Food-delivery apps serve a variety of appetites

Dec. 15, 2018, 3:27 p.m. | By Emmy Song | 5 years, 7 months ago

A comparison of the most popular online food-delivery services

When was the last time you ordered something from Amazon or shopped for clothes on the Internet? Online shopping, a form of electronic commerce where consumers buy goods or services on the Internet, has exploded in popularity over the last two decades. Consumers are able to browse for exactly what they want, whenever and wherever they want.

One particular branch of e-commerce — online food ordering — is redefining the concept of takeout. By using food-delivery services, consumers can order delivery from any local restaurant with just a few taps or clicks on their phone or computer.

Here is a review of the five most popular food-delivery services, rated on a scale of one to five in the following categories: pricing, including additional fees; speed of delivery; convenience and popularity, including availability across the United States. We also give an overall score, taken as the average of the four categories.


Pricing: 4/5

Speed: 4/5

Convenience: 4/5

Popularity: 2/5

Overall Score: 3.5/5

Of the five services, Caviar, which was acquired by mobile payment company Square in 2014, provides the least coverage – servicing only 21 U.S. cities – and has the fewest restaurant options available. The service partners with restaurants that have at least 4 stars on Yelp that typically don't deliver. Like the others, Caviar allows you to track your driver in real time. Of note is an automatic 18 percent service fee applied to orders, in addition to a delivery fee based on distance. It also requires a $15 minimum subtotal.


Pricing: 3.5/5

Speed: 4/5

Convenience: 3/5

Popularity: 4/5

Overall Score: 3.75/5

Postmates recently blew up as one of the most popular food-delivery services among millennials. The service delivers not only food, but also groceries, alcohol and more. As of 2018, Postmates serves 550 U.S. cities and provides 24/7 service. However, Postmates has yet to partner with a large variety of restaurants, leaving users to choose from limited options. Like most food-delivery services, Postmates lets users track their order delivery in real-time. Unfortunately, Postmates orders also come with a multitude of additional costs. Along with taxes and delivery fees, orders that total less than $15 come with a 'small cart fee' of $1.99. These hidden fees and poor selection of restaurants give Postmates an overall rating of 3.75 out of 5.


Pricing: 3.5/5

Speed: 5/5

Convenience: 5/5

Popularity: 3.5/5

Overall Score: 4.25/5

Founded by Stanford students in 2012, DoorDash is a relatively new addition to the group of food-delivery services. Although it is new to the game, DoorDash is already available in over 800 cities in the U.S. and Canada and boasts options from a wide variety of restaurants and cuisines. It does not set minimum order amounts, but charges a delivery fee of 99 cents to $7.99, along with a service fee of 7 percent to 15 percent. However, DoorDash's additional fees are balanced by the frequent coupons and deals that they offer.


Pricing: 4/5

Speed: 3.5/5

Popularity: 4.5/5

Convenience: 5/5

Overall Score: 4.25/5

UberEats, a branchoff venture of the ride-sharing company Uber, allows users to place and track their order while a nearby Uber partner picks up and delivers their food. Users can easily identify their courier thanks to the information Uber provides, such as the courier's car model and a photo of their face. A unique aspect of UberEats is that it does not require customers to leave a tip for their couriers. The cost of the delivery does, however, include a six percent tax and a sliding-scale booking fee based on the distance. Overall, UberEats ranks in the middle of the pack of the five services.


Pricing: 4/5

Speed: 4/5

Convenience: 5/5

Popularity: 5/5

Overall Score: 4.5/5

Grubhub, arguably the largest and most popular food-delivery service on this list, operates in more than 1,700 cities and allows users to place an order up to four days in advance. Grubhub's easily-navigable website can sort restaurants based on cost, distance, ratings and type of cuisine. There is also an option to filter by currently open restaurants. Unlike all of the other services on this list, Grubhub does not use 'surge pricing,' where costs may rise during busier hours. A major downside to using GrubHub is that different restaurants require orders to meet a minimum delivery cost. Thus, you may find yourself ordering something additional just to meet this minimum. However, the service itself does not charge you for delivery, since those fees are set by the restaurants.

Following this examination of the five most popular online food-delivery services, Grubhub appears to be the clear winner. As one of the oldest and most popular services, Grubhub is a reliable and convenient option. In last place is Caviar, largely due to the extremely limited areas that it serves.

Last updated: Dec. 15, 2018, 3:27 p.m.

Tags: grubhub UberEats postmates DoorDash Caviar

Emmy Song. Hi! I'm Emmy and I'm a senior at Blair. When I'm not working on SCO, I can be found solving math problems, curating Spotify playlists, or watching the sun set. More »

Show comments


No comments.

Please ensure that all comments are mature and responsible; they will go through moderation.