5 Things You Need To Know Before Creating Restaurant Finder App

Restaurant industry finally gets closer to a customer: you can easily find the best restaurants around, order food from your phone or book a table, pay for a meal, and even leave a review as well.

The market is growing rapidly, and more people are trying to start a business in it. Our team already finished a couple of restaurant-related mobile applications, and we would love to share our experience on it.

If you would like to learn how to make a restaurant finder app, and make an app for foodies, or would like to learn more about the industry - let's start!

Table of contents
  1. Application types
  2. Main application sections and features
  3. Business Model
  4. Admin Panel
  5. Integrations
  6. Summary
More interested in Travel applications? Check our earlier blog post from our developers on how to start a travel app.

1. Application types

Restaurant App - Types

First of all, let's talk about application types in restaurant industries. We could divide them into the next categories:

  • Restaurant Finder: allows people to find the best restaurants around them, read and post reviews, view details about each selected restaurant, and more. Best examples are Zomato, Yelp, and of course, one of the apps we worked on - Crave Halal. Average development time for a mobile application for one mobile platform takes at least 2 months, and prices start from $10,000. Curious how to build app like Zomato? Read on!

  • Table Booking: mobile application which helps users to book a table in a restaurant. A user can find a restaurant, almost like in a finder app, view available dates and times, and book a table. The application also has a mandatory admin panel that will allow restaurant managers to synchronize booking schedules. Approximate development time: 3 months. Simplest application in this field for iOS or Android can cost $12,000 and more. Popular examples: OpenTable.

  • Food Ordering: category name already describes what the app is about. When a user opens Food Ordering app, it shows different cuisine types and different restaurants. After app will display the menu with available foods and drinks, allowing him to choose anything, add to cart, and checkout. Just like with Table Booking, this category of applications will also need an admin panel, where restaurant managers will be able to view new orders, customers' info, update order status and delivery info, and more. Application examples: Uber Eats, or one of the apps we worked on previously: MenuPoint. Building of the service like this can take 3-4 months, depending on complexity. Prices start from $14,000 for one platfrom (iOS or Android or Web app), depending on the number of features.

  • Restaurant App: application for each particular restaurant. Sometimes offers all the categories mentioned above in one, but will be related to one restaurant only. Examples: Starbucks App. Timeframes and prices differ a lot due to the very different number of features. Some application only includes some basic information about the restaurant (around a month, less than $7,000 per platform), others allow to book a table, order food online, and leave a review (3 months, $14,000 or more for ome platfrom - iOS, Android or web app).

We worked on applications in most of these categories and would be happy to share our experience and create a restaurant guide app for you. If you already have an idea about an app for restaurants and need help with development - just let us know at mail@mova.io

In this particular article, let's focus on restaurant finders. Other categories will be covered in the next chapter.

2. Main application sections and features

Restaurant App - Sections

So you decided to build Zomato like app. But which features are the most important ones, and have to be implemented in the very first release?

  1. List of restaurants around. This is the core of the application. When a user opens the app, we retrieve his location, and getting restaurants around him. Optionally, we could provide venues suggestions, that would find restaurants according to user's taste.
  2. Search and filter. Even though we already have a list, it won't be very helpful to the user. When you create Zomato like app, we should allow him to select restaurants by cuisine, price range, opening hours, rating, and so on.
  3. Restaurant details. If the user found something interesting - he will be interested to learn more. Photos, reviews, menu, business hours - the more info we can include - the better for engagement.
    4.Reviews and ratings. The social part of the application, which will allow users to leave their reviews to the restaurant. Without them application might feel boring - it is always better to read real users' feedback about a restaurant, with real photos and comments.
  4. Registration. If we want users to leave their comments on restaurants, we have to add a registration and user profiles. However, if you make Zomato like app, it should not be mandatory - users' don't need to spend time on registration, if they only want to browse places nearby.
Another popular application type - Dating. Tinder itself has 8.2 millions of users, and the market is always growing. Read more on how to make a dating app like Tinder, how to monetize it, and more.

3. Business Model

Restaurant App - Business Model

Ok, so now we know which features app has to have to be successful when you develop a restaurant guide app. Now, let's think about monetization. Even though we want an app to help users, and make their life simpler, and their meals better, we also want to make a sustainable and profitable business. So how restaurant finder can earn money?

  1. Premium Listing: every restaurant owner interested to increase the number of guests. When your application will have enough users, restaurant owners can pay a small fee to put their restaurant on top of each list.

  2. Reviews management: before going to a restaurant, every user will want to view restaurant info and its reviews. Restaurant owners might be interested in an option to manage reviews, keep good one on top, and answer to bad ones, figuring out why issue happened, and find ways to resolve it.

  3. Custom Restaurant Details page: to attract more viewers, restaurants can have custom Restaurant Details pages for a small fee. For example, we could build a restaurant guide app that. will show some additional info that will be available only to premium restaurants: happy hours, discount coupons, custom theme, custom data, and so on.

4. Admin Panel

Restaurant App - Admin Panel

When you make an app like Zomato, the mobile application is not the only product that we will work on. You will also need an Admin Panel (usually web based), that will show you the list of restaurant that you already have, list of users, and more.

You might need to think of base features that you might like to control from the admin panel, like advertisements, restaurants that have to be on top of each list, restaurant details update, and more.

5. Integrations

Restaurant App - Integrations

How to make a restaurant guide app that will be fun to use? One interesting way to do it, is to add social integrations to the app. For example, in Restaurant Details screen you could show photos from Instagram at a restaurant location. It will help a lot when you just start marketing the app: user base won't be that big, and not every restaurant will have enough photos. In this case, Instagram photos will help and will make Restaurant Details more interesting.

Another option when you build app like Zomato is adding Facebook integration. Users will be able to login with their Facebook account, which will save them some time, and will be able to share reviews through your app on Facebook. Making a beautiful sharing post template will help attract new users to the application.

Or showing additional ratings for the same restaurant from Foursquare or Yelp? There are lots of possibilities to improve user experience with details like this.

If you are also interested in music streaming application, you can check our previous article. We hare our knowledge on how to make a music app like Spotify, make a successful business out of it.


We just tried to cover the most important features and things to considers when you create a restaurant finder app. Prices and timeframes depend on user interface complexity, a number of features and settings, and so on.

If you would like to develop Zomato like app, or in any other - just write to us at mail@mova.io. We already worked on some successful applications (check Crave Halal or MenuPoint), and we would be happy to help with your project as well.

Have a question? Just write to us at:
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