A short time ago, my lovely wife and I were out at an afternoon event with our kids at home with babysitters. We'd set them up with a lunch and some afternoon snacks, but we anticipated being home before dinner and didn't make plans for them.
We love our main babysitters (they're a couple) because they used to be our kids' teachers at preschool. They have a great relationship with our kids and so when the event stretched into dinnertime, we figured it was OK to keep it going.
One hiccup – what about dinner? We weren't home to google “delivery near me” so we had to improvise.
We ended up just calling our local pizza spot and ordering a few pies to the house. It was an OK solution but I thought there might be a better way.
I'd heard about Ubereats and Grub Hub but never tried it myself. It turns out that it's far easier than I expected and the premium you pay for service and delivery was a lot more reasonable than I expected (especially with promotions and new customer deals).
If you've been looking for the next food delivery app, here are the best ones to get food delivery near you:
DoorDash was founded in 2013 and is now in 56 markets and more than 600 cities. They are still privately held but valued at over $1.4 billion at their last round of funding in 2018 – so they're growing and growing quickly.
DoorDash's new customer promotion is $1 delivery for 30 days – the delivery fee is just $1 for orders over $10 during the first month.
DoorDash has a simple $1.99 delivery fee that is waived for new users. You can also purchase a DashPass for $9.99 a month that lowers delivery and service fees, they even tell you the number of restaurants it covers in the sign-up page (mine was an unimpressive 19 restaurants).
If you want $15 off your first 3 orders over $12, sign up with our link.
Postmates is more than a food delivery app, it's a “stuff” delivery app so you can order anything from a meal to booze to groceries.
Like other delivery apps, they have a delivery fee and a service fee. Postmates charges a delivery fee based on their relationship with the restaurant. If they're a Partner, the fee is $1.99 – $3.99. If they aren't, it's $5.99 – $9.99 per order. The service fee is variable and percentage-based based on the price of the items you're ordering. There is also a “small cart fee” if your order is under $12.
I put in a test order of a Caffè Americano from a local Starbucks, a Partner Merchant, and the fees were:
- Small Cart Fee: $1.99
- Tax & Fees: $0.87 (there are no taxes, so this is 100% their fee
- Delivery: $5.99
Do you want $100 in delivery fee credits? Sign up with our link and you get $100 in delivery fee credit. How nice is that?
UberEats is the food delivery arm of Uber, the popular ride-sharing company. You can order food directly in the Uber app or go online to UberEats to place your order.
When it comes to fees, you pay a delivery fee and a service fee. The delivery fee is a flat rate, $3.49 to $4.99, and the service fee is 15% of your order. There is also a small order fee of $2 if your order is less than $10. If you add more items, the fee is removed once your total exceeds $10.
GrubHub has been in the food delivery business since 2004 and is a publicly traded company under the ticker NYSE:GRUB. They've merged or acquired several local brands including Seamless, AllMenus, Eat24, LevelUp, and others. This gives them one of the largest restaurant networks of the bunch.
You can order through the app or online and I find on a computer is the easiest because you have more screen real estate to research your purchase. You can order it for pickup or delivery, ASAP or scheduled for later. Their search filters include coupons, ratings, price, and distance. You can also save your order for the future too, which is very convenient.
Fees and minimums are set by the restaurant. The minimum and fee are listed at the top of the menu so you know exactly what you're paying in terms of delivery and service fees. Both fees tended to be reasonable. When ordering a $30 meal from a local kabob shop (5mi away), the delivery fee was 49 cents and the service fee was $2.26.
Less than $3 to get food delivered to your house? A steal.
If you want $12 off your first order of $15+, sign up with our link.
Delivery.com has the least interesting name of the bunch but like Postmates, you can get food, alcohol, groceries, laundry and even gifts delivered. Delivery.com has over 12,000 merchants in 100+ cities but a limited footprint where I live, so I couldn't do much comparison with the other apps. The only place they have listed is a pizza shop that's about ten miles away.
There isn't much information on the fees but it doesn't appear that Delivery.com charges any kind of service fee. There is a delivery fee that varies greatly from restaurant to restaurant. Some restaurants charge a percentage fee while others charge a flat fee. The fee appears to be charged by the restaurant since there are such big differences and not much conformity.
Why are there so few apps?
If you're wondering why we didn't list apps like OrderUp or Eat24 or others, it's because the industry is experiencing quite a bit of consolidation in recent years. There's only so much room for food delivery apps and many are being acquired.
The most recent one of note was OrderUp. They were acquired in July 2015 by Groupon but still operated as a food delivery app. In two separate transactions, Grubhub acquired them in July 2017 and October 2018. If you go to Orderup.com, it'll redirect you to Grubhub:
This is typical in the startup world, especially when they all offer similar services.
A Few Reminders
A restaurant may charge more through a food delivery app. They won't tell you this and unless you're a frequent customer, you may not even notice the higher prices. Many restaurants have their menus and prices online and you can always compare.
In one case, I saw that the menu listed 2 egg rolls as $2.60 on DoorDash but just $2.45 on the menu – a premium of 6%. Sometimes it's less – the same restaurant charges only $1.95 for a small wonton soup whereas their menu listed $2.95 as the price of a small.
There may be surge pricing, during very popular meal times, which entices more drivers onto the road with higher earnings on deliveries. I did most of my research during typically slow periods so I didn't see any of these. I also live in a suburban area and unlikely to see the demand more densely populated urban areas might experience.
Don't forget to tip the driver. They don't get the delivery or service fee.
If you are going to pick it up, you should call the restaurant directly. This helps them save on the service fees the apps are charging them and puts more money into the pocket of your local business owner. It also means you probably pay less if they do increase their prices in the app.
Enjoy the food!