If you’re getting food delivered, it’s because you want convenience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Amazon Flex, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats or another food delivery platform – convenience comes at a cost.
But exactly how much are we talking? Let’s take a look at the costs for the popular yet relative newcomer to the food delivery space: Uber Eats.
What Is Uber Eats?
Never heard of Uber Eats? We wrote a full guide explaining the benefits of it for customers, as well as how you can drive for the service. Uber Eats is a food delivery service built off the success of the popular Uber rideshare company, known for UberX (cheap everyday rides), UberBLACK (luxury black car service) and UberPOOL (lower rideshare fares in exchange for sharing a ride). Uber Eats launched in San Francisco in 2014, and it’s since gone on to expand its reach around the globe, currently operating in dozens of countries.
Getting your food delivered with Uber Eats is as easy as ordering an Uber. Just open the app, select your food and pay with a couple of taps using the debit card, credit card or other payment method on file (no need to give your credit card info over the phone).
But speaking of payment, how much does using this magical food delivery app cost? The Uber delivery fee breaks down into five components:
1. Cost of the Food
This is the most basic cost involved in every Uber Eats order. You can view the prices of each item within the app, as well as any charges for substitutions.
Note that, according to the Uber Eats website, you may see a higher price in the app menu than in the physical restaurant: “Each restaurant decides how much they want to charge for their food. Restaurant prices and offers may vary from what you see when you visit the restaurant in person.”
From time to time, restaurants may run specials within the app, allowing you to save on your order.
2. Applicable Taxes
They say that nothing is certain except death and taxes, and Uber Eats is no exception to taxes. You’ll pay the applicable taxes for your area. This generally includes sales tax, as well as any other taxes levied on courier services. You’ll see the taxes as a separate line item when you go to pay for your order.
3. Booking Fee
The booking fee is where you pay for the convenience of having food delivered to your door at the tap of a few buttons. Like the Uber booking fee you pay when you use the regular Uber service, this fee goes to cover Uber Eats’ operational costs like Uber Eats driver pay.
There is no one answer to the question “How much is the booking fee?” The amount of the fee varies based on your market, the distance between the restaurant pickup location and the delivery address and, ultimately, Uber’s discretion.
In general, you can expect the fee to be under $5, but the only surefire way to get a sense of the delivery fee is to use the app for yourself; there are simply too many markets and variables to quote specific delivery fee estimates.
4. Busy Fee (If Applicable)
The previous three costs are certain no matter when you place your order or where it comes from. The next two costs, however, may or may not apply depending on your circumstances. The first of these costs is the busy fee. Where allowable by local law, Uber Eats will charge a busy fee when order demand exceeds available driver supply.
This additional fee is similar to Uber surge pricing that Uber charges when rider demand exceeds the number of drivers available — it’s a separate flat fee that varies based on demand. As explained on the Uber Eats website, “Pricing is dynamic and is calculated by taking into account how many people want to use the service and how many delivery partners are on the road in a certain area.”
Since the busy fee is calculated using dynamic pricing, there’s no way to predict what it will be in advance. And even within the same geographic area, it can vary from restaurant to restaurant (since some local restaurants are more popular than others). That being said, busy times tend to be evenings and lunch time, as well as Friday and Saturday nights.
One way to avoid the busy fee is the schedule your order in advance. This is because “scheduled meals are subject to these fees based on the fee amount at the time of the order, not the delivery time.” If you know you’ll want delivery from a popular restaurant at a time when there’s typically high demand, schedule the delivery in advance from within the Uber Eats app at a time when demand is lower.
5. Tip (Optional)
The final cost involved in an Uber Eats order is the tip. Tipping is optional, but we encourage you to do it, especially if you received excellent customer service. Restaurant delivery is long, hard and sometimes dangerous work (try biking through rush hour traffic and you’ll see what we mean). What’s more, drivers are independent contractors who don’t receive a salary or benefits.
Therefore, Uber Eats gives you the option of leaving your delivery person a tip. Even a couple dollars is appreciated — a bit of extra money can add up.
Uber Eats Pricing FAQ
Let’s address some other common questions and special cases that can arise when dealing with Uber Eats pricing and payment.
1. Does Lyft offer food delivery?
At the moment, no.
2. Can Uber drivers deliver for Uber Eats?
3. Can I pay for an Uber Eats order with an Uber gift card?
Yes, you can. You can use an Uber e-gift card or other gift card for both Uber fares and Uber Eats delivery, as long as you’re using the gift card within the country where you purchased it.
Note that you’ll need to have a secondary payment method associated with your account in case the gift card balance isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of the order (or any tips you choose to leave). Learn more about Uber gift cards here.
4. Can I use Uber credit to pay for Uber Eats orders?
No, Uber Rider and Uber Eats credits work separately, and you use separate apps for each. You can only use Uber Rider credit to pay for Uber trips. For Uber Eats orders, you’ll need to use Uber Eats credit or a different payment method.
5. Is there a calculator to estimate Uber Eats delivery fees?
At the moment, no. But we do have a calculator that will give you an Uber fare estimate.
6. What about estimated busy fees?
Same as the previous, sorry to say. But we do have a guide to Uber surge prices. You can also look at the fees you’ve been charged over time by reviewing your Uber account. This can help you get sense of what fees will be in the future.
7. How much can I make delivering for Uber Eats?
Uber Eats is a good opportunity to earn some extra cash. To get a sense of average Uber Eats driver earnings (and how to achieve maximum ridesharing profits), check out our Uber Eats driver guide. Also check out this comparison of how Uber Eats stacks up compared to DoorDash.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the factors that affect Uber Eats service fees and pricing. If you want to learn more about Uber pricing for passengers, check out our comprehensive guide to how much Uber costs to understand drop off fees, pickup fees, base fares, surge prices and other factors that affect the price of your Uber ride. You can also visit Uber.com/fare-estimate.
Curious to try Uber Eats for yourself? Sign up using the code LEUPP30 to get $5 each off your first two Uber Eats orders. (Valid for new users only. Expires 11/1/2018).