What is the cheapest food delivery app? And does cheapest mean best? How can you choose the best food delivery app without breaking the bank? These are all questions that restaurant owners the world over have been asking themselves for years, but 2020 has made them especially important. Finding a good food delivery app with the lowest fees can be a decision that makes or breaks businesses. That sounds serious, right?
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most popular food delivery apps to help you decide which could be best for your business. Math is math, and a good food delivery app price comparison will help you make the right decision.
What’s cheaper, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, Grubhub, Caviar or own branded app?
Let’s start with a question that’s been on the minds of restaurateurs for months: what’s cheaper, DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats or maybe GrubHub? Well, it all depends on where you are on the map exactly. Several months ago, one curious yet housebound journalist from Charlotte decided to check which of the most popular apps comes out cheapest and best.
The first interesting thing he discovered was that dishes from the exact same restaurants cost different amount of money ordering from different apps –– for example, in the case of his order of carne asada fries, Postmates came out cheapest at $9.25, with the same fries costing a dollar more on UberEats. At the end of the day, though, UberEats came out the cheapest despite its highest base price due to the cheapest cost of delivery.
When the journalist ordered a tofu teriyaki bowl, however, it was GrubHub that came out on top, at almost $3 cheaper than the other options. And when he next decided to order a Greek chicken pita, the winner was DoorDash, by an admittedly small amount of less than a dollar. At the end of the day, though, it was Uber Eats that won, with an average price that was just a few cents less than the competition. This would seem to indicate that if you are a customer looking for the absolute cheapest option, UberEats will likely be your app of choice.
Data on the other hand shows that although UberEats had 61% of the Miami market in October of 2020, DoorDash came out on top in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Houston. GrubHub, on the other hand, rules New York, garnering a whopping 51% of the market. The only city Postmates dominates in is Los Angeles, with 38% of the market.
Now let’s take a look at things from a business owner’s perspective.
Doordash claimed almost 27% of the market share in 2019, the most of any cheap food delivery apps. The app charges a 20% commission fee, which is actually not that much compared to its competitors. It is also available in all 50 states, which probably accounts for its enormous popularity –– people tend to stick with their favorite companies and brands. Using Doordash would grant you exposure to the largest number of potential customers.
GrubHub was the original cheap food delivery app, which later went on to buy Seamless, Eat24, Foodler and OrderUp. Grubhub operates in 2700 cities in all 50 states and charges commission varying from 15% to 30%, depending on restaurant and location. The app used to be the unquestioned market leader, but has recently fallen to a close second place behind DoorDash, with almost 27% of the market. Grubhub also offers the option of working with a restaurant’s own drivers, going as far as to offer POS integration. This makes it possible for them to integrate with your restaurant’s website and make the ordering process that much smoother.
Postmates only has about 12% of the market and operates in 1500 cities in 50 states, meaning using their service would give you access to fewer potential customers, though their reviews suggest their customers are among the most satisfied. Postmates charges a relatively high commission, however –– at 30%, their prices may well be one of the reasons they are less popular than their competitors among both customers and restaurants. The app makes up for this somewhat by offering all sorts of perks, like a plan costing $10 per month that guarantees free delivery for orders over $15. There is also no surge pricing, something that can really come in handy on a Saturday evening!
UberEats is available in only 500 cities worldwide, but still claims approximately 25% of the market share. The app is very easy to use, and Uber Eats’ large fleet of drivers mean there is always someone ready to deliver orders. One of the issues with UberEats is that due to Uber originally being something of a taxi service, UberEats drivers are not specifically trained to deal with food delivery. If you ever thought delivering food does not require any special skills at all, you would be mistaken. UberEats drivers have become rather infamous for their various delivery mishaps, ranging from cold food, to soup spilt all over the inside of the delivery bag, to orders that were delivered to the wrong address entirely and were never seen again. Their customer service representatives are also hard to get a hold of, making it that much more difficult to placate irritated customers. Given all that, UberEats also charges a surprisingly high commission, at 30-40%.
Caviar has set itself apart by being an upscale service that works only with selected restaurants. Their market share is much smaller than the other food delivery services mentioned on this list, at 3%. Caviar isn’t really competing with them, however –– they are doing their own thing in their own niche, and they have been quite successful at it for almost a decade. Caviar is available in only 11 major American cities (Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Manhattan, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Queens, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Portland, and Washington D.C.) so this app is likely not the right choice for most restaurants. Caviar does, however, offer dependable, high-end service at a commission rate of only 25%. It is also affiliated with Square POS, making the ordering process smooth for both the customer and the restaurant. So, if you happen to be located in one of these 11 cities and wish to ensure that your customers receive your dishes to their door in a timely, elegant fashion, be sure to check Caviar out.
Branded app. Rather than relying on third party ordering solutions like UberEats, GrubHub etc. you can sell directly from your own restaurant website with online ordering system and own branded mobile app. After all brand identity is absolutely necessary for businesses that want recurring customers and the cost is way lower – flat fee 49$ – 169$ (See pricing).
So, what is the cheapest food delivery app?
As always, the answer depends. It depends on what you’re selling and where, and whether price is really the only factor you want to take into consideration. Data on what apps are the most popular in your particular area will be especially useful here. You may also want to consider trying out a few to find the one you cooperate best with –– it may seem a little chaotic at first, but it will be worth it when you build strong relationships with return customers.
|GrubHub||15% – 30%|
|Own branded app||Flat 49$ – 169$ See pricing|