Close Close Search

What Is Postmates and How the Food Delivery App Works

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

What is Postmates? How can you use it to order from restaurants and grocery stores?

If those are questions you’ve been asking yourself, you’ve come to the right place.

Read this Postmates review to learn about Postmates, its business model, order options, Postmates Unlimited, and more.

What Is Postmates?

Postmates is a food delivery app. It was founded in 201, but in 2020, Uber acquired Postmates.

While Postmates still operates as a standalone app, Uber has integrated it into the Uber Eats network. In other words, even if you use the Postmates app, you will still be getting the Uber Eats experience.

The restaurants will be restaurants from Uber Eats, and drivers working for Uber as independent contractors make up the Postmates fleet delivering your food.

While available in cities across the United States, like San Francisco, Postmates had the most sales in Los Angeles in 2021.

It had the fewest sales in New York, Boston, and a few other cities, with each of those cities making up just one percent of its food delivery sales.

How the Postmates App Works

The Postmates app connects customers to restaurants and grocery stores in the area.

Orders are made and paid for online.

How the Postmates Business Model Works

The Postmates business model is the same as that of Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub.

Customers can browse available restaurants in their area and place orders in the delivery app.

Postmates then forwards those orders to the restaurants, which prepare the orders and wait for Postmates delivery drivers to pick them up.

Postmates will search for an available Postmates driver to pick up the delivery order.

Postmates workers are not employees of Postmates; they work as independent contractors looking to make some extra money in their free time.

Some work full time.

Once the Postmates courier accepts the job, they need to head to the restaurant, pick up the delivery order, and bring it to the Postmates customer.

Customers pay online, with a credit card, debit card, or PayPal.

However, the restaurant doesn’t get 100% of the sale.

Postmates takes a commission, which is how it makes money.

It also charges customers a delivery fee, which is how it can pay its delivery drivers.

What Are the Order Options for Postmates?

Order options on the Postmates app depend on which restaurants are open in the area.

In addition to restaurants, you may be able to order groceries from supermarkets or convenience stores.

Such orders operate like restaurant orders; drivers will head to the grocery store, pick up your items, and bring them to you.

Restaurants are divided into separate subcategories, making it easy to find the exact food you want.

For example, you might see subcategories like:

  • Coffee
  • Fast Food
  • Asian
  • Vegan
  • Mexican
  • And others

Other main categories on Postmates include:

  • Grocery
  • Convenience
  • Alcohol
  • Pharmacy
  • Flowers
  • Retail

There are also three main order types on Postmates:

  • Delivery
  • Pickup
  • Dine-in

When you place a delivery order, you will wait at home for a Postmates delivery courier to pick up the order and bring it to your house.

You will have to pay a delivery fee for the delivery service.

A pickup order, on the other hand, doesn’t involve a delivery fee.

Instead of waiting at home, though, you’ll need to head to the restaurant yourself to pick up the order.

It allows you to save money, but you’ll also need a way to get to the restaurant.

Pickup works best when you live close to the restaurant and have transportation.

The pickup option allows you to pay online and browse multiple restaurants and menu options in the app, making it advantageous to the traditional method of calling restaurants and placing orders with them directly.

Finally, dine-in allows you to place an order online and then go to the restaurant to eat the food there.

The dine-in option lets you save time compared to ordering in the restaurant, as you can head to the restaurant only when your food is ready.

What Is Postmates Unlimited?

Postmates Unlimited is a premium membership that allows you to enjoy free delivery on qualifying orders.

The order minimum for free delivery is $15 for restaurant orders and $30 for grocery orders.

In addition, Postmates Unlimited members get 5% off each order, providing the order meets the minimum order requirement.

Five percent of your order total will be discounted from the service fee.

It costs $9.99/month, but it’s worth it for frequent Postmates customers, as you’ll save more on delivery fees than what you’ll pay for the membership.

Postmates Unlimited will also give you access to special offers, discounts, and deals.

How to Order from Postmates

To order from Postmates, download the app from the app store and create your account.

If you already have an Uber account, you can sign in with that account, using the same number and password.

Here’s how to order from Postmates once you have the app installed:

  • Open the app.
  • Ensure your address at the top of the screen is correct; enter your address if it is not.
  • By default, you’ll be browsing restaurants offering delivery. At the top of your screen, you can switch to Pickup or Dine-In.
  • Click on one of the categories at the top, or select “Browse” from the bottom menu to see additional categories. If you want to order groceries, click on “Grocery” in the bottom menu.
  • Once you’ve selected a restaurant or store, you’ll see its menu. Click on a menu option and then click the “Add to Cart” button to add it to your cart. You may be able to write in special instructions before adding an item to your cart.
  • Go back to the menu, and add additional items to your cart. Click on “View Cart” to check out.
  • If you add items from multiple restaurants to your cart, multiple carts will be created. You can see your carts in the “Carts” section, which you can access from the bottom menu of the homepage.
  • When viewing your cart, click on “Go to Checkout” to check out. You can first change the number of items or select “Add Items” to add more products.
  • Once on the checkout page, make sure your address is correct and that “Delivery” or “Pickup” was selected correctly. Under your address, you can select Meet at Door, Meet Outside, or Leave at Door. You can also add custom delivery instructions.
  • Select a delivery time. Standard delivery is free, while priority delivery, which is a bit quicker, costs extra. You can also schedule a delivery in advance.
  • Scroll down and review your order. Click on “Add Payment Method” to add a credit card, PayPal, etc.
  • Click on the “Place Order” button at the bottom of the checkout page.  
  • Track your order in the app.

Delivery Fees and Blitz Pricing Explained

The delivery fee on Postmates depends on how far you are from the restaurant.

Typically, the further away you are, the more the delivery fee will cost.

You can expect the delivery fee, when applicable, to cost $0.49-3.99 on most restaurant orders.

On grocery orders, you can expect the delivery fee to be higher.

Depending on the distance from the store and the number of items in your cart, it could range from $5.99 to $9.99.

In addition to the delivery fee, expect to pay a service fee, which shouldn’t be more than a few dollars.

There is also a sales tax.

If you want, you can tip your driver in the app, but it is optional.

Blitz pricing may raise the cost of your order.

During busy times, such as during lunch, Postmates may raise the normal delivery fee by 1.1x, 1.5x, 1.75x, or something similar, depending on supply and demand.

It does that to encourage more drivers to come on the platform and deliver orders.

Postmates FAQs

Do you still have any questions about using Postmates?

Here are answers to the most common questions we see from new users.

Is Postmates owned by Uber?

Yes. Uber bought Postmates in 2020. However, Postmates operates as a separate app, and you can still purchase a separate Postmates Unlimited premium subscription, even if you don’t have the Uber Eats app.

Can I tip my Postmates driver with cash?

Yes. While the option to tip them in the app is there, you have the discretion to give them a few dollars in cash.

Many drivers appreciate such tips, as it’s cash in hand that they can use right away.

Does Postmates deliver alcohol?

Yes. Depending on your location, you can find the Alcohol category at the top of your screen.

You need to be 21 years old and provide a valid ID upon delivery, or else the order will be returned.

Final Word

Head to and enter your address to get started.

If you’re on mobile, scroll to the bottom of the page and find the links to the Android and iOS apps.

Download the app and create an account.

Leave a Comment

Similar Articles

View All