5 Steps to Launching a Food Delivery App in South Africa

Dive into a comprehensive guide on launching a successful online food delivery app in South Africa. Here's your roadmap to thriving in a growing industry.

Dean Spooner
November 8, 2023
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In today's digital age, restaurants and franchise owners can tap into the burgeoning market of online food delivery, achieving expansive growth. If your goal is to amplify your reach, especially when considering app development in South Africa, there are pivotal decisions to make. Do you affiliate with existing platforms like Uber Eats and part with a service fee, or take the entrepreneurial leap and craft your very own app, claiming all the profits? 

South African Food Delivery Market Overview

The digital footprint of the food delivery industry in South Africa is expanding at a promising rate. The online food delivery segment in the nation is poised to attain revenues of approximately US$2.10 billion by 2023. Moreover, the trajectory looks bright with an expected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.84% for the years 2023 to 2027.

This flourishing market features several key players, including the likes of Mr D Food, UCook, Bolt Food, Uber Eats, and OrderIn, to name a few. As the market continues to mature, there are ample opportunities for new entrants to establish a foothold and capture a share of this growing pie. We present a comprehensive guide on how to successfully launch your online food delivery app in five essential steps.

Step 1: A Unique Custom Build

Every business is distinct, and your food delivery platform should mirror this uniqueness. While deriving insights from the current market is prudent, assembling a dedicated team to tailor the app to your specific needs is paramount. By opting for a custom build, you ensure the platform aligns perfectly with your vision, boasts a rich feature set, and guarantees secure payment and privacy configurations.

Step 2: Streamline the Process

Aim for utmost simplicity in the customer journey. The goal is for customers to order their preferred dishes in the fewest clicks. Design intuitive menus, ensuring add-ons to the primary order are hassle-free. One such example is UberEats which ensures that users can swiftly select their desired dishes and add-ons. Furthermore, harnessing the power of geolocation allows the app to auto-detect and deliver to the customer's current spot.

Step 3: Incorporate Engaging Gamification

Injecting fun into the food-ordering process can significantly elevate user experience. Consider integrating innovative gamification features such as delivery status bars, digital loyalty cards, or referral-based discounts to keep users engaged and incentivised. Domino’s Pizza Tracker, for instance, gamified the delivery process, allowing users to track their pizza's journey.

Step 4: Efficient Payment Systems

The ease and trustworthiness of the payment process can be a make-or-break aspect. Ensure your app aligns with the prevailing local payment preferences, promoting a seamless and reliable transaction for users. Concurrently, the payment architecture should mesh well with your business operations, mitigating excessive transfer or bank charges. A platform that does this well is Mr D Food. Their platform integrates with popular local payment methods, offering customers an array of trusted options while ensuring minimal transaction costs for businesses.

Step 5: Initiate with a Focused Target Area

Upon launching, prioritise a specific, manageable region that's logistically feasible for your service. This focused approach allows you to assess your kitchen's capacity to handle increased orders, ensuring you meet growing demand. As you solidify your operations and brand reputation, you can gradually expand your service radius. OrderIn, starting in Cape Town, meticulously expanded after mastering its initial market, ensuring quality remained uncompromised


Venturing into the realm of online food delivery, especially with the backdrop of app development in South Africa, is a dynamic endeavor filled with possibilities. By adhering to these 5 key steps, not only can you ensure a successful app launch but also carve a niche in the competitive food delivery landscape, all while optimising profits and enhancing customer satisfaction.

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