Food delivery services are understandably growing in popularity. You get to order food from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered to your door, all from the comfort of your own home or workplace.
Although paying delivery and service fees is inevitable when ordering through a food delivery app, you can minimize them by ordering from the cheapest food delivery app out there. But which one is the cheapest? Read on to find out.
What Is the Cheapest Food Delivery App?
Out of the four food delivery apps we tested (DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates), Uber Eats came out on top as the cheapest.
We tried to order the same meal from Chik-fil-A from all four food delivery apps, but couldn’t find a Chik-fil-A to order from Grubhub. So, from Grubhub, we ordered something similar in price from McDonald’s. It’s also worth mentioning that Delivery.com wasn’t servicing the writer’s area, and Caviar is an acquisition of DoorDash that mainly services more niche food retailers.
It’s also worth mentioning that when the information in this article doesn’t include the tip you’ll need to pay for ease. But you should always tip a food delivery worker, because their base pay often isn’t high. And just like waiters, they make most of their income from tips.
All food delivery apps have a similar monthly subscription plan that’s priced at $9.99 per month. When comparing the perks of each subscription plan, Uber Eats still comes out on top, making it one of the best food delivery apps you can download right now.
Grubhub follows as a close second, followed then by DoorDash and Postmates. Postmates was expensive compared to the other food delivery apps, so we wouldn’t recommend it if the restaurant you want to order from is available on one of the other three.
With that out of the way, here’s a breakdown of each food delivery app.
The above order from DoorDash had a subtotal of $5.29, a delivery fee of $3.99, and fees and estimated tax of $3.73. Since this was our first order with DoorDash, the delivery fee was waived and the total was $9.02. Without the delivery fee waived, the total would have been $13.01.
Overall, the delivery fees are fairly inexpensive, mainly sticking to the $2.99/$3.99 range across five different restaurants. We even upped the total order price on one to about $90 to see if the order amount would change the delivery fee, but it didn’t.
The fees and estimated tax amount also changed depending on the dollar amount ordered. DoorDash charges a 15% service fee, and provides an estimated amount for tax depending on where you’re ordering from. Then, the company also charges a $2.50 small order fee for orders with a subtotal of less than $10.
DoorDash does have a monthly subscription plan called DashPass that gets you free delivery on all orders. Plus, you’ll get reduced service fees on orders over $10 and exclusive member discounts. Not all restaurants are eligible, but most are.
If you think you’ll order food through DoorDash more than three times in one month, it’s worth subscribing to DashPass. DoorDash offers a free one-month trial for DashPass; after that, you’ll pay $9.99 per month.
Download: DoorDash for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
2. Uber Eats
This order from Uber Eats had a subtotal of $5.19, a delivery fee of $0.49, and estimated taxes and fees of $2.93. Everything added up to only $8.61. There was also a $1.00 discount if you chose the No rush option, which would’ve brought the total down to $7.61.
Delivery fees vary by restaurant and range from $0.49 to $5.99. However, we saw a lot of retailers around the $0.49-$2.49 delivery fee mark. The $1.00 No rush discount only showed up with specific retailers. Unlike other food delivery apps, Uber Eats charges a flat service fee of $2.50, which is especially nice for larger orders but pesky for smaller orders.
Uber Eats offers a monthly subscription plan called Eats Pass that costs $9.99 per month after a free one-month trial. With Eats Pass, you get to take advantage of a $0 delivery fee on orders, exclusive perks, and a 5% discount on orders over $15 from eligible retailers.
When you order through Uber Eats, you can also get restaurant-specific rewards the more times you order from them. For example, Burger King will give you a $10 reward when you order five times through Uber Eats. Then, there are other deals in the app where specific retailers give you a percentage or dollar amount off your order or free delivery when you order a specific amount.
Download: Uber Eats for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
This order from Grubhub had a subtotal of $5.19, a delivery fee of $1.49, and fees and estimated tax of $3.16. Your first order with Grubhub is free, so the delivery fee was waived, making the order total out to $8.35. With the delivery fee added, our order would have cost $9.84.
With Grubhub, delivery fees vary greatly by restaurant. We saw delivery fees that were only $0.49 and delivery fees that were as much as $6.49. Grubhub has a service fee of 10% and a small order fee of $2.00 on orders under $10.
Grubhub has a monthly subscription called Grubhub+ that you can try out for free for 30 days. After the free trial, Grubhub+ will cost you $9.99 per month. With the subscription, you get free delivery on all orders of $12 or more, access to exclusive member perks, and a free pickup meal worth $10 every month.
Because of how Grubhub works, you’ll see perks and discounts sprinkled through the app, even for non-Grubhub+ members. For some retailers, there are cashback offers; for example, McDonald’s lets you earn $5 if you order three times. Then, there are also discounts or free delivery offered occasionally from retailers as well.
If you typically order food that totals under $12, Grubhub+ might not be worth it. You’d get a free $10 pickup meal every month and get to take advantage of deals within the app, which would definitely offset the cost. But if you’re still having to pay a delivery fee with every order because it’s under $12, then it may not be worth your money.
A lot of the other food delivery apps offer free delivery with orders $10 and under and that $2 threshold really makes a difference.
Download: Grubhub for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
Uber acquired Postmates, so you’ll notice a lot of the same deals and a similar interface between the two apps. Although Postmates is currently operating under its original name with no plans to change in the future, it could one day completely merge with Uber Eats. That said, Postmates doesn’t compare to Uber Eats in the slightest when it comes to price.
For this order, the subtotal was $5.19, fees and estimated taxes were $3.43, and the delivery fee was a whopping $6.99. All of this together made our order $15.61, the most expensive out of all four food delivery apps.
Delivery fees vary by restaurant, as with all the other apps, but the average we saw in Postmates was $4.99; the lowest was $3.99 and the highest $6.99. There were also some retailers who offered free delivery if you spent a certain dollar amount. Postmates charges a flat service fee of $3.00 instead of a percentage of your total.
With a Postmates Unlimited monthly subscription, you get no delivery fee on orders over $12, 5% off orders more than $15, exclusive perks and deals, and 10% off your first three Uber rides every month. There’s a one-month free trial to test it out and then it’ll cost you $9.99 per month.
Download: Postmates for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
Food Delivery Isn’t Cheap, but Don’t Pay More Than You Should
It’s always going to be less expensive to order food from somewhere and pick it up yourself, but that’s not always the most convenient or appealing option. Food delivery apps come in handy when you’re busy at work or you just don’t feel like leaving the house, but that doesn’t mean it should cost you $15 for a $5 meal.
Uber Eats and Grubhub were pretty close, but Uber Eats just barely won out. If you find yourself using a food delivery app a lot, you’d really benefit from subscribing to a monthly plan. And if you love the convenience of delivery, you might consider checking out other convenient services like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program or grocery delivery services.
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