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When you hear the word “caviar,” you probably think about one or two things: those pricey fish egg appetizers that people eat at fancy dinner parties, or the pricey food delivery app that delivers food from some of your favorite restaurants. Either way, caviar apps and the Caviar app are all about premium fare.
For our purposes, we’ll be focusing on the Caviar delivery service. (Although depending on where you are, you might be able to get actual caviar delivered to you.) Much like other delivery platforms such as Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash, Caviar offers the convenience of ordering food online without ever leaving the comfort of your home or office. But unlike the other apps, Caviar features a more curated selection of restaurants and no fast-food joints.
So, how much does Caviar food delivery really cost, and is it worth it? In this guide, we’ll dig deeper into the fees and hidden costs of using this restaurant delivery service so you make an informed choice. But first, let’s take a look at Caviar and how it works.
- A Quick Overview of Caviar
- How the Caviar App Works
- Different Types of Caviar Fees
- One Way to Save Money on Caviar Fees
- Frequently Asked Questions
A Quick Overview of Caviar
Caviar is a food delivery service that allows users to order food from a variety of local restaurants. In August 2019, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu announced that the company was acquiring Caviar from Square (for $410 million, according to published reports).
The platform has continued to expand its markets and merchant selection. As of May 2020, the delivery service is available in 20 areas, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Portland, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
How the Caviar App Works
To use Caviar, simply download the app on your Apple or Android device or head to trycaviar.com to use the desktop version on your computer. You’ll be prompted to enter your address, which will allow you to browse local restaurants and filter your search based on preferences such as price, dietary preference, or cuisine.
Once you click on a restaurant, you can browse and select your menu items and add them to your cart. You can also choose to get your food order ASAP or schedule it for a future time or date within a seven-day window. When you’re done making all your choices, it’s time to pay.
It’s worth noting that after the coronavirus pandemic, Caviar began offering no-contact delivery to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Couriers simply leave your order at your door, and text or call you when it has been dropped off.
Different Types of Caviar Fees
As with most food delivery apps, ordering from Caviar is quite straightforward. But once you get to the payment portion, it’s time to take a closer look.
If you know a particular restaurant well and are familiar with the prices, you might be wondering why the menu item prices are a little higher on Caviar. Well, that’s because you’re being charged for the convenience of getting the food delivered to you. According to Caviar, menu prices are set by the restaurants.
For example, a burrito that costs $12 at your favorite cafe might be $13 on the Caviar app. While not every restaurant uses this tactic, some do as a way to offset their staffing fees and bag fees, as well as any other related costs. It’s worth noting that unlike the other fees in this list, restaurant fees are the only ones you will not clearly see in your cart before checkout.
Caviar applies a delivery fee to each order. Delivery fees vary based on the region and also the distance between the customer and restaurant. Typically, these prices are between $1.99 and $8.99. Once in a while, Caviar offers $0 delivery fee promotions for first-time users or to feature select restaurants. You’ll be able to see the delivery fee prior to checkout, and on pick-up orders there are no delivery fees.
Similar to the delivery fee, Caviar’s service fee fluctuates based on the region where it’s operating. A percentage-based fee is applied to each Caviar delivery order. This fee is not a gratuity for the driver, nor does it go to the restaurant.
The service fee helps Caviar offset the costs of paying couriers, providing customer support, processing payments, and other logistics. You’ll see the service fee before you check out for delivery. There are no service fees for pick-up orders.
You have to pay taxes no matter what, so Caviar can’t be blamed for this one. Taxes vary based on your subtotal and location.
Listed as “Courier Tip,” this field in the checkout page, this is where you can add your gratuity for the driver. The amount you give is entirely your choice, so keep in mind that these couriers work hard to get food delivered to you. Whatever you decide, Caviar’s tipping policy assures that 100% of tips go to the couriers.
Delivery orders usually require a minimum subtotal. During periods when demand surges (say, lunchtime), Caviar will increase the minimum subtotal in some areas. According to Caviar, the minimum will return to normal within 10 to 30 minutes. You’ll know if there are any increased minimums at the top of the website or app. There are no order minimums for pick-up orders.
One Way to Save Money on Caviar Fees
Although not available in all areas, you can save money if you’re in one of the select cities where Caviar offers pick-up. To do this, select “Pickup” from the restaurant selection page to view which restaurants in your area have this as an option. Since there are no order minimum subtotal or pick-up fees, you can end up saving a good chunk of change using this method.
Frequently Asked Questions
You now know more about the Caviar food delivery platform, but you still might have a few questions. Here are answers to some of the most common questions related to the Caviar app.
1. Where can you find Caviar promo codes?
Most Caviar promo codes are provided to new customers when they sign up, but you can sometimes get a code online or as a referral from a friend who already uses the app. Check out this guide to getting a Caviar promo code.
2. Does Caviar have a referral program?
Yes. Caviar’s referral program lets you share your exclusive referral link with people you know to earn credit toward your next order. Get more details on Caviar’s referral page.
3. How much are Caviar drivers paid?
Caviar’s website says that couriers (the company’s term for drivers) can earn up to $25 per hour. But users on Glassdoor have reported it’s closer to $16 an hour. Learn more with this guide on how much Caviar drivers make in 2020.
Caviar Food Delivery: Sure, It’s Convenient, But It’ll Cost You
Back in the day, a caviar app meant an appetizer of salty roe. But today, more people think of the Caviar app, as in the on-demand platform that lets you order food from some of your favorite restaurants. While on-demand food delivery is incredibly convenient, there are a number of fees you need to know about.
Between menu surcharges, delivery fees and service fees, plus taxes and tip, that $12 hamburger you were craving can quickly double in price. So, the next time you feel like getting some food delivered to your door, consider if the cost of convenience is truly worth it.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.