How Much Does It Cost To Create A Mobile App For Restaurants?

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People consider mobile apps because of “FOMO,” and the reasons are quite obvious.

Over the past few months, the internet has exploded with so many unique stories on how people are making obscene amounts of revenue through an app.

The influence of these stories translates to the Fear Of Missing Out, which leads to a rise in application demand across multiple sectors.

But, it’s even more surprising to see that restaurant brands are going the app route—something that was never expected before!

Nearly all Americans have a smartphone, given that almost every food business operator is super-excited about getting an app to extend their reach to every single citizen in the US.

So, should you invest in a mobile app or not?

Well, a survey conducted by Statista revealed that over 67% of U.S. consumers prefer using a restaurant’s own app; the remaining 33% are satisfied with a third-party app or website.

It states that you are absolutely going against your audience by ignoring the idea. But if such questions are bursting in your mind like —

  • How much does it cost to build a mobile app for a restaurant?
  • Are mobile applications a one-time investment?
  • Should I invest in mobile applications or not?

Read on. This article makes some convincing arguments in response to all those doubts you are having now. So let’s begin without wasting a moment.

The cost of mobile application development in the US

The global mobile application market size was recorded at $106.27 billion in 2018, rising to $187.58 billion by 2021. With a compound annual growth rate of 13.4% from 2022 to 2030, the application market is about to astonish us with more impressive figures in the future.

Given its rising popularity, application development charges are already soaring around the world. In the U.S. alone, a single application cost can be seen distributed in the given range:

  • Simple App Development Cost: $40,000 to $60,000
  • Average App Development Cost: $60,000 to $150,000
  • Complex App Development Cost: $300,000 to Unspecified Figures

However, the ultimate cost of an application is subject to change, as geographical location is an influencing factor. Such as application development in the U.S. states, e.g., Alaska, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, can invite some insanely high costs.

But the same application is expected to come at slightly lower charges in some affordable states of the U.S., e.g., Mississippi, Kansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee, etc.

Another thing that deserves your attention is that application development isn’t a one-time investment. You will have to keep coming back to the developer monthly or once every two to three months. The application requires scheduled maintenance, and there’s no way to avoid them.

How Much Can a Restaurant Mobile App Cost in America?

If you have long been making up your mind to have a mobile application for your restaurant but have had to step back due to an unclear perspective on the costing. So let’s face it.

Luckily, the business niche is also a determining factor for how much a mobile app can cost.

Such as, a restaurant application with a basic set up, having no flashy and promotional items can range in cost from $8000 to $15,000.

The cost will go higher only when additional features are inserted, e.g., 3D restaurant views, interactive themes, a 3D menu, and order tracking status.

The minimum cost can start at $25,000 and can go above the budget sometimes. The reason is bulky coding work and extensive time and effort going into the development process.

So, how much does it cost to build a mobile app for a restaurant?

The answer is that it can be anything between $8000 (for basic versions) and $25,000 or higher (for advanced versions).

Eventually, if you already have a well-working restaurant app that seeks certain tweaks, you also have the option to hire a developer at $120-$150 per hour in the U.S.

Building an application from scratch can be expensive. But if you already have a mobile application, you can outsource it to someone and get a renewed version of your app.

But it’s worth noting that they may be able to make only minor adjustments, nothing too great at all. Still, it can be a functional idea.

Why is a desired restaurant application so expensive to build?

A restaurant application isn’t expensive to build at all until personalized touches are requested.

In short, any application carrying only the basics, e.g., contact details, a short menu, and buttons to choose from, is a budgetary alternative.

But such mobile apps are useless as they serve no purpose. Given that, getting installs on them is tough.

Hardly anyone will pay attention to these applications except for the personal contact with the brand. That’s why applications are purpose-built, so that they become actionable and usable as well.

In short, they must be solving customer problems and should have the potential to stay in smartphones and be actively used by people.

But it’s only possible with the developer’s creativity on the application, and it isn’t a few days’ job. A typical application can take 2-3 weeks, while a large application can readily take 9–10 weeks to launch.

Niche-centric applications must be built by a developer who has previous experience in the respective niche. As such, you must hire an app developer who’s well-versed with the food industry.

They may provide you with a better outlook of the whole process and the expected cost to be consumed by some specific factors. How much it costs to create a mobile app for a restaurant may become clear once you review these factors.

Factors Affecting Restaurant Application Cost

Here are those key factors that commonly affect restaurant application costs.

The Personalized Touch

UI/UX design is one of the leading factors to draw stress lines on your forehead, as it can take an application beyond and above your expectations.

The section on app building is responsible for elevating the attractiveness of an app. Through UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience), developers aim to create an app that stands out of the box.

How will a person react to an app, or how should they respond to an application? This is kept in mind while working on the UI and UX of an app. The task is time-consuming and may prompt additional charges if you are seeking extra care for the UI and UX of the app from the developers.

The application size

Application size can also add to the cost of application development. This metric alone can invite an additional $10,000 to $20,000 in investment for mobile apps.

The reason is also quite obvious. The larger an application’s size, the more effort and care it is about to demand from the developer.

Such applications are not just built bigger in size; they are also kept optimized to make them responsive and run smoothly on the user’s device. App development costs rise exponentially as optimization activities kick in.

Expect double expenses if UI/UX enhancement is also required.

Targeted Platforms and Devices

Beside size and interface, another specification that adds to the cost of an application is the platform and devices on the radar of developers.

In a more technical sense, we have mainly three types of mobile applications:

  1. Native apps are built for a particular operating system.
  2. Web apps—built for internet use
  3. Hybrid apps: work on almost all platforms and devices.

How much it costs to build a mobile app for restaurants can be greatly influenced by these application types. Android applications are cheaper compared to applications for iOS devices.

It states that you will be paying more for the application’s development if your targeted audience is just iPhone users. Ideally, it is advised to choose hybrid apps to make applications accessible to almost every platform at a similar cost.

Additional Features and Functions

Features like GPS navigation, NFC technology, motion co-processors, augmented reality technology, etc. play an integral role in restaurant application setup. All these features collectively make a restaurant app industry-ready and adaptable to the needs of the modern market.

It’s impossible to have your application stand out in the fiercely competitive online food market. That’s why there’s no way to avoid the cost of these extra features and functions.

Maintenance Cost

The application maintenance cost alone is backbreaking. Problems can multiply if your application is not generating even a single penny in revenue. But it is also a mainstream requirement for mobile apps. Scheduled maintenance facilitates the smooth functioning of the application.

When it comes to cost, maintenance can easily invite an expense of $250 to $500. But make sure the project is assigned to a single person or a firm each time you bring it to them for maintenance.

How do you prepare yourself for the mobile application’s cost?

Now that you have piled up all the necessary info surrounding mobile application costing, it’s time to conduct an early preparation.

The discussion clearly states that application development costs aren’t equal to the price of a grocery store item. It can take more, even more than your expectations.

At certain events, you will have to keep pouring money into making your application responsive and well-working, especially when traffic on your app is at its peak.

But once you are good to go, you will be profitable in the end. Still, the cost, as mentioned above, is likely to give you goosebumps and may even pause you from taking action.

So keep reading because the points given below are about to convince you to invest in your restaurant application.

1. It Will Increase Sales

When planning a mobile app, profitability and sales should be the first things you keep in mind. Mobile applications are a truly wonderful marketing vehicle to boost sales for a business.

We can’t forget that it is the era of the smartphone. Over 91% of the world’s population today carries this smart gadget around the clock. It has become their closest companion. Given that, application consumption has also skyrocketed.

In 2019, Walmart generated $500 billion in sales, and its applications accounted for 38% of this total.

Some app revenue statistics from 2020 registered ad revenues of $581.9 billion on mobile applications. The figure is expected to reach a staggering $935 billion in revenue in 2023.

Most applications have grown popular enough that users are willing to purchase them for a large amount. According to a study by TechJury, a whopping $380 billion is being spent by people worldwide on in-app purchases.

However, it is always uncertain by what percentage a mobile application will boost sales for your business. Still, if things went well and goals were achieved within the desired timeframe, you are likely to recover all your spending within a few days.

2. It Will Retain Customers.

Mobile applications are one of the most powerful tools to retain customers. These applications are purpose-built to retain audiences, with the aim of making them lifelong customers for a business.

It protects your restaurant from competition because your existing customer base will make sure productivity and business sales aren’t halted. But how can you tell whether people have been retained at your application or are simply leaving it? Well, there are certain metrics that decide it:

Number of downloads: The total number of installs received by a mobile app in its lifetime tells much about the application itself. The more installs an application has, the more popular it is likely to become in the future. However, it doesn’t depict much about user retention.

Active Application Users: How much time a user spends on the app is the main metric that determines user retention. The retention can also be analyzed on an hourly and regular basis.

Session Interval: To analyze the retention, you can use the session interval, which tells how often a user opens and uses the app in a day or hour.

Session Length: The exact retention comes to light right after the session length is cleared. During session intervals, if the user is found using the app for an extensive length of time, that means a super retention capability has been achieved by your application.

And if it is genuinely superb, you can rule the entire food market on your own.

3. It Will Build Brand Loyalty.

An application can build brand awareness and customer loyalty. And when the benefit strikes, you should raise no more questions on how much it costs to build a mobile app for a restaurant. Instead, you should end up investing in it.

An application can build brand loyalty more effectively and faster than any other source you have in mind. The capability is achieved by the elevated user experience built by an app, an improved customer lifetime value, increased revenue, and elevated brand affinity and awareness.

If the application is delivering a superb experience, it will provide people with a sense of security, and consequently, they may also start using additional services offered by the brand.

Such as, they may begin purchasing subscription plans or may even blindly trust on the app because their previously built trust in the app will encourage them to do it without hesitation.

But it’s worthwhile to note that your every business strategy is well-planned and tested; otherwise, you can ruin your well-built brand loyalty.

4. It Will Support You in Crisis

The hard-hitting events of the global pandemic will have a lifelong impact on business and humanity. 2019–2021 were the learning curves for most businesses operating in the food sector.

Companies that were already tech-enabled experienced massive sales during the global pandemic period. On the other side, businesses that were still operating conventionally had confronted severe losses.

Simply put, companies that were working remotely were receiving online queries via websites or apps. Consequently, businesses were still up and running. But companies that had no way to receive online orders were struggling for survival.

That makes sense as to why every restaurant operator should learn from their previous mistakes and get a well-working mobile app. It will support your business in a crisis that no one would ever want to come, yet prevention is better than cure.

Business progression is exclusively decided by how smartly you analyze and act on the things and situations beforehand to make them favourable to the business ecosystem.

During the global pandemic, most online food ordering apps continued to thrive because they were fulfilling the requirements of customers, but you were not.

5. It Will Scale Your Business

In the end, business scalability becomes possible with these applications. The digital platform is the best source to spread brand awareness and connect with more customers online.

It signifies brand stability, giving people a sense of security that whatever they will be doing on the app will be 100% encrypted and secure.As a result, they may also don’t hesitate to share it with family and friends.

Simultaneously, it demonstrates that the brand has built a trusted image among the audience, and scaling business through the app will be easier hereafter.

What to Do If You Still Can’t Afford the Restaurant Mobile App?

Don’t worry; if restaurant applications are still beyond your affordability, you still have the option to have an app-like experience for your business.

In short, you can use the Online Food Ordering System by App2Food, a platform exclusively designed for restaurants that can’t afford hefty investments in a custom-built app.

The platform operates similarly to an online takeaway or a food delivery app. The only difference is that it provides restaurant branding and other great benefits, as illustrated well in the discussion next.

Benefits of an Online Ordering System: How Will It Save Money?
Affordable to Build

Compared to a privately owned application, online food ordering systems are affordable to build. For a small monthly fee, you can get a privately owned application for your business.

Also, you don’t need to worry about maintenance or errors coming with the application. Simply contact the service provider and get it resolved in the next few minutes.

In a nutshell, they can be a budgetary alternative to a mobile app built from scratch.

Free and Cheap Marketing

Free and cheap marketing tools are also offered by these online food ordering systems. App2Food provides SMS and email marketing benefits to each restaurant interested in running an app through its platform.

You don’t pay even a single penny for this additional benefit; it is entirely covered in the small monthly charge you pay for the mobile application. Normally, expenses on application marketing are borne by the brand itself.

But online ordering systems are providing it for free.


Don’t worry. You will be promoting your brand through your own identity on these online ordering systems. You can use your own logo, link the app with your restaurant’s POS system, and even track data on your own.

In short, you will access a complete suite of customizable features, and that’s something that encourages online ordering systems to stand out of the box.

These systems come with enhanced customizability, ensuring you stay ahead of the competition without putting an adverse impact on your brand loyalty.

Not only this, but you can also create a test restaurant to analyze how your new food brand will work.

Retain customers

The biggest benefit is that your customer will be only your customer. They will never be actively monitored by an online food ordering system. You can keep their contact details and use them for remarketing. But consider making fair use of the platform.


The discussion might have cleared your doubts on how much it costs to build a mobile app for restaurants. It can take anything from $8000 to $25000 and above if you are considering having a restaurant licence application for your business. Still, the ultimate cost is subject to change and can go up or down depending on the restaurant’s personalized choice. But in case you seek an affordable alternative, feel free to sign up for an online ordering system like App2Food. The platform will provide you with a custom-built application for a small monthly charge and even comes with an abundance of benefits.