Your (Mostly) Ultimate Guide to Food Delivery Apps
Open your fridge and only see condiments with questionable expiration dates? Get food delivered. It’s a rainy day and you won’t dare leave your apartment? Get food delivered. Hitting a wall at work and need a lunchtime pick-me-up? Get food delivered. There’s an easy answer to all of these predicaments. What’s not so easy is choosing which food delivery app to order through.
With GrubHub, Postmates, UberEATS, Maple, Sprig, and beyond, the list of food delivery app options is longer than the Chinese takeout menu. Plus, it feels like a new food delivery app pops up at least every week. It’s hard enough deciding what to order—why should you stress out about which app to use, too?
That’s where this guide comes in. It gives you the lowdown on some (not all!) of the latest and greatest food delivery apps, so you can make an informed decision on which app is best to use for your situation.
One more thing: Not all food delivery apps are created equal. Some apps simply pick up meals from restaurants and deliver them to you, while others prep and drop off the meals. Keep that in mind as you peruse this guide.
The lowdown: With millions of users, over 40,000 restaurants, and an expansive reach in more than 1,000 cities, GrubHub has been in the food delivery game for over a decade. You can easily browse full menus on your computer or through the app and place an order for pickup or delivery. In 2013, GrubHub acquired Seamless, a similar online food ordering platform.
Plus, GrubHub has a sweet new HBO partnership. This feature allows you to choose an HBO show like Game of Thrones or Girls and your location. Then GrubHub will suggest “related” restaurants near you so you can pig out on Westeros-inspired food while watching your favorite shows.
Cost: Varies based on where you order from. GrubHub-affiliated restaurants must keep prices identical to their other menus. Delivery costs are up to the restaurants.
Who it’s best for: Because GrubHub is so established and set up in cities across the U.S. (and London!), it’s a good option for many. The breadth of restaurants and menus is awesome–but it can also be bad for people who seriously can’t make up their minds. Also, delivery times are significantly longer than other options.
The lowdown: Created in 2011, Postmates is a delivery app that employs a wide-reaching team of couriers who deliver anything from your much-needed Chipotle burrito bowl to a 500 count box of Q-tips. (Seriously–Q-tips are listed in the “First-Aid” section of the Postmates General Store.)
In addition to delivery from restaurants nearby, Postmates can drop off items in their General Store, which includes things like pain relievers, razors, and Skittles. You know, the important things you need ASAP once you realize that you’re out.
Postmates just launched Postmates Pop–a 15-minutes-or-less service–in New York City; coincidentally, UberEATS just stopped its Instant Delivery option in NYC.
Cost: Varies based on what you order. The delivery fee starts at $5 (depending on distance) plus a 9% service charge.
Who it’s best for: While not as expansive as GrubHub, Postmates services most major U.S. cities. Check out their FAQ for a full list of locations and more details. It offers a great variety–from restaurants to items in the General Store–making it an easy app for many.
The lowdown: UberEATS finally launched in the U.S. in March 2016 after being tested in Toronto. It’s a standalone app, so you’ll have to download it in addition to Uber. According to Chetan Narain, the product manager for UberEATS, “We learned quickly that requesting a ride and ordering a meal are two very different experiences. They each deserve their own home.”
You can either order food from hundreds of restaurants nearby or get Instant Delivery. Instant Delivery takes about 10 minutes from tapping “Place order.” It only works from 11 AM-2 PM on weekdays and features 3-5 daily dishes.
Cost: Most Instant Delivery options cost between $7-$12. If you order from a restaurant of your choice, the cost is dependent on what you order and the delivery distance.
Who it’s best for: First, UberEATS isn’t available everywhere yet. As of April 2016, UberEATS is in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Washington D.C., Dallas, Houston, and Seattle. If you live in one of these cities, UberEATS Instant Delivery is a fantastic option for people starving at their desks and need a tasty lunch delivered to their office in minutes.
The lowdown: In 2013, Sprig was launched in San Francisco. Currently, Sprig is only located in the Bay Area and Chicago. As opposed to apps like UberEATS and Postmates which only deliver you food from restaurants, Sprig also crafts the meals, too.
Sprig meals are all intended to be healthy, delicious, organic, and transport well in 15 minutes or less. There are three meal categories: Clean (550 calories or less), Balance (a balance between lower calories and protein), and Fuel (include more protein and larger portions).
Some meal options that I’ve spotted recently include; Red Wine Steak Salad with Pecans, Yellow Curried Chicken and Baby Kale Salad, and Madras Curry Lentil Cakes with Coconut Yam Puree.
Cost: $9-$13 per meal, plus delivery.
Who it’s best for: Obviously, only people in the Bay Area and Chicago. Sprig is a great option for people looking to eat healthier meals. If you’re looking for a delicious, nutritious meal to make up for your guilty-pleasure-packed weekend, Sprig it up. If you’re looking for an app to bring you anything super sugary, fatty, or indulgent, move along.
The lowdown: Backed by NYC culinary legend David Chang of Momofuku, Maple is a “restaurant without tables.” Another app that controls both meal prep and delivery, Maple aims to sell more meals per hour than current champion Chipotle. In February 2016, 1,100 meals were delivered in an hour. For reference, Chipotle’s best performing locations in 2014 sold 300 meals in an hour.
Whoa. According to my calculations, that’s almost four times as fast–and that’s only with 40 workers in one location. Of course, there are still several drawbacks to Maple. Because they’re still in the growth period, it’s common for dishes to sell out.
The menu includes meals like a Superfood Salad with Avocado, Roasted Chicken and Brie Sandwich, and Blackened Shrimp on Parmesan Grit Cake.
Cost: Lunch is a flat $12 and dinner is a flat $15. Tax, tip, and delivery are included.
Who it’s best for: Right now, Maple only has one location in New York City. It has goals to open more NYC locations and cover more surface area. If you’re a New Yorker looking for a new food delivery app truly dedicated to perfecting the menu, check out Maple.
The lowdown: Bootler aims to be the “Kayak.com of food and alcohol delivery.” The Chicago-based startup just launched in January 2016 and wants to simplify the booming food delivery app world. According to their site, they’re bringing comparison shopping to the food delivery game. And that’s much-needed.
Bootler compiles data from popular apps like Postmates, Door Dash, Eat Street, GrubHub, and more to make it easy for users to decide which app is best for their needs right then. First, you search for the restaurant you want, build the meal you’re craving, see a comparison of prices and delivery times, and then choose which service to order from.
Another bonus: Bootler also has information from Saucey, an alcohol delivery app.
Who it’s best for: Everyone overwhelmed by the surplus of food delivery apps out there. So, everyone. But, of course, right now Bootler is only available in Chicago.
Hopefully this guide helps you begin to make sense of the bustling on-demand food delivery app world. It may be just as complicated as the Game of Thrones universe. After all, I didn’t mention Eat24, DoorDash, EatStreet, Radish, Delivery.com, and more.
What are your favorite food delivery apps? Is there a service missing from any of these apps? Tell us your thoughts by tweeting us at @Perfect_Search.
Kayla Hammersmith is a huge fan of Nancy Drew computer games and swears that she can do a very specific impression of Pal, the dog from Arthur. You might often find her snacking on goat cheese as she dreams of one day becoming a cellist savant.