How to Get Started With Restaurant App Development in 2023

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  • By Sandeep Kumar
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  • clock 10 minutes MIN READ
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  • calendar Updated: June 17, 2022

With the increasing demand for mobile app development, every business wants to reach online users, and the restaurant business is not left behind. You heard it right!

You might be thinking, why go with mobile app development for restaurantsif there are third-party apps available where any food business can list themselves and earn, like Zomato, Ubereats, etc. Still, consumers prefer restaurant apps rather than searching for a restaurant on third-party apps.

This article will discuss the restaurant app development process and things to consider while developing a custom app.

Restaurant Mobile App

Restaurant apps are like other on-demand apps where customers connect to restaurants or restaurant chains through the mobile solution. Brands like Domino’s and Starbucks have custom mobile apps. Approximately 63% of its customers are pleased with the native Starbucks app because mobile apps offer vouchers, loyalty points, gifts, and more to attract new users and retain old customers.

Restaurant App Development Stats

Restaurants are not limited to the offline business. Every restaurant has picked its speed to keep up with the changing circumstances. Here are some key facts and figures about the development of restaurant apps.

  • Sixty-seven percent of Americans prefer a restaurant’s app or website to place an order.

  • Early-stage businesses account for around 50% of all investment deals.

  • Food delivery apps in the U.S. produced $111 million in revenue in 2020 and $5.9 million in the UK. The use of delivery apps such as DoorDash or UberEats boosts restaurant sales by 10% to 20%.

  • The demand for restaurant mobile applications is growing. Nearly 89 percent of adults now use smartphones to find restaurants. Close to 36 percent prefer to make table reservations via restaurant apps. More than 25 percent now want to order and pay from the table via an app.

  • Total investments in the food and beverage sector rose to $15 billion in the first half of 2021.

  • 91% of restaurants plan to invest in automation services to manage operating procedures.

1. Apps to Find Your Restaurant

If you are thinking of letting users locate a restaurant online according to dining, cuisines, and food items, you need to develop a restaurant locator app. You need a large database of cafes, restaurants, etc., of different locations to develop such apps.

You can take Yelp, OpenTable, and Urbanspoon to create a locator app. Restaurant finder apps must offer various features like geo-location and detailed restaurant descriptions such as location, distance, pictures, etc.

Key features

  • User profile

  • Uploading of photos or videos

  • Restaurant information like menu

  • Review & ratings

  • Activity stream

  • Filter for locating restaurant

  • Photo gallery

  • Push notifications

  • Restaurant listing

  • Map views

  • In-app messaging

  • Ingredients selection

2. Online Ordering and Delivery App

To fulfil the customer demand online food delivery app is a must with the required features. The app allows users to find restaurants nearby, check the menu, place orders, and track order delivery online.

  • Full-service app

    These apps are designed without additional features as the developers do all the coding.

  • Delivery service apps

    These apps offer flexibility to restaurant business owners to connect to delivery providers to deliver orders to customers from their favorite restaurants, for example, Zomato, Swiggy. etc.

Key features

  • Restaurant search & listings

  • User profile

  • Real-time chat

  • Card registration

  • Menu

  • Card registration

  • Automatic payment

  • Order details/history

  • Order booking

  • Reviews and ratings

  • Notifications

3. Table Ordering and Payment App

The on-table order and pay app allow customers to use an automated method to order and pay at their table without contacting waiters. When human-to-human interaction is low, technology promises to bring them closer together.

The app has a feature that allows you to place an order from the app menu, and automatically, the order goes to the kitchen display system (KDS). Furthermore, after having the meal, customers can make payment online and give a tip to the staff.

Key features

  • Menu

  • Order details

  • Bill split

  • Order Ahead

  • Reordering

  • Automatic tipping

  • E-wallet integration

  • Paying at the table/counter

  • Email receipts

4. Reward and Loyalty Program App

Loyalty program mobile apps are developed to make customers aware of new food deals given by push notifications, alerts, or reminders. Now customers no longer have time to interact with waiters to find out offers or benefits.

Also, the mobile app tracks the customer count(new+old) due to online campaigns. For instance, Starbucks is the leading loyalty program app.

Key features

  • Rewards such as gifts, discounts, & complimentary drinks

  • In-app menu

  • Rewards scheme on birthdays

  • Last-minute bookings option

  • Advance payment

  • Mobile order

  • Offer updations periodically

  • Conditions for user rewards

  • Free-in-store refills through notifications

  • Music playing at any outlet to their playlist within the app

  • In-app survey

Benefits of Restaurant App Development

  • Customer Satisfaction

    A well-designed app seamlessly transitions from finding restaurants, selecting food items, ordering plates, making online payments, and tracking orders until they are delivered, adding appeal and refining the end user’s experience.

  • Brand Value

    A mobile app that enables users to access and identify local restaurants from any location, as well as order their favorite foods without being bound by a device, is a significant value addition to the business.

  • Better Booking Response

    When it is possible to reserve a table for a convenient time, the customer feels free to complete other tasks before sitting down to eat at their favorite restaurant. A restaurant mobile app that offers this convenience encourages more people to use the facility.

  • Payment Option

    The payment made through the interface is the most important step for a business owner when a user orders food online. This can be done anywhere using an app with integrated third-party payment modules.

  • Reviews

    Restaurant apps help businesses in collecting input from customers. Testimonials have a major impact on ranking. Notifying customers to review a restaurant and giving fast feedback through a mobile app is much more effective than social media sites as it helps you reach a larger audience.

Step by step restaurant app development process

Conduct Market Research and Look for Loopholes

Before developing a restaurant app, market research is important to understand your target audience, the loopholes your competitors failed to address, and much more.

Business Plan

Once you have a proper idea of your target market, you must concentrate on planning a business strategy and choosing your business model as per your app idea.

Hire Development Team

It is crucial to hire professional and experienced restaurant app developers who have prior background in developing restaurant apps. To do so, look for the portfolio of the development team before taking the conversation further regarding your app. You can also hire freelancers as they will charge you less, but sometimes they don’t have a development team like mobile development companies.


Developers have the option to choose several APIs to expedite the development process.

  • Regarding Information on Restaurants

    Foursquare/ Zomato APIs draw all restaurant-related data.

  • For Location Services

    Google Maps and Places integration is a must to add navigation and recommendations features. For Android, Google’s Location API, and for iOS, Core Location Framework will work.

  • Reservations and POS System

    Rest APIs allow users to select the same table for dining. APIs include Omnivore, Deliveroo API, and Simplicity.

  • Recommendations

    APIs like Qloo API can be used for recommendations.

  • Payment Gateway

    For payment gateway integration, Android, Apple Pay APIs, Braintree, Stripe, and PayPal are best.

  • Track Delivery

    Integrate Shippo API for tracking.

Choose a Tech Stack

After deciding on the development idea and app features, the next step is to look for the technology stack to develop a restaurant app. Go for either native or hybrid platforms for Android and iOS app development. For example, Flutter for hybrid apps, Kotlin/Java is used for native Android apps and Swift/Objective-C for iOS native apps.

 iOS appAndroid appHybrid app
Programming languagesObjective-C, SwiftKotlin, JavaFlutter
ToolkitApple XcodeAndroid Development Tools, Android Studio 
SDKiOS SDKAndroid SDKFlutter SDK
Back-end developmenPython, Java, PHPPHP, Python, JavaPHP, Python, Java

UI/UX Design

A simple yet unique UI/UX design guarantees a better user experience. It’s the designers who design UX wireframes and app logos. They also create user-friendly navigation and element layouts as per the latest trends that users will love.


  • Menu

    Do you wish to create a restaurant app? Adding menu screens is the key feature. Your app should showcase food images, a comprehensive ingredient list, and information about modification possibilities.

  • Online payment

    Give your customers all online payment options to make the payment process easier for them. Allow them to make payments using a single click, as this will not irritate them, and they will surely come back to you.

  • Table reservation

    Consider adding an online table reservation feature while developing your app. In this era, voice calls are slowly becoming obsolete, and customers prefer to book tables online than in person or by calling.

  • Social media integration

    Many people prefer to click the picture and most social media rather than eat it. Thus, allowing your customers to share photos and feedback on dishes on social media increases your business reach and is a great way of promotion.

  • Nearby Restaurants

    If you have restaurants in several locations, says Domino, consider a geolocation feature to easily help customers find your place.

  • Loyalty programs

    Loyalty programs are nothing but offering your loyal customers vouchers, special deals, rewards, and discounts to attract new audiences and retain older customers.

  • Push notifications

    The push notification feature to notifies customers about upcoming deals, order status, active coupons, etc., and is a fantastic way to connect to your customers and draw their attention.

  • Online orders

    Online order features reduce the time customers spend at a restaurant and increase sales. Order online functionality can be ordering food with delivery or ordering food and picking it offline, or you can implement both features.

  • Quick order

    This feature allows users to repeat their previous order with a single click.

  • Chatbots

    It is an excellent way to improve customer service by answering frequent questions quickly. There are innumerable solutions on the market that can be integrated with a restaurant app, avoiding the need to develop them from start to end.

  • POS Features

    Using an app to place an order expedites the process. During rush hour, people dislike having to wait for waiters. They prefer to order in advance of time and have waiters deliver their cooked meals.

  • Ratings and Reviews

    Rather than pushing customers to ask waiters about every dish include a feature that allows them to review comments and testimonials. Such features are useful for exploring restaurants and making informed decisions about which one to visit and what to eat.

App Development

In this stage, developers code and implement features, third-party APIs, etc.; in other words, they transform your idea into a real restaurant mobile app.

Deploy and Test an App

Quality testing is crucial before launching an app. The testing team goes through app inspection and fixes bugs at this stage.

Application Launch

Once a mobile app is ready, it’s time to launch it on the Play Store and Apple store once the pre-and post-marketing phases are scheduled.

Post App Launch

Once the app is on the Play Store and Apple store, the next step is to look for users’ feedback and keep on updating it with new features.

How much does it cost to develop a Restaurant app?

The total cost required to develop a mobile restaurant app depends upon various factors like the location of developers, tech stack, features, etc. Although a small app costs $50,000, a restaurant app development with extra features costs $140,000, and a bespoke restaurant app with complex features costs $280,000.

To Conclude

This article covered everything about developing a restaurant app, from its definition, key features, and tech stack to launching an app.

You have to brainstorm a restaurant app development idea, and professional restaurant app developers will handle the rest. So, hiring a development team with experience in custom mobile app development and knowing to implement advanced features for a fully functional application is a must.

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