How to start a food delivery business in South Africa

How to start a food delivery business in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start a food delivery business in South Africa.

Food delivery businesses are the new goldrush, there is a lot of money to be made from operating a successful food delivery business.

You can operate a food delivery business in the form of a platform that connects restaurants to customers or you can make your own food to sell to customers. We will discuss both of these models below.

How does it work?

Food delivery platform

If you plan on creating an app or platform that allows people to order food from their preferred restaurants and have it delivered to them then you will have to facilitate the platform and delivery of the food. You will have to create the platform, which will allow customers to order food, you will also have to accept payments on behalf of the restaurants and to also deliver the food to customers.

Food delivery business from home

You might not really be interested in creating a platform for everyone, but just to run an online service that allows people to order your home cooked meal from the comfort of their homes. This too is very much possible, you don’t even need an app for this, all you have to do is create a website with the catalogue of everything you have to offer.

The website should allow people to order food directly from you, example; someone might order tripe that is cooked for 5 people. All you have to do is deliver this food to them. You can do this by using your own car or outsourcing to platform-based food delivery businesses.


In order to run a successful food delivery business, you will need the following.

1. App/software

You will have to have the actual app or platform that people will use to order your food, this might cost you more than a R100 000 in South Africa. If you don’t have that kind of money then you can team up with someone who has skills to create the platform.

This platform must be able to allow people to order food and make payments.

2. Delivery network

After all, you are a food delivery business, this is where you will need to excel. You will need a lot of vehicles to do the transporting of food for you. You don’t have to buy these vehicles; you can just create a platform that allows people deliver food for you and then get paid. A lot of people are seeking such opportunities, you will have no shortage of people who do deliveries for you.

It’s important to note that you should pay the drivers on a per delivery made basis. Don’t give them a fixed salary, that will just bankrupt your business.

3. Insurance

You will need to take out liability insurance for your business, a lot of things could go wrong. A liability insurance will save you from a lot of things that could spell the end of your business.

4. Licenses and permits

A food delivery business doesn’t require a lot of licenses and permits but you should invest a lot into making sure that all the legalities are taken of. You need to draft clear policies and contracts between you and your platform users, these policies should protect your business against any future legal suites. Everyone that uses your platform should agree to them.

How will you make money?

You will make money from commissions; you will charge commission each time a person buys from a restaurant through your service.

How to get clients and users

It’s often best to start off focusing on a certain geographical location, this will allow you to concentrate your resources. Go to restaurants and food businesses and pitch them with your solution, you will need a few businesses to sign up before launching.

After getting a few businesses to sign up, you can proceed to run digital ads, you will need to have more than R50 000 to be able to attract enough people to notice and use your app on a regular basis.


This is an extremely complicated business that will demand a lot of labour and resources. The most expensive part would be developing the software and promoting it. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below

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