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What Is the Cheapest Delivery App for Food in 2021?

Last updated: October 6, 2021
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vector graphic of food delivery services making deliveries like doordash, grubhub, and uber eats

Do you want to save money on food but don’t have the time to go and get it yourself?

While using food delivery services is an option, they have a reputation for being expensive.

Thankfully, several popular apps allow their users to enjoy the perks of saving both time and money.

What Is the Cheapest Delivery App for Food?

vector graphic showing an illustration of the cheapest delivery app

When looking for the cheapest delivery app for food, you should consider a few popular options.

Then, you can make sure you get the best deal on your food delivery service.

No two apps are precisely the same, and it can be hard to figure out which one costs the least.

However, you can look at the different fees that go into each app.

Consider the following delivery apps to get food from local restaurants.

1. DoorDash

vector graphic showing illustration that explains

DoorDash is an excellent choice for a lot of people.

Here’s what you should know about ordering food using the app:

  • It has a website and app where customers can browse restaurants and place orders.
  • As of 2020, DoorDash has 45% of the market share for delivery apps.
  • The app charges customers a flat rate of $1.99 to $5.99 rather than a commission fee based on a percentage.
  • DoorDash charges a surge fee during popular delivery times.
  • Restaurants need to pay a 15% fee when using the DoorDash merchant program for deliveries.
  • There’s no minimum amount per order, but you’ll need to spend more than $15 to get free delivery. If you spend less than $10, DoorDash will charge a $2 small order fee.
  • The DoorDash app offers different promotions within the app, such as $15 off or 30% off your order.

Using DoorDash can be a great way to get discounts on local restaurants.

And you can save time since you don’t need to drive to get your food.

2. Grubhub

vector graphic showing grubhub drivers pickup up food from a restaurant as part of the grubhub for restaurants program

Grubhub is another contender for the cheapest delivery app for food.

Consider what you may need to pay when using this program.

  • It connects customers with nearby restaurants, and customers can pay online or using cash.
  • While it used to have a larger market share, Grubhub has just under 20% of the market as of 2020.
  • The Grubhub delivery fee is under $7 for most orders. If you get Grubhub+, you can pay $9.99 a month to get free delivery from participating restaurants.
  • Grubhub doesn’t use surge pricing, meaning it could be the cheapest delivery app option during peak hours.
  • Grubhub charges restaurants 10% for each delivery. The app also charges 20% for every order that comes through the Grubhub app.
  • You don’t have to worry about order minimums, so customers can order what they want.
  • The app offers a few different promotions, such as free delivery or a free trial of Grubhub+.

If you want to order food during a busy lunch or dinner rush, Grubhub might be the most affordable option.

You don’t have to worry about surge pricing, so you can pay the same at peak and non-peak times.

3. Uber Eats

Uber wanted to join the food ordering business, and Uber Eats was the best way to go.

But you should consider how Uber Eats prices orders.

  • Uber Eats is the food delivery part of the overall business of Uber. Drivers can do rideshare and food delivery or one or the other.
  • It has about 22% of the market for popular food delivery apps.
  • The app charges a delivery fee of $3.99, but it also has service fees from $1 to $4.
  • Surge pricing does exist with Uber, so customers should prepare to pay more during busy times when driver availability changes.
  • Uber Eats charges restaurants a 30% service fee. Restaurants that either offer pick-up or utilize their own delivery staff have that fee reduced to 15%.
  • You don’t need to worry about minimum orders when using Uber Eats.
  • The app offers similar Uber Eats promo codes to other food delivery apps, from percentages to dollar amounts off your order.

If you already use Uber for rides, using Uber Eats makes sense.

You don’t have to download another app to take advantage of the service.

4. Postmates

vector graphic of a man holding a smartphone and money coming out from the phone because he used a postmates promo code. A delivery driver on a bike is delivering his food

When looking to order from your favorite local restaurant, consider using Postmates.

Here’s what you need to know about the app:

  • You can find Postmates in over 100 cities and metro areas, and you can use it for more than food delivery.
  • Postmates had about 4% of the market share in the summer of 2021.
  • Rather than charging a commission fee, customers have to pay a flat fee to Postmates. When ordering from a partner restaurant, the fee is $3,99. Otherwise, the cost is $5.99.
  • Postmates uses blitz pricing, which is its version of surge pricing. You can expect to pay more during peak hours.
  • Restaurants have to pay Postmates 30% on every order.
  • Postmates doesn’t have a minimum order requirement, but it does charge a $1.99 small order fee.
  • You can get anywhere from $10 to $25 off delivery when using the Postmates app.

While it doesn’t have a significant market share, Postmates is great.

You can order from a lot of restaurants without paying a ton.

5. Caviar

If you don’t like fast food or other restaurant chains, you may find that Caviar suits your needs better.

But how does it stack up in terms of the cost?

  • Caviar focuses on food delivery from higher-end restaurants. That sets it apart from your average delivery service.
  • It only has about 2% of the total market share as of 2018.
  • Delivery fees range from $1.99 to $8.99, depending on your city and how far you are from the restaurant.
  • It’s unclear if Caviar charges a surge fee.
  • Restaurants need to pay 30% to Caviar when using it for delivery.
  • Caviar doesn’t have a minimum order requirement, but most of the restaurants on the app are expensive.
  • The app will sometimes run promotions, such as free delivery.

Caviar is an excellent app to consider for high-end restaurants.

However, it’s not the cheapest delivery app for food.

Why Is Food Delivery So Expensive?

Food delivery is expensive because you pay for a lot more than the food.

You also have to pay the delivery driver, and the app has to make a profit.

And if you order during peak hours, you have to compete with other customers.

That means the apps can afford to charge higher fees for your food.

An online ordering system is also convenient, so you don’t have to spend time getting the food you order.

Instead, you pay for that convenience with money rather than your time and effort to pick up the food.

vector graphic showing the best food delivery services to work for

Easy Way to Save: Food Delivery Subscriptions

If you order food for delivery often, you should consider a food delivery subscription.

Most of the popular food delivery apps have some sort of program for you to join.

Each subscription will require you to pay about $10 a month.

Then, you can get as much food as you want and qualify for free delivery.

Some programs offer free delivery no matter what, while others simply lower the minimum order to eliminate the delivery fee.

Either way, these programs can be a great way for subscribers to save money.

Since delivery fees can be about $4 or so, you’ll come out ahead after a few deliveries.

So even if you only order food once a week, you can save money overall.

However, it’s not the best option if you don’t use delivery apps that often.

It’s also not a great choice if you frequently switch between multiple apps because you may not order enough to make the subscription worth it.

If you want to save money with a subscription, find the best food delivery app that works with all of the local restaurants you like.

Then, you can subscribe to that program, and you can make the most of the savings.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have some questions about the cheapest delivery app for food.

Here are a few things you should know when choosing a delivery app.

Should I tip my delivery driver?

You should always tip your delivery driver.

Drivers do get a base pay for each order, but many rely on tips to help make money.

If you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, consider ordering something small so that you will have money leftover.

Or you can order takeout and go and pick up the food yourself.

Should you use the website or app?

Some delivery services let you use a website or an Android or iOS app.

You can use whichever is most comfortable for you to view menus and place your order.

Using the Cheapest Delivery App

The cheapest delivery app for food depends on a few factors.

It can vary based on your order amount, location, and if you have a subscription.

Be sure to compare a few delivery apps and their delivery and surge fees.

Then, you can choose the cheapest food delivery app to save as much money as you can on your next food order.

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