I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew. My husband knows this well and is no longer surprised when I announce plans to make dinner, walk the dog, fold the laundry, and bake a loaf of banana bread in an hour.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, Americans like myself are simultaneously cramming schedules and craving convenience, and food delivery apps have found their niche in the space between. In an effort to save time, support local businesses, and — of course — satisfy cravings, people are utilizing these platforms more than ever before, and the estimated $82 billion industry is “set to more than double by 2025.” However, with similar pricing models and restaurant selections, it can be challenging for new users to filter through the options available.
I recently explored these apps for myself and learned a great deal about what these services have to offer and how they rise above their rivals.
Quickly compare: Grubhub vs. DoorDash vs. Postmates vs. Uber Eats vs. Delivery.com
*We’ve got a great table for you here; be sure to scroll right to view the entire table!
Grubhub DoorDash Postmates Uber Eats Delivery.com
Best for Deals Reputation Variety Cost Consistency
Number of cities serviced 3,200 4,000 4,200 500 100
Number of restaurants featured 300,000 300,000 600,000 320,000 12,000
Delivery fee (additional fees apply) Typically less than $7 $0-$8 $1-$10 Typically less than $6 Typically $5-$6 (for restaurants)
Membership subscription Grubhub+: $9.99 per month (free two-week trial); unlimited free delivery from eligible restaurants and 10% cashback for every $100 you spend DashPass: $9.99 per month (free one-month trial); zero delivery fees on orders from select restaurants, as well as zero delivery fees and lower service fees on orders over $12 Postmates Unlimited: $9.99 per month or $99.99 annually (free seven-day trial); free delivery for orders over $12, no extra fees during “blitz” hours, and additional perks and offers Eats Pass: $9.99 per month, unlimited free delivery (even during busy hours) and 5% off orders of $15 or more for your region N/a (However, you can earn Delivery Points for every $1 spent and redeem them for cash in the app or electronic merchandise)
Also delivers Alcohol Groceries, alcohol “Anything from anywhere” (groceries, alcohol, flowers, “fake birds,” etc.) Alcohol (in “certain markets in South Florida”) Groceries, alcohol, gifts, laundry, and catering
Grubhub recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary, making it one of the more established food delivery services in America. Today, their platform features more than 300,000 restaurants in 3,200 US cities. Delivery fees are often less than $7, but with Grubhub+ you can receive unlimited free delivery from thousands of restaurants and 10% cash back for every $100 you spend. Grubhub also offers a variety of special perks and discounts — especially for new users — like free delivery at Subway or $5.00 off at your local smoothie shop (or, rather, my local smoothie shop).
While their app is a little busier than others, their extensive search options can help you locate exactly what you’re craving — and fast! Sort through restaurants by delivery fee, cuisine, rating, distance, and even what’s new to the neighborhood.
I tested out Grubhub on a Saturday afternoon and ordered a black bean quesarito from a Taco Bell roughly seven minutes from my home. Here’s what I experienced:
- Time of order: 4:04pm
- Estimated arrival: 4:25pm-4:35pm
- Quesarito secured: 4:23pm
- $2.99 – black bean quesarito.
- $2.00 – “small order” fee.
- $3.99 – delivery fee.
- $0.37 – service fee.
- $9.35 – total cost (not including tip).
Grubhub’s response to COVID-19
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grubhub has established the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, which allows you to round up your order to the nearest dollar and donate your change to charitable organizations supporting local restaurants and drivers impacted by the pandemic.
You can also take advantage of their Supper for Support initiative to receive $10 off your order of $30 or more (available at participating restaurants from 5 pm-9 pm).
Grubhub and DoorDash are, perhaps, the most alike among the five apps featured in this article. However, in 2019 DoorDash overtook GrubHub in consumer spending market share and was rated the top on-demand food delivery service. Founded in 2013, DoorDash is now available in more than 4,000 US cities, featuring 300,000 restaurants.
Delivery fees vary on DoorDash — as with Grubhub — but they typically range from $1.99 up to $8. DoorDash’s subscription, DashPass, offers zero delivery fees on orders from select restaurants, as well as zero delivery fees and reduced service fees for orders over $12. In addition, DoorDash provides several deals and discounts — often prioritizing first-time users — such as free delivery for orders over $10.
DoorDash’s app is also a little complicated, but I found it easier to navigate than Grubhub’s. You can filter through options based on the type of food you want, the price, ratings, and more, and they clearly list the delivery fees and estimated delivery time for each restaurant.
I tried out DoorDash on a Saturday and purchased a black tea lemonade from a Starbucks about eight minutes from my home. Here’s what I experienced:
- Time of order: 1:42pm
- Estimated arrival: 2:38pm
- Tea transferred: 2:30pm
- $3.45 – black tea lemonade.
- $2.00 – “small order” fee.
- $0.00 – delivery fee (first-time offer; typically $5.99).
- $0.62 – service fee.
- $6.07 – total cost (not including tip).
DoorDash’s response to COVID-19
As COVID-19 threatens local businesses and communities, DoorDash CEO and co-founder Tony Xu announced “a package of commission relief and marketing support” to help restaurant partners increase revenue during the pandemic.
They have also implemented programs to provide financial assistance and health protection for couriers and have even joined forces with community organizations to deliver food to hard-hit communities.
Postmates is unique among the food delivery giants, primarily because of what they deliver — “anything from anywhere.” In a USA Today article, Postmates shared some of their most unusual orders — from a $3,400 dress for a user who’d stained her own to “the dopest and most colorful of the fake birds.” Launched in 2011, Postmates now operates in 4,200 US cities and features more than 600,000 businesses on their platform.
Delivery fees for Postmates fluctuate based on the time of day — increased during busy times, which they refer to as “blitz pricing” (Uber Eats has a similar policy) — and whether or not the restaurant or business is a Postmates Partner. Delivery charges can be anywhere from $0.99-$3.99 for partner merchants and $5.99-$9.99 for everything else. However, with their subscription service, Postmates Unlimited, you can receive free delivery for orders over $12, no extra fees during “blitz” hours, as well as additional perks and offers.
Unlike DoorDash and Grubhub, the Postmates app has a much simpler design, which also makes it easy to use. You can select from three options at the top of the screen — “Delivery,” “Pickup,” or “Party” (a feature that offers free delivery from restaurants currently trending in the app; available for orders over $10) — and search categories like fast food, coffee, Mexican, and more.
I ordered through Postmates on a Saturday and purchased a cinnamon roll from Great Harvest Bread Company, about seven minutes from my home. Here’s what I experienced:
- Time of order: 1:54pm
- Latest arrival: 2:39pm
- Roll received: 2:05pm
- $2.75 – cinnamon roll.
- $0.00 – “small cart” fee ($1.99 discount applied with Postmates Unlimited).
- $5.99 – delivery fee.
- $0.58 – service fee.
- $9.32 – total cost (not including tip).
Postmates’ response to COVID-19
To assist businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19, Postmates is donating funds to World Central Kitchen — a non-profit founded by Chef Jose Andres, currently supporting those impacted by COVID-19 — and temporarily waiving commission fees for businesses in the SF Bay Area.
They have also created the Postmates Fleet Relief Fund to help cover health expenses related to COVID-19 (regardless of diagnosis) for their drivers.
Although Uber Eats arrived on the scene a little later than its competitors — launching in 2014 — it has proven itself a formidable rival. An informal study conducted by MarketWatch determined Uber Eats to be the cheapest food delivery service, after ordering a hamburger and fries through four different delivery apps. Uber Eats works with 320,000 restaurant partners in more than 500 cities globally.
Delivery fees are easy to spot as you scroll through the Uber Eats app and seem to generally fall into a $0-$5.49 range (though they can be greater than $6). Similar to Postmates, delivery fees may increase when there are more orders in a certain area than there are couriers who can deliver them. But to help cut costs, the Eats Pass offers unlimited free delivery as well as 5% off orders of $15 or more for your region. You can also take advantage of special promotions for new users, like 40% off your first four orders (which I promptly accepted!).
The Uber Eats app is fairly simple and user-friendly. Delivery fees are easy to locate on the main search screen, and you can also limit your selection by price, delivery fee, and even dietary preferences — like vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
I tried out Uber Eats on a Sunday afternoon and ordered an iced latte from a local cafe, about ten minutes from my home. Here’s what I experienced:
- Time of order: 1:15pm
- Latest arrival: 2:05pm
- Latte landed: 1:33pm
- $5.40 – iced latte.
- $2.00 – “small order” fee.
- $0.00 – delivery fee (waived for local restaurants during COVID-19!).
- $0.81 – service fee.
- (-$2.16) – promotion (40% off your first four orders; limited to $10 per order).
- $6.05 – total cost (not including tip).
Uber Eats’ response to COVID-19
In the wake of COVID-19, Uber Eats is temporarily waiving delivery fees for more than 100,000 local restaurants. They’ve also implemented various other measures such as free rides, meals, and deliveries for healthcare workers, as well as financial assistance to drivers and delivery people.
Unlike the services mentioned thus far, delivery.com doesn’t send out drivers to pick up and deliver your order. Instead, the app and website serve as a platform for businesses to deliver their own products. Consequently, they are designed to work with a wider variety of businesses — including laundry services and catering companies — than the competitors above. However, even with their 16-year history, delivery.com is the clear underdog among the food delivery platforms, operating in just over 100 cities with 12,000 businesses.
Delivery.com has a wide range of fees to match its wide range of businesses, but many of the featured restaurants have similar delivery charges as those on competing platforms — an average of $5-$6. However, they don’t appear to charge any sort of service fee or “small order” fee.
In addition, delivery.com does not offer a subscription service, but instead provides Delivery Points. Users earn 20 points for every $1 spent and redeem them for cash in the app or electronic merchandise, such as an iPad mini 4 or Chromecast.
Unfortunately, my attempt to test out delivery.com failed shortly after downloading the app. When I realized there were no services available in my area, I chose an address in Waco, Texas, instead — one of their more popular locations. Although the selection was still minimal, the options were easy to browse and included plenty of skimmable details like the restaurant’s rating, delivery fee, estimated delivery time, and more.
All this said, if you have the opportunity to try delivery.com, you’ll likely find a slimmer selection, but better deals when compared to the multiple fees for larger food delivery services.
Delivery.com’s response to COVID-19
In the wake of COVID-19, delivery.com has implemented several initiatives to support partner organizations (matching contributions from users), protect drivers (contactless delivery and safety training), and even assist healthcare workers (raising funds for meal donations to local hospitals).
How food delivery works
In a space formerly occupied by pizza delivery boys and Chinese takeout, food delivery apps are shaking things up. According to analytics company, Second Measure, “sales to the four largest apps — DoorDash, Grubhub (which owns Seamless), Uber Eats, and Postmates — have tripled since 2016.”
Unlike meal delivery services such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, food delivery apps let you order your favorite meals and drinks from nearby restaurants without ever leaving the couch. They provide users with thousands of businesses to choose from, and delivery drivers can pick up your food just minutes after you’ve ordered.
Despite these perks, convenience still comes at a cost — literally. A study from the NPD Group revealed that “consumers pay 42% more using third-party and restaurant delivery apps than when they buy takeout or eat in the restaurant.” In addition to delivery fees, the apps charge a service fee (often 10-15% of your order), an occasional “small order” fee (typically $2 for orders under $10-$15), and increased pricing during busy hours (not applicable to all apps).
It comes down to this: I would argue there’s no clear service that takes the cake.
Grubhub and DoorDash have led the charge in sales and, arguably, in popularity, but Uber Eats is close behind with affordable prices and rapid growth.
Meanwhile, Postmates maintains the lead in restaurants featured and cities serviced, and delivery.com expands reaching a broader range of businesses.
While these services may vary in size and scope, they all bring something unique to the table. Give them a shot and see which one fits your taste!