How much does it cost to make an app like UberEats? Just like every app, the cost of development comes down to three deciding factors: feature set, time, and hourly rate. If this sounds similar to our last blog, How much does it cost to build an app like Uber?, it’s because this formula is a constant across all apps.
As we also went over in our blog about the cost of developing an app like Uber, the most expensive part of any app is actually post-development. This is due to app marketplace standards dictating the need for developers to provide continuous maintenance and update to an app’s code, infrastructure, and UI.
User retention is key to an app’s success – especially for an app with a business model like UberEats. Let’s look into the feature set that provides the platform for an app like UberEats.
First off, we need to segment the app into four different apps, those being an individual app for the customers, the restaurants, the delivery drivers, and the administrators. It is common practice for apps that require different feature sets to interact with a particular user to have different screen show depending on what the type of user is currently engaging with it – effectively creating individual apps.
To continue using the example from our previous blog, Uber; once a user selects that they are a rider, they are brought to the rider app – the same is true for drivers – once “driver” is selected, they are brought to the driver app. Both of these apps work in tandem with each other, but offer completely different feature sets, and thus show different screens.
As previously stated, an app like UberEats would be split into four different apps:
UberEats’ feature set
Register / Log-in
Apps like UberEats make use of a login feature – this means users can save their delivery address, payment, and other info their account, therefore speeding up the process and bringing more value to the user.
For the user side of an app like UberEats, it is absolutely necessary to include a search function. In order for this search function to work, it must be able to search through the individual data points of your backend servers that house your restaurant data – proper logic and organization of your backend system is critical to decrease the time it takes the app to search through these data points.
A family simple feature, the cart allows users to keep track of what they have already added to their order.
Payment services give users the ability to pay their driver directly though the app using a credit or debit card, as well as promotional codes – this feature is usually achieved through payment service APIs like Stripe or PayPal.
Order tracking is a quality-of-life feature users have come to expect in the past few years – in order for this feature to be successfully implemented, a few different features must be used: GPS, and real-time updating.
Rating and Reviews
Users are able to leave ratings and reviews for restaurants that are aggregated in a database that can be remotely accessed by other users – this requires a connection to your backend servers.
The UI is the layer of the app the users interact with; for UberEats’ customers, this would be to order food and put in the necessary delivery and payment info.
Register / Log-in
Delivery drivers use their account to keep track of payments and orders – accounts are also necessary when payments are involved; deliver drivers have their account info and payment info tied digitally together in the app.
In order for delivery drivers to keep track of where an order needs to go, they need some way to manage the orders they currently have – in order for an app like UberEats to be able to tell a driver where a specific order must go, it needs to be able to access the backend servers remotely – it also needs access to GPS and mapping, as well as location services and navigation.
Updating of order status
The delivery side of the app must constantly provide the customer with real-time updates as to the driver’s current location – to do this, it must connect to the backend servers and provide location data taken from the app’s GPS, mapping, location services, and navigation features.
Register / Log-in
Restaurants need to be able to create an account for the app as well – this is so they can update menus and other information as it changes.
Restaurants need a way to manage their orders as well – this is put in place so the restaurant doesn’t need to contact the customer with a question; the order management system provides all the details they need to make the order – a feature like this would require sharing data over a remote server between the customer app, the restaurant app, and the delivery app.
Updating the order status
Just like the delivery portion of the app, users have come to expect to be informed as to the current status of their order while it is being prepared – just like the delivery app, this would require real-time updating over a remote server.
This would function the same as any other log-in feature, but it would provide access to the administration portion of the app.
This feature would give the administrator access to the data tables that create the organization structure that houses restaurant data – after a restaurant joins the app, the administrator would add their profile here.
This feature, which can be achieved through API integration, is necessary to the processing of payments.
The cost of developing this four-in-one food ordering app would range anywhere between $100,000 to $250,000, and sometimes even more. Scale plays a large role in determining the development cost of your app.
Also keep in mind that an app like UberEats that requires the participation of individual businesses has to budget for the acquisition of those businesses. It is easiest to start with smaller, local businesses and move up as your platform gains traction in the market.
UberEats’ tech stack
In the same vein as our previous blog about Uber, UberEats exists mostly on the backend – while the simple UI exudes simplicity, the backend systems required to handle so much real-time updating and data sharing would be both extensive and costly.
Storing and transferring data, whether it happens through physical servers or via the Cloud (which is still stored on physical servers somewhere anyway), is expensive, and requires significant infrastructure and time spent optimizing the organization of data.
In order to create and maintain a stable backend, you must invest significant time and resources – both infrastructure and human.
UberEats’ maintenance and updating costs
The costs of maintaining and updating an app comes down to the total collective salary of your entire development team.
This cost is necessary to an app like UberEats, however – only the best apps stay on top. In fact, the average mobile user in the US will spend 90% of their time engaging with their personal top five apps.
UberEats knows what keeps their app in users’ personal top five apps is the experience it provides – and this is why they spend so much money maintaining and updating their app. If their servers are unresponsive, or provide outdated data, users will move on to a different app without these issues. If their app doesn’t keep up design trends and new device screen resolutions, users will, again, abandon their app in favor of one that does.
An app is never finished
This is why the cost of developing one never has a set number – the longer your app is around, the more money you will spend on it – but these should be measured against the lifetime profit of your app.
While the coding and design of your app’s feature set are one-time investments, keeping your backend running and your frontend up-to-snuff will constitute continual, regular costs, as they are necessary to maintaining and increasing your app’s user retention.