Mobile Apps Are Eating Up More of the Food Industry

November 6, 2017 - 4 minutes read

The food app world is in a state of disruption right now. Food apps like Seamless and Yelp capitalized on this niche early on, but they’re starting to face a lot of unforeseen competition. Restaurants are warming up to the idea of apps. And if that wasn’t random enough, China is absolutely fascinated with recipe apps right now.

There’s a lot to cover, so this weekday edition of Dogtown Media News is going to read like a great tapas bar — a variety of dishes, all tastier than the last.

Yelp, the food review site, is seeing competitors pop up around the Internet. EatOpine is one of their biggest — their mobile app puts them in a much higher position of use and engagement, compared to Yelp’s other new competitors. Besides offering a mobile app, EatOpine has much more detailed filters than Yelp or Google. EatOpine democratizes the food rating system; users earn points as social currency by submitting pictures, prices, locations, and reviews.

Ritual, a mobile app developer based in Toronto, lets users order meals at restaurants ahead of time. Starbucks has seen incredible success with their order-ahead feature; customers drop by Starbucks for their morning coffee without standing in line or even having to turn off their car. Foodora and UberEats, on the other hand, deliver food to the customer’s door in less than an hour.

As we get busier at work and home, cooking falls to the wayside for many of us. Facebook has taken notice and decided to get into the food game. You can now order food for delivery or takeout using the Facebook app or website on your desktop. The company partnered with GrubHub,, DoorDash, ChowNow, and a few more food delivery services. It’s also partnering directly with Chipotle, Five Guys, Wingstop, Panera, TGI Friday’s, Denny’s, and more. After you pick where you want to eat, Facebook launches the delivery service in an in-app browser.

“We’ve been testing this since last year, and after responding to feedback and adding more partners, we’re rolling out everywhere in the US on iOS, Android and desktop,” says Alex Himel, Facebook’s VP of local. “People already go to Facebook to browse restaurants and decide where to eat or where to order food, so we’re making that easier.”

Restaurants that can afford to start their own apps are working to connect with their customers directly. Red Lobster, Chik-Fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings, and other franchises are rolling out deals when you download and order through their app. Collect points with every dollar you spend at these restaurants, and you’ll earn free dishes and desserts as a reward.

In China, consumers are eating up recipe apps. The market of recipe apps is growing in China, with more than 33 million people frequently using recipe apps and up to 1.5 million daily active users. Some of these apps foster community growth by organizing offline experiential stores and offline meet-ups.

One thing’s for sure — if you’re an app developer with a passion for eating or cooking, now’s not such a bad time to enter this niche market.

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