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Understanding the backstage of delivery apps: their algorithms 

We have two simple questions for you (but no one said anything about having a simple answer for them, just giving you a heads up): Have you ever stopped to think about the complex technology that powers your food delivery app? Have you ever wondered how the food delivery app decides which restaurants to show your clients when you open it up? The answer lies in an algorithm that follows a set of rules to determine which restaurants to display on the list. There are several factors that the algorithm takes into account when making this decision. These include their location, the type of cuisine they typically order, and their ordering history, among others which we will mention throughout this blog.

With the rise of e-commerce, online food ordering has become increasingly popular, leading to a surge in demand for takeaway logistics. To keep up with this growing demand, logistics operators have turned to big data and AI technology to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs, all while providing top-notch service to their customers. By analysing historical data, logistics operators can determine the most optimal location for delivery and cater to individual customer needs. This is where AI-powered algorithms come into play, as they can help select the most suitable delivery location based on a range of criteria, including the geographical location of customers, suppliers, and manufacturers. In other words, the integration of microdata and big data is playing a crucial role in enhancing logistics behaviour and speeding up delivery operations, providing customers with an even better experience than before.

Food delivery apps have transformed the way people order food, thanks to the complex technologies employed to create a seamless and convenient experience. These apps offer users a wide range of restaurants, cuisines, and dishes to choose from, with the ability to add specific instructions or special requests and pay via various payment methods.

Behind the scenes, the app employs a sophisticated system that factors in various elements, such as proximity and availability, to assign a delivery driver while determining the most efficient route to deliver the food to the user. The technology involved includes GPS tracking, artificial intelligence for demand forecasting, and chatbots for customer support.

The food delivery app ecosystem involves customers, restaurants, delivery drivers, and admins, with user demographics and ordering habits analysed to tailor the app's offerings and services to cater to a diverse audience. Restaurants that partner with food delivery apps benefit from a broader customer base, while delivery drivers play a crucial role in ensuring timely and safe delivery of orders.

However, food safety and quality issues during transit present challenges that food delivery apps must address. Ensuring the meal's integrity is crucial for the business's sustainability and growth.

Source: pleez Dashboard


In today's highly competitive food delivery industry, it's more critical than ever for restaurants to stand out and optimise their operations. 

By focusing on key metrics such as delivery time, user ratings, and special offers, restaurants can enhance their visibility and improve their chances of being featured on top picks sections of food ordering platforms. With the help of technology and automation, restaurants can streamline their delivery process, ensure order accuracy, and provide exceptional value to their customers. In sum, the increased visibility for restaurants on third-party delivery platforms is a significant benefit. However, the popularity of these delivery apps has also led to an exponential growth of competing businesses, hence, standing out in this hyper-competitive industry has become more critical than ever. If you want to improve your restaurant's in-app position, focus on the metrics used to determine your ranking. 


⏰  Delivery time and Commissions

Are two crucial factors in arranging restaurants in order of preference on food ordering apps. If you accept orders quickly, the kitchen can prepare the meal faster, resulting in prompt pickup and delivery to the customer. 

Did you know that delivery time is the top priority for 60% of customers when they place orders? That’s right, fast and reliable delivery is crucial in today’s fast-paced world. Deliverect's integration, for example, automatically accepts and prints all your orders in the kitchen, saving time. Streamlining your delivery operations is essential to enhance estimated delivery times. DoorDash's algorithm is also a fascinating example of how technology can revolutionise the food industry. The algorithm is designed to optimise the delivery process, from matching delivery drivers with customers to determining the most efficient routes. The algorithm takes into account various factors such as distance, traffic, and order preparation time to ensure that the food arrives as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

The commission rate a restaurant pays a delivery app can impact its search result placement. Higher-paying restaurants may receive priority placement in the app's search results.


🍔 Customer Ordering Habits

The food business thrives on its customers. For customising the app's offerings and services, it is vital to comprehend the demographics and ordering patterns of users. The primary objective is to make sure that the app reaches a bigger audience with distinct preferences, ranging from health-conscious eaters to those who prefer just treats.


...80% of customers order from the homepage of food delivery platforms


To better serve customers, the algorithm takes into account their ordering habits. This allows the system to display the preferred restaurant more frequently to the customer. For instance, if a customer typically orders Chineses cuisine, the app will prioritise Chinese restaurants nearby.



📈 Customer Ratings, Feedback and Popularity

Giving customers what they want - good value for money, fast delivery times, and mouth-watering, visually appealing meals that's sure to satisfy cravings - is your best chance to improve your ratings. Apart from this, getting the order right is also critical. Furthermore, to guarantee feedback and increase your online presence, you can add personalised handwritten messages to your delivery bags or package. Needless to say that reviews are crucial for restaurants. Positive ones boost reputation, while negative ones highlight areas for improvement.

Finally, apps are designed to help users find top-rated restaurants quickly and easily by prioritising the visibility of highly rated restaurants. The algorithm assumes that these restaurants are more likely to be chosen by customers and have a greater potential for success. Restaurants with high ratings, fast delivery, and low cancellations are prioritised in the app.

An example of this would be UberEats, where a restaurant’s visibility can be affected by historical order size, customer ratings, average waiting time, and the restaurant’s accuracy - being the ladder two measured by the number of errors, cancellations and customer complaints a restaurant gets.


💸 Creating Special Offers

Might help you rank higher on any delivery platform. For example, restaurants that offer promotions like 15% off or free delivery are more likely to be boosted by Uber Eats’ algorithm, since they know that this might motivate a user to place an order. Their priority is to make sure that the customer ends up using the app to make an order, that’s why they prioritise the ones that have any type of promotions.

There’s a wide range of promotions to choose from. They can be as simple as having buy 2 get 1 free to a special menu for matching days or bank holidays, or just a family bundle/executive lunch. This is actually one of the many benefits you can get from using our platform. We will save you a lot of time on strategizing and making menu changes on online menus for the different delivery channels with our dashboard. 



To truly thrive in the world of online food delivery

it's essential to master the anatomy of algorithms. By unlocking the potential of these powerful tools, you can optimise your restaurant's performance and boost your sales. It's time to embrace the digital age and harness the full potential of available technology. Embrace the digital age, leverage the tools available, and turn the algorithm into your ally in the competitive world of online food delivery.



FUN FACT (or a warning): Did you know that Uber Eats has an algorithm that prioritises restaurants that respect their opening hours? It's a thoughtful feature that ensures customers receive their orders promptly. However, it's worth noting that many restaurants are only virtually open for 70% to 80% of their intended hours, which means they could be missing out on a significant number of orders (around 20%-30% of their orders). By sticking to your opening hours, you can potentially boost your sales and improve the overall customer experience.



As technology continues to advance, these apps will likely evolve to overcome challenges and enhance customer satisfaction in the ever-growing food delivery industry. Whether you're a restaurant owner or a food enthusiast, staying informed about these processes can help you make the most of the food delivery ecosystem.



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