Food delivery apps have become a convenient way to order food from your favorite restaurants without leaving your home. But how much do they actually cost you? And which one offers the best deal for your budget?
A recent experiment by The Washington Post compared the costs and payouts of three food delivery apps: DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. The experiment placed identical orders of chicken skewers and fried plantains from a Latin restaurant in San Francisco and gathered receipts from all parties to see how much the customers, restaurants, drivers and apps made from each order.
The results showed that food delivery apps charge various fees and commissions that make the order more expensive for the customers and less profitable for the restaurants. For example, the order that costs $22 when picked up from the restaurant can cost up to $38.23 when delivered by Grubhub, including a delivery fee, a service fee, a small order fee and a tip. The restaurant only gets $12.47 from that order, while Grubhub gets $9.05. The driver gets $7.26, but most of it comes from the tip.
The drivers’ earnings depend largely on tips, which can vary customer-to-customer and app-to-app. According to The Washington Post, Uber Eats drivers get 100% of the tips, while DoorDash and Grubhub drivers get 80% and 75%, respectively. However, some drivers claim that the apps use tips to subsidize their base pay, which means that tipping more does not necessarily mean that drivers earn more.
So which food delivery app is the cheapest for you? It depends on how much you order and how often you use the service. According to CNET, Grubhub is the cheapest for orders of around $50, while DoorDash is the cheapest for small orders and Grubhub is the cheapest for large orders. However, these prices can vary by location, restaurant and time of day.
If you want to compare delivery time estimates and costs without switching between different platforms, you can use food delivery comparison apps like FoodBoss and MealMe. These apps let you see the best deals from various food delivery services in one place. FoodBoss co-founder Michael DiBenedetto said, “FoodBoss is a great way to save money on food delivery. It’s like Kayak or Expedia for food delivery.”
Food delivery apps are not a winning proposition for anyone, as The Washington Post concluded. They are opaque about how they distribute the money and they charge high fees that eat away at your wallet and the restaurants’ profits. However, if you still want to use them for convenience or necessity, you can save some money by choosing the cheapest app for your order size and frequency, or by using comparison apps like FoodBoss and MealMe.
– Which delivery apps eat away at your wallet the most, The Washington Post, May 31, 2023
– Food Delivery Apps: We Compare 4 of the Biggest, Kiplinger, Feb. 15, 2023
– What Delivery App Has the Lowest Fees? We Did the Math to Find Out, CNET, Feb. 15, 2023
– Best food delivery services in 2023: Grubhub vs Uber Eats vs Doordash, Tom’s Guide, May 2, 2023