Cost to Develop a Food Delivery App like EatClub and Zesty

Food Delivery Mobile App Development Cost
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Cost to Develop a Food Delivery App like EatClub and Zesty

Last Updated on November 25, 2023

Cost Incurred to Develop an App like EatClub and Zesty

With the advent of smartphones and easy access to high-speed mobile internet, the world is literally at one’s fingertips. Various mobile Applications or popularly known as Apps are making this a reality. The most popular categories of Mobile Apps are gaming, messaging, social media, online shopping. A report by Statista stated that global revenues from mobile apps for 2019 were over $462 billion and are estimated to grow to over $935 billion by 2023.   

The hectic lifestyles and the complexities of work have created a need for mobile food delivery apps that allow for easy and fast accessibility to food/meals that suit varied tastes and dietary choices. This has led to a boom in Food on-demand Apps. The on-demand food delivery space has popular restaurant delivery apps like Zomato, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Food Panda, etc. to specialized Apps like Munchery, Caviar, EatClub, Zesty, etc. According to a report by, online food on-demand business in North America was valued at $18.8 billion in 2018 and is expected to increase to $ 37.7 billion by 2024.

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What is Unique about EatClub?

EatClub is an online food delivery app that offers on-demand meals/ snacks to office goers, especially lunch service. It was one of the leading food delivery apps.EatClub was inspired and designed based on the system used by the famous Mumbai-based Dabbawallas. EatClub’s meals are customized to suit individual employees’ (s) requirements and tastes and are individually packed meals and delivered to the corporate teams at the assigned pre-agreed timeline. EatClub employs a nutritionist/ dietician available to employees for a consultation on specific diet restrictions/requirements.  The app offers more than 100 curated dishes every week, prepared by award-winning chefs from nearby restaurants. EatClub guarantees 99.7% on-time delivery for its meals.

EatClub uses an integrated App to control the entire food delivery process from order to food procurement and preparation to the final delivery to the corporate clients. EatClub has served more than 18 million-plus meals to more than 5000 companies. EatClub’s clients include Facebook, Postmates, and many others in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Related Read: How to Build An App Like Postmates

How Does EatClub Work

There are three main components of the EatClub App:

  • The employee / User Front
  • The Restaurant Front
  • Logistics and delivery

On the Employee Front:

  • The individual employee/user downloads the EatClub App, creates a profile, and logins to the app.
  • The user chooses the items from the curated selection of meals available on the app and customizes it as per dietary requirements.
  • Orders can be placed a week in advance.
  • Choose the time of delivery.
  • Finalize and place order
  • Make a payment.
  • Food is delivered to the employee at the chosen location.

On the Restaurant Aspect:

EatClub works with a massive network of both Restaurants / Commercial Kitchens to deliver these customized meals. These Restaurants can prepare more than 150 – 200 meals per day while Commercial Kitchens can cook more than 500 meals per day. Since orders are received as early as a week in advance, the Restaurants / Commercial Kitchens are well equipped to handle the orders and can avoid food wastage.

Logistics and Delivery

EatClub uses its proprietary technology and logistics services for delivering customized meals to corporate users.

EatClub’s Revenue model

EatClub employs a subscription-based revenue model. During the initial stage, the app generated revenues from individual subscriptions from employees. Later on, EatClub pivoted and focused on generating revenue via subscriptions from member companies. The member companies had the option of either subsidizing employee lunches or link to an employee meal program. This move was a win-win for both EatClub as well as the member companies. EatClub increased its subscription revenue manifold when it got Companies as members compared to revenues from individual subscriptions. On the other hand, Companies realized that offering lunch benefits to their employees helped attract and retain talent while boosting overall productivity. EatClub gets around 87% in repeat business.

About Zesty

Zesty provides customized healthy and nutritious meal solutions curated from local restaurants to corporates. It can handle office teams’ food requirements as small as 20 employees to large corporates with 1000+ employees. The app offers all meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and specialized meals for special occasions/ events. Zesty specializes in providing customized meals to employees based on their health needs and dietary preferences. Zesty allows employees to enjoy delicious yet healthy and nutritious meals that are tailormade and curated by its team of dieticians. Zesty’s dieticians work with the chefs of some of the best restaurants across cuisines in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each meal offered by Zesty details its nutrition value and calorie count and is delivered and served by a team of “Catering Captains.” This allows employees to get personal attention while the Catering Captains get real feedback from employees enjoying meals.

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    How does Zesty App work?

    Zesty has four main aspects covering the entire process from when the user places an order until the final feedback.

    • The User Front
    • The Restaurant/caterer Aspect
    • Logistics and Delivery
    • Set-up and Clean-up

    The User Front:

    • The user downloads the Zesty App, creates a profile, username, and password to log into the app.
    • Select the meal from the curated menu as per the day of week or occasion.
    • Each dish can be chosen based on nutrition value and calorie count and customized for dietary restrictions.
    • Select the time of delivery.
    • Finalize order and make payment
    • The meals are delivered to the venue at the specified time.

    The Restaurant / Caterer Aspect

    Zesty works with popular restaurants and catering companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Zesty’s in-house team of dieticians work with the chefs of local restaurants/catering companies and curates a menu of different dishes balanced in terms of taste and nutrition value. Each dish provides the calorie count, including additional dietary information viz., gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, high protein, high fiber content, etc.

    Logistics and Delivery

    Zesty has an in-house logistics and delivery system. The Catering Captains are the critical link that seamlessly works with the backend team of Zesty, partner Restaurants/ Caterers, and Corporate Admin/ representative.

    Set-Up and Clean-Up

    The Catering Captains handle the entire process from the collection of food from the Restaurant / Caterer to delivery to the client venue.

    They are in constant communication with the backend team of Zesty to address any issues (like a shortage, quality of dishes, etc.) at the earliest.

    Once the service is over, these Catering Captains are also responsible for winding up and cleaning the client space.

    The catering Apparatus and utensils are sent back to the place of origin.

    Since the Catering Captains are physically present at the client’s place, they can get first-hand feedback and handle real-time issues without wasting time.

    Zesty has an emoji feature for the Catering Captains to receive feedback from the client and its superiors like a smile or a thumbs-up.

    Related Read: How Does Foodora Work?

    Zesty’s Revenue Model

    Zesty’s earns its revenues from a combination of subscriptions plus a commission from partner restaurants/caterers. Zesty directly ties up with companies with an employee strength of 20 – 500 people. Companies are interested in providing healthy and high-quality food and service to employees and are willing to pay a bit extra for it. Therefore, Zesty can charge a premium as compared to an individual-based subscription. As Zesty is involved at every stage of the entire process, it has better control over the quality of service provided.

    The need for a Food catering App aimed at a corporate clientele is fulfilled by Zesty.

    There is increasing awareness about eating right and staying healthy, and many office goers find it challenging to carry home-cooked lunches/meals to offices. On the other hand, Corporates are also realizing the value of human talent and therefore going all out to keep them happy and productive.  

    A 2018 report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on employee benefits revealed that the number of companies offering free food and beverages increased by 32%. This suggests that despite the availability of numerous food on-demand Apps, there is enough space to develop new Apps addressing the corporate world’s catering needs.

    How to develop a Food Catering App

    The first step is choosing the business model for the food app. The level of sophistication and complexity in developing the Food Catering App will depend entirely on the business model. This will also determine the number of staff hours required to build the app and, therefore, impact the cost of developing the app.

    food on demand app categories

    There are three main categories of Food on-demand Apps:

    Order Only Model:

    The Order only model is the basic model wherein the App provider acts as a front-end for restaurants to get orders from customers via the app. This model is a sophisticated version of the earlier phone-order system used by most restaurant chains. The App provides users with menus of restaurants in their locality to choose items of their choice. The app is mainly responsible for bringing orders to restaurants and increasing its business. Once the said restaurant receives the order, it is responsible for the entire process from that point onwards, including meal preparation, meal packing, dispatch, and delivery. The App revenues are generally from the commission on each order or a % of the restaurants’ order value.

    Order and Delivery Model:

    In this model, the Apps handle the order and delivery aspect, while restaurants are responsible for food preparation and packaging. The App provides a user interface displaying all nearby restaurants’ menus. Once the order is finalized, and payment is received, the order is sent to the chosen Restaurant. The Restaurant is responsible for preparing, cooking, and keeping it ready to be delivered to the user. This model has an additional need for an interface to be used by delivery persons. Once the Restaurant indicates that the food is ready for pickup, the system identifies the delivery people nearest to the Restaurant. The delivery person is directed to the Restaurant and provided details of the user to whom the delivery is to be made. The delivery can be tracked in real-time. The App owner controls two main aspects of the food delivery – order and the actual delivery. The benefit of this model is that it can cover even those restaurants that do not provide delivery. This model earns its revenues from member clients via subscription and or from % of cut from partner restaurants for handling the delivery.  

    Comprehensive Delivery Model:

    This model covers the food delivery chain’s full business service from receipt of order to logistics and supply, including the final delivery is covered by this type of app. The App has complete control over the entire process: order taking, food preparation, packing, logistics support, or the actual delivery. Since the app has control over each aspect of the food delivery business, it is likely to be more successful. However, this model is complex and requires a high degree of sophistication. The revenue from such a model is much higher than the other on-demand food catering Apps.

    Once the business model is finalized, the next step is to develop an integrated system that works seamlessly, whether used by the user, the Restaurant, the delivery persons, or the payment gateway. The app will, therefore, need the following:

    User Interface

    One of the most vital aspects and the face of the app. The level of user-friendliness, ease of use, and ability to navigate the app are some of the must-have features in any suitable user interface:

    • Creating profiles with information on basic things like name, delivery addresses, etc.
    • The ability to browse the selection of restaurants, menus, and then make a food choice.
    • Ability to customize the order
    • Payment gateway: This is the most complex yet essential pillar of the app to ensure process transactions seamlessly from various financial tools like food coupons, credit/debit cards, cash on delivery, and digital payment options like PayPal, Paytm, etc.
    • Order tracking in real-time.
    • Delivery and feedback.

    Restaurant Interface:

    This is the second most crucial aspect of the Food Delivery App. A strong network of restaurants offering high-quality and tasty food is the key to the success of any food-based App. This interface’s key feature is the receipt of real-time orders, quick meal preparation, faster cooking time, and readying it for dispatch and delivery. The complexity of this interface will depend on the business model chosen for the app.

    Delivery Person interface:

    This interface is aimed for use by the delivery person. This interface manages the process of identification of delivery persons available nearest to the Restaurant who agrees to complete the delivery by picking up items from the Restaurant and delivering them to the user. This interface should be highly user-friendly and easy to use for the delivery person.

    Realted Read: Types Of Food Delivery Apps and How They Work

    Key features to include:

    • Profile of delivery person, with complete information like name, driving license, security clearance, etc. Once the delivery person logs in, the interface would alert the App about his availability to fulfill delivery orders. 
    • Real-time maps can be used by the delivery person, the App developer, and the Restaurant. This can also include features like monitoring traffic on routes as well as suggesting alternate ways for both pickups from restaurants as well as delivery to App users. This will allow for timely pickups and deliveries.
    • This interface needs an algorithm that ensures that delivery persons are spread evenly across geographical zones covered by the app and can identify zones with a more significant number of restaurants or areas that generate maximum orders.
    • Complete information such as the number of deliveries per shift, the number of on-time deliveries, the number of happy customers, the number of customer complaints, etc.
    • In case the App owner is responsible for the cost of vehicle maintenance and fuel, the delivery interface should also have a system of monitoring fuel efficiency, the number of breakdowns, etc.
    • Payment Gateway: The key to a successful App is the development of a robust payment gateway. This is a critical software that allows users to make payments for services received securely.
    • Easy to use and input information
    • The highest level of security and encryption to ensure data safety.
    • A backend program that can easily encash orders from different payment tools.
    food delivery app development cost breakdown

    Food Delivery Mobile App Development Cost Breakdown

    Generally, the cost of building an app is dependent on multiple factors such as the location of the app development companies as they charge on an hourly basis, and it varies from place to place. For example, per hour development charge in the U.S ranges from $200 – $300, while in Europe it comes around $100 to $200. India-based developers charge in the band of $20 and $100.

    Breaking down the overall cost in specific parts:

    1. Expenses for Business Analysis:

    This stage is used to identify and define project value, scope, and produce a business solution. This part will take something around 60- 70 hours.

    2. App Design Cost:

    App design can be divided into three categories based on complexity: simple (60 hours), slightly intricate design (80-100 hours), and complex app design (100- 150 hours).

    3. Select the Technology Stack of Food Delivery App Development 

    Depending on the business model of the corporate delivery business, it might require specific technologies. Below is a standard tech stack for such companies:

    Payment gateway

    • Square API
    • Braintree
    • Stripe
    • PayPal

    Find user Location

    • Core Location Framework
    • Google Places API
    • Google Maps

    Push notifications

    • Amazon SNS
    • Urban Airship
    • Firebase Cloud Messaging
    • Server: Nginx
    • Frameworks: Laravel
    • Database: MySQL and Redis
    • Hosting : AWS and VULTR

    4. Cost of App Development:

    “How much does it cost to make an app?” is a complicated question because every application has different needs and budgets.

    Of course, the choice regarding app functionality is much broader. The ones you choose will reflect on the cost of the development of your app.

    5. Testing and Quality Check: 

    Testing is essential to improve the app’s chances of working correctly under all circumstances and meet specific standards. It will take something around 100 hours for this.

    6. App Maintenance Cost:

    Maintenance is necessary for your application even if you have no new features on your plan. App maintenance includes:

    • Upgrading to the latest version
    • Upgrading an app with new technologies
    • Fixing bugs
    • Code improvement and optimization
    • Adding new features
    • Controlling app stability
    • Controlling the performance of servers
    • Scaling applications

    Developing the app’s front-end and back-end takes around 300-350 work hours, while testing takes an additional 100 hours.  So, the approximate time taken to build the app comes about 400 – 500 hours. Considering the median development cost per hour of approximately $50 to $100. The cost of developing an app like EatClub or Zesty may range between $25,000 to $50,000. With additional features and a choice of platform, i.e., iOS or Android, the cost can vary accordingly. It is essential to hire a restaurant app developer who can develop the app within the budget.

    Building an app like Zesty or EatClub may cost $5,000 to $30,000; however, the price may vary if you want to customize the on-demand application and add additional features.

    Bonus Tip: Reducing Developing Cost by White Label Solutions

    Since developing an app is an expensive endeavor, there is an alternative solution. You can deploy a white label app solution that is a ready-to-go pre-developed, pre-tested app solution that can be quickly customized according to the specific requirements.

    White label end-to-end solutions are provided by Oyelabs, where they do an in-depth analysis of your requirements and customize the framework solution.  Once you’re satisfied with the prototype, they will provide the branding and additional critical support, including testing, to be deployed seamlessly on app stores. Even once the app becomes live, the company will provide app support in regular updates.

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