Looking for good eats at your home? Check out the best food delivery apps of the year to get meals from your favorite local restaurants.
Companies like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber are gaining popularity throughout the United States, where in-person dining is either restricted or not allowed at all. Whether the best food delivery apps continue to please once the pandemic is over is anyone’s guess. For now, take advantage of the services each provides.
The Best Food Delivery Apps
Ultimately, your location has a lot to say about which food delivery app is the best for you. While those living in cities are likely to have access to every popular service, those in the suburbs and rural areas will not. If a service isn’t yet available in your area, keep checking since it’s more than likely coming soon. When it does, look for discount codes and coupons that also are available when services around in a new place.
Available in over 4,000 locations across the United States, Grubhub is the No.1 choice for many eaters each month. With a vast network of restaurant partners, the company will probably deliver food to you from both national chains and local hotspots. Grubhub has one of the best apps to date on iOS and Android among the food delivery services.
With the Grubhub app, you can search for restaurants by delivery or pickup and by food type. Sorting is available by recommended, fastest, price, rating, and distance. Under the Perks tab, you can find featured deals in your location. For each restaurant, you can clearly see the delivery charge and estimated arrival time for orders. Menus are largely designed to match the physical ones in the restaurants, with the most popular items placed near the top of the app. Reviews are only a click away.
When placing an order for the first time, Grubhub will need information, including your address and phone number, email, and payment option. You can also link your Grubhub account with a social sign-in, including Apple, Facebook, and Google.
Services typically have hefty delivery fees that can be reduced or eliminated through a monthly subscription. In this case, there’s the $9.99 per month Grubhub + membership. With this, you can enjoy free delivery on orders over $12 at most of its listed restaurants, plus receive a free pickup meal every month. Additional and sporadic member-only perks are also offered.
If Grubhub doesn’t deliver from your favorite local restaurant, it’s probably because of DoorDash. Also available in over 4,000 locations around the U.S. and elsewhere, DoorDash is second to Grubhub in terms of reach, but that doesn’t mean much on a location-to-location basis. What makes DoorDash extra special is its easy ordering procedures and delivery tracking options.
To place an order through DoorDash, you can select from one of the many categories at the top of the screen or scroll down to see each listing according to location. For further customization, you can search for restaurants by rating and whether they also offer pickup. Each listing clearly shows the delivery fee and estimated delivery time.
With a $9.99 per month DoorDash membership, you can receive free delivery on orders over $12 from participating restaurants.
After placing an order, DoorDash regularly updates your order status. Once the DoorDasher picks up your order, you can see where they are on a map and the estimated arrival time. If you’ve chosen the social distancing delivery option, you’ll receive a snapshot of your meal indicating its location outside your home.
It should surprise no one that Uber has gotten into the food-delivery game. Uber Eats is available in just over 500 locations in the U.S. It’s a smaller footprint than Grubhub and DoorDash. And yet, it’s available in more countries than the other two, which is something to keep in mind.
The Uber Eats app includes a layout that will look familiar to anyone who has used the regular Uber service. In this case, restaurants are organized by categories, plus you can find places by deals, whether they offer family meals, and by other factors. A $9.99-per-month Eats Pass gives you free delivery on most orders and an additional discount on orders over $15.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Uber Eats, except that its overall footprint isn’t nearly as large as the big two. That could change over time, of course.
If you have Uber Eats in your area, sign up for an account and enjoy the coupons.
Now owned by Uber, Postmates is a separate food delivery option available in more than 4,200 U.S. locations. Its focus is on 24/7 delivery of food and other items, depending on your location. Heavily city-based, Postmates has built-in delivery and surge pricing during peak hours. With a Postmates Unlimited subscription (the familiar $9.99 per month), however, you can eliminate the surge pricing and delivery charges for orders that are over $15.
Uber says it will run Postmates separately from Uber Eats, although that’s not necessarily its long-term position. For now, both services provide similar services with some minor differences. Don’t be surprised if they were to merge into one service in the future.
Other Food Delivery Apps
There are other services worth considering for food delivery. Again, choosing to try one over another comes down to whether the service is available where you live.
Owned by Grubhub, Seamless is nearly the same as the mother ship and has a similar U.S. footprint. Seamless’s biggest advantage tends to be in larger cities, especially New York, where it has partnered with many local establishments. Outside of the cities, the two services are so similar there’s no reason to use one over the other.
If you use Seamless, you can take advantage of free shipping with Seamless+ membership, which is $9.99 each month.
Owned by Square, Caviar offers limited service in 28 cities and regions across the U.S. As its name suggests, Caviar doesn’t focus on fast-food restaurants. Instead, it concentrates on bringing home goodies from premium local restaurants.
Finally, there’s ChowNow, which is currently available in about 20 locations around the country. Another service focused on local restaurants, not chains, ChowNow provides commission-free ordering. The twist: ChowNow only offers order pickups at restaurants, not deliveries. Technically, ChowNow shouldn’t be on our list for this reason. And yet, we like how it supports local businesses, so it’s included.
About Delivery Fees and Tipping
If you’re new to food delivery services, you’re likely to experience some sticker shock regarding delivery fees and suggested tipping amounts. While you’re sure to find some delivery fee discounts on each service, these aren’t the norm. Instead, expect to pay up to 15% of your order total in delivery fees. Yes, this is a steep price to pay, which is why you’re advised to subscribe to one of the monthly membership plans to remove these fees on most deliveries.
When it comes to tipping, be sure to award your driver for a job well done. These folks are typically independent contractors and rarely get a piece of the regular delivery fees. Therefore, tip them accordingly!
Best Food Delivery Apps: Summary
Food delivery has grown significantly in recent years and no longer only includes pizza and Chinese food. Today, companies like Grubhub and Doordash are delivering meals from restaurants large and small. The service that’s right for you largely depends on your location. Find the one that’s right for you and happy eating.