The food delivery industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years with the rise ofplatforms like DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats and more. One of the early leaders in this space was Eat24, which pioneered the model of aggregating local restaurants onto a single online platform for easy food ordering.
Eat24 was founded back in 1998 and gained huge traction with its simple yet effective mobile-first approach. By allowing customers to browse menus, customize orders and pay directly within the app, they streamlined the entire food ordering process. Eat24 also handled delivery logistics directly or partnered with services like DoorDash to fulfil deliveries.
This model of digitizing the offline food ordering process captured the imagination of both restaurants and customers looking for a convenient alternative. By 2014, Eat24 was processing over $500 million in annual sales across 30,000+ partner restaurants in 500 cities. Walmart later acquired the company in 2017 for $310 million to leverage their food delivery expertise.
The success of Eat24 showed there is huge market potential if one can replicate their recipe of bringing restaurants online and catering seamlessly to the needs of mobile customers. In this article, we will do a deep dive into the Eat24 model and sharing step-by-step how you can develop your own Eat24 style food delivery platform to dominate the growing market.
The Eat24 Model
Let’s first understand the key elements that made Eat24 a leader in the online food delivery space:
Large Restaurant Network: Eat24 focused heavily on expanding their restaurant partner base across major cities. This allowed them to achieve critical mass and listings from a wide variety of cuisines. Extensive coverage made them a one-stop shop for food delivery needs. Checkout: https://zipprr.com/eat24-clone/
Simple Mobile App Experience: The Eat24 app experience was streamlined for an effortless mobile experience. Customers could easily browse menus, customize dishes, pay within the app and track orders in real-time. This convenience drove repeat usage and orders.
Integrated Payments: Eat24 integrated secure digital payments right within their platform through partnerships with payment gateways. This allowed for a frictionless checkout without needing additional apps or steps.
Delivery Options: Customers had the option to get their orders delivered or pick it up themselves. For delivery orders, Eat24 partnered with independent services like DoorDash for fulfilment based on location.
Promotions: Eat24 regularly ran deals, discounts and promos both for customers (e.g. first order deals) as well as partner restaurants (advertising packages). This incentive helped boost orders and retain users/restaurants on the platform.
User-friendly Design: The mobile app had an intuitive and easy-to-navigate design. Customers could quickly search restaurants, filter by cuisine/location and add items to their cart within a few taps.
This holistic approach addressing both business and customer pain-points is what helped Eat24 dominate the online food delivery space in the early days. Let’s now look at how to develop your own Eat24-like platform.
Developing Your Own Eat24 Style App
To build a food delivery platform similar to Eat24’s model, here are the key elements you need to develop:
1. Restaurant Listings and Menus
You need an extensive database of local restaurants along with their digital menus. Work on an admin portal where restaurants can easily self-onboard and manage their listings, menus, photos, operating hours etc.
2. Customizable Ordering Experience
Build mobile apps (both iOS and Android) that allow seamless browsing of menus, customizing dishes, adding options to cart and checking out orders. Integrate with the restaurant backend for real-time order and inventory management.
3. Integrated Payments
Partner with payment gateways like Stripe to enable customers to pay for their orders securely within your mobile app itself. Allow for options like cards, UPI, wallet payments etc. Integrate order notifications on payment success/failure.
4. Delivery Functionality
Build the capability for orders to either be delivered (via tie-ups with fleet partners) or picked up by the customer. Allow tracking order status in real-time. Work on dispatch and route optimization to ensure on-time deliveries.
5. Admin & Analytics Dashboards
Build portals where restaurants can manage profiles, menus, orders, inventory and sales reports. Similarly, develop analytics for yourself around orders, users, popular items/restaurants etc. Leverage data to optimize the platform over time.
This covers the core tech development needed to launch your minimum viable product. Additional features like profile management, saved carts, payments can be added iteratively based on feedback. Focus on perfecting the basics before expanding functionality.
A key focus should be onboarding local restaurants onto your platform. Some suggestions:
- Reach out to restaurants personally with a brief demo highlighting the growth Eat24 achieved through online ordering. Explain how they can get similar exposure.
- Clearly convey benefits like access to new pool of customers, hassle-free digital ordering/payments, real-time order and inventory management, sales reports etc.
- Explain your commissions/fees upfront (usually 5-15% of order value) which is industry standard and offers value-adds like payment processing, marketing etc.
- Provide easy onboarding via your restaurant portal – sign up, upload menus/photos, manage profiles etc. Ensure the process is simple and intuitive.
- Offer additional services like customizing digital menus, inventory management via APIs for an added fee depending on restaurant needs and size.
- Partner with restaurant associations for credibility and initial set of partners to showcase successes for references.
The goal is to get your first 50-100 restaurants live within 2-3 months through personal outreach. Partner successes will then help grow your network organically through references. Visit: https://zipprr.com/category/grocery-delivery-scripts/
Launch and Growth Strategies
Once your core product and initial restaurant partners are ready, focus on the following strategies:
Initially launch in a smaller pilot city to test your tech, processes and refine based on real user feedback before a larger market rollout. This minimizes risks from bugs during full launch.
- Use SEO optimization, social media promotions and partnerships for initial user acquisition at low costs.
- Run first order discounts/free delivery coupons to convert pilots into repeat users.
- Partner with popular local food bloggers/influencers for reviews and promote platform.
Continuously analyze metrics around user journeys, popular items, response times etc. to optimize site experience, discounts and upsell recommendations over time based on behavioral patterns. Learn how technology revolutionize the food delivery industry.
Once pilots prove successful, expand to nearby cities with a focus on large partner restaurants/chains already present there for scalable growth. This allows leveraging existing infrastructure.
Collaborate with high footfall locations like colleges, office parks, residential communities for group ordering deals and exclusives. Also partner delivery fleet logistics providers for expanding coverage areas.
The key is to focus on growth hackers like word-of-mouth, organic social shares and experiential marketing given initial capital constraints. Data and experience should guide expansion decisions for sustainable growth.
Monetization and Revenue Streams
In the initial growth phase, focus should be on expanding market share over profits. But some monetization avenues to explore are:
Commissions on Orders/Sales
This will be the core revenue stream, charging 5-15% commission on order sub-totals from partner restaurants. Rates may vary based on order volumes.
Advertising and Promotions
Restaurants can purchase promotional packages – homepage ads, exclusive deals, sponsored mailers etc. Pricing depends on campaign duration and targets.
Premium Restaurant Features
Offer paid tools for restaurants like custom storefront design, order analytics, marketing campaigns etc. Charge monthly/annual subscriptions based on tools.
A nominal delivery/pickup fee can be introduced eventually when the platform scales up. However, keeping initial transactions commission-free improves adoption.
In the long run, look to offer a white labelled solution for cities where larger restaurant groups/cloud kitchen operators want to handle their own delivery operations as a SaaS product.
The goal over 1-2 years should be expanding into 3-5 cities, adding 10,000+ monthly active users and 100,000+ monthly orders to reach a scalable operating model before exploring external funding. Focus on growth over monetization initially.
To summarize, developing your own Eat24-style food delivery platform involves focusing on the core elements of extensive restaurant listings, seamless mobile ordering, payments integration and delivery/pickup options.
The key is to then refine your product through real user testing during soft pilots. Growth strategies should leverage word-of-mouth, influencer marketing and data-driven optimizations to expand sustainability across cities.
Monetization avenues include industry-standard commissions on sales supplemented by ads/premium features for restaurant partners over time. With the right focus on experience, growth and an iterative approach – one can dominate their local markets and even scale nationally with an Eat24 inspired model.