The global rise of online purchasing has changed many industries, perhaps most notably the food one.
Food delivery services have become the norm, and you can get just about any meal from your favorite restaurant delivered to your doorstep. The trend of buying food online became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic when dining out was prohibited due to social distancing laws.
When ordering food online, the key to getting your favorite delicacy in good time depends on two parties — the restaurant and the delivery platform.
Assuming you don’t pick a restaurant with terrible reviews, you just need to nail down the delivery service. Each platform only has one job — to get the food to you within the promised time and in good condition.
This post will assess three top food delivery apps — DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. It'll look at their delivery deals, order fulfillment costs, and pros and cons and recommend the best one to use for your next order.
Comparison of the three — DoorDash vs. Grubhub vs. Uber Eats
DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery company that lets customers order food and drinks from eateries and restaurants in their area. It operates in major cities in the United States and works with restaurant partners to deliver food to businesses and homes.
DoorDash was established in June 2013 in San Francisco and serves over 4,000 cities. It takes deliveries from over 310,000 restaurants and stores, which make up close to 90% of the top 100 restaurant brands in the United States.
As of 2022, DoorDash commands a 59% market share in the United States, up from a measly 16% in 2018.
A fleet of independent contractors called Dashers fulfill orders placed on DoorDash. They're paid a base salary, tips, and get commission fees for completing challenges.
How does it work?
To use DoorDash, create a free account on their website or download the DoorDash app and set it up there. Next, key in your home address to view all the restaurants within your area.
Note that DoorDash has two apps, the Dasher app and the DoorDash customer app. The Dasher app is for independent contractors looking to fulfill DoorDash deliveries, while the customer app is for anyone looking to order food through DoorDash.
On the DoorDash home page, you'll see some of the top restaurants near you, how far they are, and the delivery charges you'll pay for ordering from them. The search button helps you to search for specific restaurants near you.
When you select a restaurant, you can toggle between delivery and pickup. For the latter, you order food and then schedule a pickup time when you'll have to physically go and get the food.
The "Group order" feature allows you to order for many people from a single cart. By creating a link and specifying a spending limit per person, share this link and let your friends and family order food.
How much does it cost?
DoorDash gives free deliveries on your first order, but you'll have to pay the service fee. Delivery fees range from $1.99 to $5.99, and the service fee is about 10% of the cost of food.
There are lots of coupons and promos that you can use to save on these fees. For instance, CouponFollow has great discount codes for you if you're looking to order food on DoorDash.
When you order, DoorDash will give a breakdown of all the costs, which often vary depending on the restaurant, demand, and other factors.
DashPass is DoorDash's subscription service that saves you money by offering unlimited free delivery for orders above $12 at hundreds of restaurants. The subscription costs $9.99 per month, and you can cancel at any time. DashPass only works for eligible restaurants, and when you sign up, you'll see a landmark on restaurants that qualify for this plan.
Pros of DoorDash
- Simple and intuitive user interface
- Great customer service
- DashPass offers great value if you order from an eligible restaurant.
Cons of DoorDash
- Extra costs are a bit high
- Drivers are prone to mistakes
Grubhub was a pioneer in the online food delivery business and was once the market leader. It was established in 2004 and constantly locked horns with its top competitor Seamless before joining forces with them in 2013.
Food delivery was hectic in the early 2000s since people had to read credit card numbers over the phone, and services required an assistant to tell them what was available on a restaurant's menu. Grubhub and Seamless changed that by uploading the restaurants' menus online and charging 10% of the total order amount as commission.
The merger of Grubhub and Seamless happened at a time when new players, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats, were innovating. Rather than just aggregating orders, as was the case with Grubhub, they provided delivery services for the restaurant but at a higher commission.
Grubhub didn't budge, but after a few years, they had to introduce this service to select restaurants. Today, a huge percentage of Grubhub's revenue still comes from non-delivery orders.
In 2021, Just Eat Takeaway, an Amsterdam-based company, acquired Grubhub.
How does it work?
Grubhub has a mobile application and web platform that you can use to make orders. You'll need to create an account on either platform first.
Next, go to your account and click on "Save address and phone" to update your location. You can add multiple addresses and assign labels such as home, work, or any custom label. This allows the platform to show restaurants near you.
The home page has multiple food options, with the rating of the specific restaurants, approximate delivery charge, and range of time the delivery will be fulfilled also given.
The pickup option is where you go and get the food rather than having a driver bring it to you.
How much does it cost?
Grubhub's delivery fees are broken down into five typical costs you'll see on the platform.
The first one is the cost of the meal. This depends on what you're ordering and the variations to it, such as extra servings, additional sauces, and any special instructions.
Note that some restaurants charge a little bit higher for delivery orders to offset the costs of using a third-party platform.
Additional costs include the delivery fee and service fee. The delivery fee pays for the delivery service, often fulfilled by a driver. This fee usually falls within the $2.50 to $7.50 range. Location plays a huge role in determining where it falls. Demand doesn't affect delivery fees.
The service fee is between 5% and 10% to cater to Grubhub's operational costs.
A small order fee is charged if you order food below the minimum amount at select restaurants. It's normally $2 for orders below $10.
Tips are optional, but most customers prefer to add a tip to their driver.
Grubhub Plus is a subscription service that gives customers unlimited free deliveries on orders above $12 at select restaurants. It costs $9.99 per month and also has other perks like unlimited 10% cashback on orders, access to Elite care, and donation matching to No Kid Hungry.
Pros of Grubhub
- Clear reviews for every restaurant to help customers make informed decisions
- Restaurants are updated frequently
- Cheaper pricing than other platforms
Cons of Grubhub
- Some restaurants charge their own service fees
Uber Eats is an online food delivery service launched in August 2012 by giant ride-sharing company Uber. The idea was to leverage Uber's vast platform and network to deliver food to customers.
As of March 2022, Uber Eats commanded a 24% market share, still significantly behind DoorDash. However, it continues to dominate certain markets, for instance, Miami, where it's the most used online food delivery service.
To ward off strong competition, Uber acquired Postmates in July 2020 for $12.65 billion.
How does it work?
Using the Uber Eats platform is easy for those who have used Uber to get a ride. The interface is the same, and ordering isn't any different.
First, you'll have to create an account on the delivery app. If you already have an account with Uber, use your details to log in.
As with other delivery apps, update your address to get a view of all the restaurants within your location. At this point, update your delivery preferences, for instance, meet at door, leave at door, or meet outside.
From here, search the platform for restaurants and select the food you want. All the restaurants have a delivery fee and estimated delivery time for that food. Also, they have customer ratings that help you decide which outlet offers the best food.
Uber Eats is expanding beyond delivering food only, as you can order alcohol, groceries, and prescriptions on the platform.
Uber Eats has a group order feature that lets you invite people to make orders on the same cart.
How much does it cost?
The cost of your Uber Eats order varies depending on how far a restaurant is from your location and the demand for delivery services. Restaurants set food prices that might be higher than dine-in ones.
A service fee is also charged, and it's typically 15% of the subtotal. The minimum is around $3.
The Uber eats delivery fee is dynamic and ranges from $0.50 to $7.99. It's calculated based on the proximity of the restaurant, demand for orders, and availability of delivery drivers. If you want an order delivered fast, pay for extra priority delivery, which guarantees that a driver will come to your location directly.
A small order fee is charged if you don't meet the minimum order amount for select restaurants. It's usually $2 if the subtotal is less than $10 and $3 if it's less than $15. This fee varies by city.
Pros of Uber Eats
- Intuitive app experience
- Customizable delivery options
- Multiple promotions and discounts
Cons of Uber Eats
Which is the best delivery service?
The online food delivery industry is very competitive, and customers lean towards certain players for specific reasons.
The three mentioned here— DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats— are the top players with great platforms and a strong network of restaurants.
Looking at how the three compare, Grubhub relies on its strong reputation and is the oldest player in the market. Uber Eats takes great advantage of the existing Uber platform and has a lot of deals and promos that would excite anyone looking to try out new restaurants. DoorDash has a lower order minimum and is ideal for small orders.
We all look for different things in food delivery apps, and the three players here certainly do the most to make sure that customers get their food in good time.
They're good in different aspects based on their pros and cons, and depending on what you're looking for, it should be easy to select a preferred one.
If you want to get more value from these platforms, check out CouponFollow for discounts and promo codes to use when buying food.