Since the pandemic, more consumers are using food delivery services than ever before. In fact, from 2019 to 2020, the number of U.S. consumers who use food delivery apps increased by 16 million.
However, food delivery can be expensive — especially if you’re making use of it several times during the week.
As such, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best food delivery hacks that can save you money, whether you’re grocery shopping, experimenting with a meal kit, or ordering ready-made food from your favorite restaurant.
Top 10 ways to save money on food delivery
Here are the 10 best ways to save money on food delivery this year.
1. Get coupons
A great way to save money on popular food delivery services and restaurants (such as UberEats and Chipotle) is to use coupons.
Coupon codes, otherwise known as “promo codes” or “discount codes,” enable you to save tens to hundreds of dollars each month. In fact, according to a study that we conducted, the average household could save $1,465 per year by using coupons.
Read more about the study here.
Since food delivery is an extremely competitive industry, most major players regularly run discounts and special promotions for their customers to stay ahead of the competition. And, you guessed it, they usually offer these discounts in the form of coupon codes.
But, how do you find coupon codes?
To find coupons, you can sign up to food delivery services’ email lists, regularly check their social media profiles for special announcements, as well as use coupon websites.
Find some great food coupons here.
2. Compare prices
With food delivery becoming more popular each year and the Online Food Delivery segment predicted to reach revenue of over $96,860 million in 2024, restaurants are partnering with more than one delivery service to generate additional sales.
You might be surprised to learn that you pay less for your food on some delivery services than others.
For example, when you order at the India Garden Restaurant, you’ll pay less for Caviar’s delivery service than you would for other services.
However, keep in mind that delivery fees for each service change based on the specific restaurant that you’re ordering from as well as the region and city that you live in.
There may not always be a huge difference in price. Nonetheless, every cent that you save on food delivery adds up at the end of the month.
3. Sign up for a food delivery subscription
If you order from a delivery service every month, then you should consider getting a subscription plan.
For example, with UberEats’ delivery and service fees amounting to over $6 per order, getting an “Eats Pass” subscription (which is UberEats’ subscription plan) will work well for you if you make use of UberEats multiple times per month.
With “Eats Pass” your delivery fee becomes $0, and you also get 5% off eligible orders, all for $9.99 per month.
This means that you could be saving money after only two orders.
The more you make use of the service, the more value you’ll get from the subscription — which could be a lifesaver for busy individuals who don’t have time to cook their own meals.
There’s a searchable option to choose healthy meals, and, as such, you can have a nutritious, balanced lifestyle while paying less for your deliveries.
4. Invite your friends
Many restaurant delivery services encourage their customers to invite their friends to use the service by offering free delivery or special discounts for future orders.
By inviting your friends to use the same delivery services that you do by sharing unique links with them, you could be rewarded with special offers.
This system usually works with a referral code whereby you’ll get credits each time someone signs up for a service and puts in their first order.
By asking multiple people to sign up and order using your code, you could save a lot of money as some delivery services reward you with free items while others give you huge discounts on your orders.
5. Choose restaurants and supermarkets that offer free delivery
Globally, 38% of online shoppers say that free or discounted delivery influences their purchasing decision.
Restaurants and supermarkets know this — which is why many of them offer free delivery for many of their products (either with or without a minimum purchase requirement).
Many consumers are willing to spend larger amounts of money to get free delivery. In fact, almost one in two U.S. consumers stated that they expect free delivery when they spend $30–$50 on their order.
Whether you’re willing to spend more on your food order or not, chances are good that you’ll find a restaurant or food retailer in your area offering free delivery. Simply type in “restaurant that offers free delivery in (your area)” on Google to find them.
Discover popular stores, including music stores, book stores, furniture stores, and more, that offer free delivery here.
6. Avoid double tipping
Numerous food delivery services, including Seamless, Doordash, and Grubhub, often include a driver tip at checkout.
Some of these default tips could run as high as 20% — which means that if you tip again at the door, you’ll accidentally end up tipping 30% or more.
While that’s extremely generous, and your driver will likely thank you ten-fold, overtipping isn’t ideal when you’re on a tight budget and trying to save money.
Therefore, when you reach the checkout page of your delivery service, make sure to look at whether the tip is already included, and if so, adjust it or remove it if you prefer tipping at the door.
7. Sign up for email lists
Email is still the preferred marketing method for most businesses.
You see, businesses know that billions of people around the world use email. According to Statista, the number of worldwide email users is predicted to grow to 4.6 billion in 2025.
Therefore, it’s easy to see why businesses use email as their primary announcement and communications platform.
Restaurants, food retailers, and food delivery services use email to do the following:
- Announce special promotions
- Share discount codes
- Announce the latest news and developments
- Advertise upcoming events
- Get feedback and suggestions from their customers
When you frequently order from a specific restaurant, retailer, or delivery service, consider signing up to its email list.
This way, you’ll immediately be notified whenever a special promo is running so that you don’t miss it.
Even if you have to pay a delivery charge, you’ll still be saving money on the food itself by making use of the coupons and paying attention to special promotions on certain weekdays.
For example, people who sign up to Texas Roadhouse’s email list receive promo codes and other benefits that can help them save money when they make a purchase.
8. Purchase gift cards
Another way you can get your delivery order at a discount is by paying for it with a discounted gift card.
Often, restaurants run specials that give you an additional gift card for yourself for free whenever you buy a gift card for someone else. For example, a restaurant may give you a $15 gift card for free when you purchase a $50 card.
You can find discounted cards in selected retail stores, on coupon and gift card sites, as well as on marketplaces or sites where people sell and trade unwanted gift cards.
To save even more money, you’ll be able to stack your gift cards with other discounts, such as promo codes. If you score a free $15 gift card with another gift card purchase and use it alongside additional coupons, you can make a significant saving.
9. Check your receipt
Let’s be honest. If you’re like most people, you don’t even look at your receipt before tossing it in the bin.
This is a huge mistake since many restaurants and food retailers offer discounts at the bottom of their receipts to try to attract repeat business from customers.
This may take some getting used to, but always try to look at your receipt when you make a purchase online. Some of the discounts on receipts can run pretty high.
Also, remember to check the bottom of your delivery bag since many restaurants tuck coupons in along with your meal.
10. Join restaurant reward programs
In addition to signing up to your favorite restaurant’s email list, you can consider joining its reward program for even more benefits.
With the progression of the online world and food delivery services with it, competition is steep, and businesses are trying their best to keep their customers happy and loyal to them.
This is why in 2019, businesses around the world (including restaurants and food retailers) spent roughly $75 billion on customer loyalty management. And that figure is only likely to grow.
By signing up for a rewards program, you’ll get exclusive deals that are only available to members. Keep in mind that reward programs for different businesses may differ, and you won’t necessarily receive the same type of rewards for all of them.
For example, Dunkin’s DDPerks and Chipotle Rewards use a point system. Therefore, each time you place an order, points will be added to your account. When you earn enough points, you’ll be rewarded with free drinks, food, and other rewards.
On the other hand, other restaurants or food chains may work on a weekly or monthly system whereby they send you coupons and special promotions on a frequent basis.
If you have a favorite restaurant, you can check if it has a rewards program by searching “restaurant name + rewards program” on Google and see if anything pops up.
Save money on your next food delivery
These 10 nifty food delivery hacks will save you a lot of money in the long run. Whether you decide to use one of these tips, or all of them, you’re guaranteed to have some leftover cash at the end of each month from all your food delivery savings.
Are you on a tight budget and looking for ways to save even more money? Check out this article that gives you 38 smart ways you can save money easily.