Before so-called food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Swiggy and Zomato became popular, Dabbawalas of Mumbai with their simple collaborative model of delivering homemade lunch to the city professionals and workers was already well-known as a unique model built upon an everyday necessity. Over the years, an array of online food delivery apps mushroomed across India. For urban middle-class Indians ordering restaurant foods through these apps has become the new fad.
From web services to deliver homemade tiffin to the right person at the right time to deliver delicious delicacies from your preferred restaurants, online food delivery services are now able to cater to every food needs. The spectrum of food delivery apps consists of a variety of services ranging from food apps for delivering restaurant delicacies to homemade tiffin delivery apps such as Spoonjoy, Mealboat, and FreshMenu that delivers homemade foods to your doorstep. These apps have emerged as the movers and shakers of the food industry with limitless possibilities for growth, expansion and revenue.
Understanding The Global Story Of Online Food Delivery
Around the world, the vast majority of food delivery services are mostly run through region-based portals ranging from the big ones having a nation or continent-wide presence to the delivery services that cater to the population of a single state or region.
In the US, online food delivery services dominate a considerable portion of the food delivery market. In 2015 alone, the market capitalisation of online food delivery services was $4 Bn. A recent survey indicated that alone in the US, around 43% of the customers have agreed to avail online delivery services for their food needs at different times of the day and night.
On a global scale, especially in countries with a large chunk of the affluent middle-class population, the popularity of the food delivery apps is continuously on the rise. In urban India, the overwhelming reach of mobile apps among youth and a great number of unemployed youth having scopes of employment as delivery valets became positive factors behind the popularity of such apps.
Let us list out the key growth factors for the Indian online food delivery services whether running their businesses through websites or mobile apps or both.
- Affluent middle-class population with a consistent spending capacity on variety of foods and restaurant delicacies of their preference.
- High speed access to mobile web and smartphone devices for a considerable population.
- Mobile apps playing the role as a key lifestyle factor for majority of population.
- A variety of popular cuisines and cosmopolitan tastes to try different food delicacies.
- A thriving food scene with a variety of quality restaurants serving delicacies with different price tags.
- Increasing demand for faster and timely food delivery.
- Competitive pricing aggravated by promotional offers and discounts being a key motivation for the customers.
If you look closely, each of these factors is common to the urban Indian population who are increasingly getting into an affair with the online food delivery apps.
On-demand Food Delivery Business Models
To understand how online food delivery services work, you need to have an in-depth understanding of their pertaining business models. Well, there is not a single type of food delivery services in India. There are quite a few different types and their differences are largely the outcome of the business models they follow.
Apart from a few innovations in the food delivery business models, grossly there are 3 main business models that are found with a vast majority of online food delivery services.
Order Only Model
Most of the early on-demand food delivery services follow this model. According to this model, the business just works as the facilitator of order and delivery of foods between the restaurants and the customers. Gathering more orders is the key aspect of this model and as this model is not focused on value, over time the food delivery services switched to other matured models.
The integrated model focuses takes care of the entire value chain starting from the order to cooking to the delivery process. This type of services became popular for restaurants and guilds of food-makers who wanted to take advantage of the business opportunities by ordering foods directly to their customers doorstep.
According to this model, the restaurant remains responsible for both the food quality and the delivery of foods. Apart from the restaurant to customer food delivery service, this models also gave birth to hub kitchens catering to particular localities with different menu options for everyday.
This model has come up as the more mature model by addressing the shortcomings of the first-generation order facilitator model. Though this model is only focused on the delivery of food and leaves the cooking to the restaurant, it allows listing of all available restaurants based on food and order availability, quality ratings, customer preference, cuisine and several other parameters.
By listing vendor restaurants on an aggregated platform and by completely taking care of the delivery system, this model optimises the business opportunity like never before.
Those days are gone when online food ordering platforms came as a new and innovative way to catering food to the doorstep of the customers. Everyday new food ordering services are mushrooming. On the other hand, the market opportunity is still lucrative as the demands of doorstep delivery is continuously increasing.
This is precisely why, the competition is only favouring the online food delivery services with engaging website UI and smooth user experience. It is not a surprise that most of the leading online food delivery services boast of beautifully design, sophisticated and highly customer-centric websites that makes food ordering a pleasant experience.
Let us provide some of the useful tips for building a superb website for your online food delivery service.
Homepage of your food delivery website is where most customers will gather the first impression about your business brand and the ordering experience. So, homepage design needs meticulous approach to each and every component.
Let’s have a look at the key homepage features that a food delivery website should have.
- Above the fold and at the top layer the website should offer sign-in/sign-up followed by a search option for restaurants and food.
- Below the search field the main body of the homepage should showcase various exclusive food dishes to entice the attention of the audience.
- You should also offer engaging and attention-grabbing tagline like “Get your favourite food delivered in minutes.”
- You need to incorporate a location picker feature at the top of the homepage as these services feature restaurants based on customer location.
- When the customer chosen location and provided delivery address, show it at the top of the homepage and allow customers to change it.
Help Easy Onboarding with a “How It Works” Section
Your food ordering website should make it easier for the first-time or inexperienced users. A “how it works” section should help them get oriented. The key areas this section needs to cover include the following:
- How to order food and use filters to search favourite food?
- How to use optional filters like discounted options, restaurants with freebies, etc.
- How to track delivery and communicate with the valet, restaurant and the support team?
- How to make payment with the available payment options?
Testimonials, Reviews and Ratings
This is an important area of your website to build the reputation of the service over time by using customer testimonials, reviews and ratings. In the homepage dedicate an area where you showcase the real opinions of the customers about your service.
The login/signup process should be simple and intuitive requiring quickest time to complete it. Using a pop-up with options for either one-click guest login or social login option through Facebook/Google/Twitter or traditional log-in process through email, these are the key sign-up process.
The key strength of online food delivery services is the wide range of food options representing diverse cuisines they provide. Having the exposure to a wide variety of menu and delicious food options is the biggest impetus for most customers choose online food delivery platforms. This is why, you need to give utmost importance to the food listing more than anything else.
- Each listed food item on the page should offer an exquisite look and feel of the food.
- Use high-definition images that make the food look really delicious.
- The food listing should allow customers to see exclusively veg and non-veg food offerings.
- The food listing in every restaurant menu should follow the time-tested convention beginning with the starter, veg and non-veg main course sections, cereal and bread, desserts and accompaniments. You can further add a “Bestseller” and “Previously Ordered Item” to the top of the menu to help quick ordering.
- You can also allow customising food in the menu by adding portions or choosing different spices or ingredients.
Other Key Sections
Other key sections of your food delivery website should have the following attributes.
- It must have an account section for every client and should offer details such as wallet balance, payment history, contact details and delivery addresses.
- You must provide users a wallet section comprising the payment history, available balance and points (equivalent to purchase currency) credited to the customers.
- You must provide a dedicated section for adding, editing and deleting delivery addresses as per the user preference.
- You should also provide a detailed section for order history comprising order details, order delivery date, order amount and order status.
- The search function of the website should offer different choices and filters including type of meals, cuisine options, options based on delivery timing, discounted food offers and particular food choices.
- The order placement should be seamless, fast and pretty effortless. After ordering the user should instantly see the GPS map and the order status. The same page should allow contact details of the delivery valet, restaurant and the support team.
- The mobile website of any food delivery service should over GPS tracking on the location map to stay updated about the delivery status and the location of the delivery valet in real time.
How To Develop An UberEats-Like App
While a food delivery website is something you must start with, you need to have a fully-featured food delivery app sooner or later. As your customers starts coming to your platform again and again a dedicated and native mobile app will help them stay connected and give your business more sales opportunity.
A mobile food delivery app should offer all the above-mentioned features as listed and explained above. When you build the mobile app interface of your online food delivery service you need to create actually 4 different interfaces, for customers, for delivery valets, for restaurants and for the admin of the service
Customer app: This will work similar to the food delivery website for the customers and help them order food online effortlessly. Just like the website interface it will have different restaurant menus, freedom of choice with a variety of food items, different payment options and options to track orders on GPS-enabled map.
Delivery driver app: This app interface is created specially for the delivery valets who can use this to get notifications of orders allocated to them, get details of the location and payment options.
Restaurant app: This dedicated app interface for the restaurant owners help them receiving and accepting orders, keep track of the delivery valet and manage payment.
Admin app: This admin-specific app interface is in charge of controlling all other app interfaces including the ones for restaurants, delivery valets and customer orders. Apart from this the admin panel takes care of customer support, payment processing, discounts and promotions.
Online food delivery platforms will continue to prosper and become more popular as their presence is expanding beyond the hyper-smart metropolitan cities into small cities and towns of India. While big players are still focusing on the upmarket affluent urban Indian population, regional food delivery services can focus on the underserved small town population and take a large pie of this booming industry.