Serious food cravings can kick in at just about any time. But, that doesn’t mean you can — or want to — just get up and go.
With so many people stuck at home because of the Coronavirus, many are now enjoying food from comfort of your home. Luckily, there are a host of food delivery services that can help you access your local favorites with just a smartphone in hand.
Food delivery isn’t a new concept, but in recent years, there’s been an explosion of smartphone apps that make getting food delivered to your doorstep even easier. There’s no longer a need to Google a restaurant’s phone number, find their menu, pull out your credit card, or make a call. All you need to do is order from your preferred app in just a few taps.
For drivers on the lookout for new gigs, this growth in food delivery apps may present a convenient opportunity. We’ll go over how these services work for customers and drivers below, then introduce you to seven food delivery platforms you could join today.
- How Food Delivery Services Work for Customers
- The 7 Best Food Delivery Services
- How Food Delivery Services Work for Drivers
How Food Delivery Services Work
Modern food delivery services connect customers to prepared meals from a wide variety of restaurants and retailers, all on one convenient platform.
Instead of heading to a local restaurant or ordering from your phone, these services allow you to order online without even speaking to an employee.
Benefits of Food Delivery Services
Convenience is a clear perk of modern food delivery services. In addition to getting food to your doorstep with just your smartphone, they also ensure delivery is a completely cashless experience.
Once you have a payment method on file, the price of your meal and tip, as well as your delivery fees and service fees, will automatically be charged to your preferred credit card (or even digital wallet, in some cases).
Many of these food delivery apps also make ongoing discounts possible. With the majority providing referral programs, you can get free delivery — sometimes even free meals — just for getting your friends to join.
Whichever platform to choose, you’ll be able to have access to a large lineup of meals and other products. This way, you won’t have to add clutter to your smartphone or head to multiple locations to order food from your many favorite places.
The 7 Best Food Delivery Services for 2021
As food delivery continues to be in demand, plenty of national, regional, and local companies are entering the industry. In the United States, these are some of the most popular delivery options around.
It’s a beautiful thing. But the number of online food ordering services is overwhelming. When you search for “order food online” you will be greeted by 1,290,000,000 results. With so many options for food delivery, it can get confusing.
To make things simpler, we sifted through some of the most well-known services (and a few you’ve probably never heard of) to see what they are all about. We’ve covered a lot of these services in detail, so be sure to click the links to learn more about the individual services.
We’re sure there are a lot more that didn’t make the list, so if you think we are overlooking a company that should be included, leave a comment and let us know! We also chose to omit any grocery delivery services since they are in a little bit different category.
1. Grubhub and Seamless
You’ll notice when you read through this list, GrubHub is clearly one of the leaders in the food delivery space.
They’ve developed a massive user base and used their large wallets to purchase many of their competitors. While many of the companies on this list are unlikely to make it through 2021 and beyond, GrubHub seems here to stay.
One of the original leaders in the industry, Grubhub remains a huge contender in the food delivery world. It connects users in London and over 3,200 U.S. cities to food from over 300,000 restaurants. The company also owns Seamless, which is essentially the same service on a different app and is available in over 600 U.S. cities.
The Grubhub brands are largely focused on on-demand deliveries. However, they both also allow users to order pick-up — which means you can stay in the comfort of your home until your meal is ready to pick up at the restaurant — or to order catering for delivery. Grubhub and Seamless also offer scheduled food delivery services as far as a week in advance.
As orders come in from customers of either brand, Grubhub drivers or bikers receive requests and directions on their Grubhub for Drivers app.
Customers can expect to pay a delivery fee, which may range from $0-$10, unless you choose to pick-up your order. Some restaurants on the platforms also set minimum order totals.
- Download Grubhub on iPhone or Android, or download Seamless on iPhone or Android.
- Get $12 in free Grubhub credit with our Grubhub promo code
- Learn how to apply with our Guide to Becoming a Grubhub Driver
DoorDash is the company that’s currently raking in more monthly sales than any other food delivery service in the U.S.
Whether you’re craving fast food, Thai, vegan food, or something from your local convenience store, you can use DoorDash to order in over 800 North American cities. The company even has partnerships with national chains like McDonald’s, Five Guys, and Papa John’s.
Much like Grubhub, the DoorDash app allows users to choose delivery or pick-up. DoorDash charges fees for their service, so expect to get upcharged when ordering.
When choosing delivery, you can expect a $5.99 delivery fee, though some restaurants offer free delivery while others charge more. These fees don’t cover a tip for your driver, which we highly suggest. You can also use DoorDash to make group orders at no extra cost.
DoorDash drivers — or, in some markets, delivery people on bike, scooter, or foot — receive requests and directions on their smartphones by using the DoorDash Driver app.
- Download DoorDash on iPhone or Android.
- Get free delivery on any order with a DoorDash promo code
- Need help? Here’s how to contact DoorDash customer service
- Learn how to apply with our Guide to Becoming a DoorDash Driver
3. Uber Eats
While you may think of Uber as a ridesharing company, it also operates one of the three leading food delivery services in the United States.
You can learn more about how Uber Eats works, but the process is not any different from its major competitors like DoorDash and Postmates. It currently operates in over 500 cities, with operations on all six inhabited continents.
In addition to pick-up and delivery services, Uber Eats uniquely offers a “Dine-In” option. This allows users to head over to their selected restaurant when their food is ready and immediately be seated and served. Uber Eats restaurants have the option to offer users exclusive deals on the platform, too.
If you’re enrolled in Uber Rewards, you can even earn credits to spend on your meals, just by using any Uber service. However, you can still expect to pay a delivery fee (often under $5), a $2 small order fee (for orders under $10), and a busy area fee (if you order delivery during peak hours).
Uber Eats drivers still use the regular Uber Driver app to receive delivery requests. In fact, current Uber drivers can opt to deliver without reapplying.
- Download Uber Eats on iPhone or Android.
- Save $7 off your first order with our Uber Eats promo code
- Need help? Here’s how to contact Uber Eats customer service
- Learn how to apply with our Guide to Becoming an Uber Eats Driver
While Postmates is a popular food delivery service, what makes it stand out is the fact that it delivers just about anything. Whether you’re in need of a notebook from Staples or a plate of your favorite tacos, Postmates aims to offer pick-up and delivery for just about anything. Vendors can also offer daily deals on the platform.
Postmates is actually one of the few food delivery apps that allow users to order alcohol without any food, which means you can easily get a bottle of wine for your next date night. If you want more options, there are plenty of other alcohol delivery apps available.
For delivery orders, Postmates customers can expect to pay a delivery fee of 99 cents to $3.99 for partner merchants (marked with a green check mark in the app) and $5.99–$9.99 for other retailers. A $1.99 small cart fee will also apply for orders under $12, or under $10 in Los Angeles. We’d also suggest tipping your driver, which will almost always add a few extra dollars onto your order.
Prospective Postmates delivery drivers from serviced cities in all 50 U.S. states can sign up for their gig through the Postmates Fleet app, which is also used to fulfill delivery requests.
- Download Postmates on iPhone or Android.
- Get $100 in free delivery credit with our Postmates Promo Code
- Need help? Here’s how to contact Postmates customer service
- Learn how to apply with our Guide to Becoming a Postmates Driver
If you’re looking for access to higher-end restaurants, Caviar may be a good fit for you. Available in a handful of major metro areas — including San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. — Caviar is a premium option in the world of food delivery services.
Pick-up, delivery, catering, and scheduled delivery services are all available on the Caviar platform. You can expect to pay a service fee (about 18% of your order), plus a $1.99-$8.99 delivery fee for delivery services. Because Caviar does connect you to exclusive restaurants, these retailers do have the option to charge their own small fees. Order minimums may also apply.
Though Caviar was recently acquired by DoorDash, following years of ownership by payment processing company Square, it remains its own unique platform. Drivers still receive orders through the Caviar Courier app.
- Download Caviar on iPhone or Android.
- Save $10 off your first order of $50 or more with our Caviar Promo Code
- Learn how to apply with our Guide to Becoming a Caviar Courier
With a strong presence in smaller cities and college towns in the United States, EatStreet has carved out its own niche among food delivery services. It’s now available in over 250 markets and has partnered with around 15,000 restaurants.
The platform itself functions much like its competitors’ apps, allowing users to order delivery or takeout from plenty of local restaurants. You will be charged a delivery fee, which varies by vendor, for delivery orders. Much like Grubhub and DoorDash, each restaurant may set a minimum order total.
While the food ordering experience may not be different, the driving experience is. EatStreet uniquely hires delivery drivers as employees instead of as independent contractors, so you may have access to training, benefits, and opportunities for advancement — all without entirely giving up your flexibility.
Delivery.com has been around as an online food delivery service since 1995, but in more recent years, it’s modernized by offering a smartphone app, too. Today, the company focuses on providing not only food, but alcohol, laundry, and dry cleaning delivery services, too.
What’s unique about Delivery.com is the fact that it connects customers directly with merchants. When you pay a delivery fee, this is charged directly by your selected merchants to offset the costs of their service. As you continue using the platform to order pick-up or delivery, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed on your checkout page.
Unfortunately, this does mean that Delivery.com doesn’t offer any driving gigs, but drivers can seek job openings with any of the merchants on the platform.
How Food Delivery Services Work for Drivers
The majority of the leading food delivery companies rely on independent contractors to pick up food from restaurants and fulfill delivery requests. When you become one of these delivery drivers, you get the power to earn on your own schedule — in a sense, becoming your own boss.
Your time driving for a food delivery service is primarily spent inside your vehicle. Though you’ll have some interactions with restaurant employees and customers throughout the day, it’s largely a relaxing gig in which you can listen to music or podcasts behind the wheel — and you’ll only need to work when you have the time.
When you are ready to work, simply keep your delivery driver app open on your smartphone, and you’ll know exactly where you need to head to next.
Landing a Job
Since you won’t be transporting customers in your car, food delivery services tend to have lenient requirements for drivers. You typically just need to be 18 or 19 years old with a valid driver’s license, vehicle insurance, and proof of vehicle registration. It’s also important that you’re able to pass a background check. Most personal cars that are in decent condition will work for the gig, and vehicle inspections are rarely necessary.
As long as you meet these requirements, there’s likely at least one driving gig out there for you. The application process is usually as simple as signing up online or in app, and waiting a week or less for your background check to clear. Interviews are rarely required.
According to Glassdoor, the average full-time food delivery driver makes just over $27,000 per year, plus approximately $7,560 in tips, bonuses, and other cash compensations. Average hourly rates typically range between $10 and $13 per hour.
However, your earnings will depend on a wide variety of factors, so you’re never guaranteed or limited to this level of pay. These factors may include your location, whether or not you work during peak hours, and how far you’re traveling for each request. Tips can also greatly impact your annual and even weekly earnings.
Order or Earn More Conveniently Than Ever
Online food delivery services remain a prominent part of many people’s lives. By offering the convenience of food at your doorstep or earnings on your schedule, these companies are making it easier for you to get your favorite food or meet your financial goals.
However, all the fast food on the aforementioned platforms can be tempting. If you’re looking to eat foods that are better for you, while still getting the same convenience, check out these healthy food delivery services and breakfast delivery services that can send meal kits and prepared food to your door.
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.