over the food quality
  • Provide a few food selections

2. Order and Delivery Model

In this model, the food delivery platform operates its delivery service. The online food delivery system receives orders from customers, prepares the order, and delivers to the customer.  


  • Easily maintain the food quality 


  • Hire additional persons to deliver orders
  • More rely on the delivery partner than restaurants 

What Features You Should Include in Your Food Delivery Application?

Every restaurant app should have top-notch features that make it successful and a great way to attract customers.   

Let’s explore the essential features of a successful restaurant app for customers, restaurant owners, riders, and admin.

For Customers

Push Notifications This feature notifies customers of new deals, offers, discounts, or special items. With this feature, the customers get engaged and use your food app more.  
Multiple Payment MethodsOnline food ordering is more comfortable if the customers get a lot of payment choices. The more easy payment options will enhance sales and allow customers to order from anywhere in the world. 
Deals and Discounts Offering deals and discounts is a great way to keep customers returning. With this feature, the customers save money and get rewards.
Integration with Social Media This feature allows customers to post food photos and comments on social media platforms. It can increase organic marketing and is an excellent way to reach your customer base. 
Order Tracking Customers can track their orders on the online food ordering and delivery platform. This feature can keep them updated on their orders from food preparation to delivery. 

Providing clients with real-time order status information is a great way to build trust.   
FeedbackThis feature lets customers give feedback about the product or service. 
Customer ratings and reviews may help you improve your services and increase reliability.  
Order HistoryCustomers can look into their past orders or previous order deliveries. 
Customization Allow customers to customize their orders according to their preferences. For example, if you’re allergic to any ingredient you can write them in the instruction box so the restaurant does not add them to your food order.  
In-App ChatCustomers can chat with riders and restaurants via the in-app chat feature.  

For Restaurants 

Features Description
Order Tracking Restaurants can track orders and keep track of all the orders that are delivered and pending. 
Change StatusRestaurants can change their status online and offline according to their availability. 
Push Notifications Restaurants send notifications to customers for any new deals, changes in their orders, special discounts, and more.  
Order DetailsRestaurants can view the complete customer details on the restaurant delivery management software
Print Invoice It is an important feature that lets restaurants print invoices. Restaurants can keep all the invoices digitally and save them from any fraud. 

For Riders 

Features Description
Order History From the food rider app, the riders can check their order history and know which orders they deliver and which are pending.
Notifications The riders also receive notifications from the restaurant for the new order. 
In-App ChatAllow riders to communicate with the customers if they don’t find the location. Customers can also add special instructions to the rider; if they want a contactless delivery, they can add the specific place where they place their order.    
Change the StatusRiders have the option to change the status online/offline. 

For Admin

Features Description
Customer Management From the admin dashboard, the admin can access customer feedback, customer information, emails, deals, reviews, etc. They have the visibility of all the profiles.  
Reports and AnalyticsThe app can help admins view the entire database of the restaurant’s business including sales, taxes, payments, commissions, costs, wastage, etc.  
Website ControlAllow to access the data on a website and customize the logo, name, add or remove the content, etc.   
Delivery System Management Admin has the visibility of all the deliveries and they can monitor them in real-time without any hassle.

What Common Challenges Face When Building a Food Delivery App?

While there are some benefits to creating the food delivery app, there are also some challenges associated with it.  

Let’s discuss the challenges that you face when building the food delivery app. 

Managing Logistics

It is one of the biggest challenges faced by many food delivery business startups. This usually happens in the beginning when you cannot manage big orders. Also, you can face problems like selecting the specific areas for food delivery, allocating the right number of vehicles, and prioritizing order requests.

Furthermore, you can resolve this issue using the food delivery management system with features like location tracking, order scheduler, geofencing, etc.     

Inconsistent Food Quality

It is another big challenge for the delivery partners to deliver meals to customers located far from the kitchen. The longer the travel time and distance between the kitchen and the customer, the greater the likelihood of food quality being affected. Certain types of food, such as fried items or dishes that need to be served hot, may lose their freshness, crispness, or temperature during transportation.

To address the challenge of inconsistent food quality for deliveries to distant customers, businesses can take several measures. These include optimizing delivery routes to minimize travel time. 

Building a Strong Customer Base

Nowadays, online ordering platforms are constantly rising. Therefore, the customers are overwhelmed by the choices. In that case, engaging new users and making them stick to them is not an easy task. 

To solve this issue, you can offer better deals, incentives, and loyalty programs to engage and retain customers. Focus on creating an app that is user-friendly with advanced features such as food tracking, search functionality, etc, can also help to make the user engaged.      

Partner with the Right Expert

Partnering with the right restaurant partner requires a lot of effort and careful consideration. You can start by clearly defining your goals and objectives for the partnership. Determine what you hope to achieve by partnering with a restaurant, whether it’s expanding your reach, offering new services, or enhancing customer experience.

Menu Management

Managing menus, including item availability, pricing, customization options, and dynamic updates, can be challenging. Ensuring that the menu information is synchronized in real time and accurately reflects the restaurant’s offerings requires careful implementation and data management.

Payment Integration

Integrating secure and convenient payment systems within the app is crucial. This involves working with payment gateways, ensuring PCI compliance, and handling different payment methods such as credit cards, digital wallets, or cash on delivery. Security and privacy concerns need to be addressed to protect sensitive user information.

Platform Compatibility

Ensuring the app works seamlessly across different platforms, such as iOS and Android, can be a challenge. Each platform has its own set of design guidelines, user interface components, and performance considerations that need to be taken into account.

How Much Does It Cost to Build The Food Delivery App?

The cost of developing the food delivery app can depend on these factors:

  • Number of features
  • Number of platforms
  • Technology stack

However, the food app usually costs about $25,000-$50,000. This amount can vary according to the above-mentioned factors. 

Moreover, if you want to build the iFood clone app and Postmates clone app, the cost is around $20,000-$40,000. This cost range would most likely be charged by the food delivery app development company if you hire the food app developer. 


  1. Do food delivery apps make a profit?

Food delivery apps make a profit by charging the restaurant a commission for each order placed through the app. Also, the app charges a small fee from the customers. 

  1. What are the steps in the ordering process?

Below are some steps that are involved in the ordering process.

  • Order placement
  • Order preparation
  • Order picking
  • Order delivery


Now, you know how the food ordering apps work with their features and cost. Therefore, if you’re running a food business and want to create a food order app, it is crucial to know before starting work on it.  

You can also consult Enatega and get the best multi vendor food ordering system for your business. You can customize the app with features that meet your business needs and boost sales and revenue. 

So, book a free demo with us, and our experts will help you take your food business to new heights.

About the author

Hudaibia Khalid is the creative force behind the blog—a maestro of words and ideas. Her distinctive style not only imparts wisdom but also leaves an indelible mark, transforming each post into a captivating journey through her unique perspective on the world.


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