Forget Going To Pick Up That Food Order, Your Phone Has You Covered In As Few As Two Taps!
There used to be a time when you wanted a hot meal from a restaurant, you had the plan a night out, or call your order in and pick it up yourself. There were some restaurants that started to offer delivery, these were mostly pizza or cheap Chinese food. Drive thru’s help, but if it’s raining, or you just got home from a long commute you may not want to even bother. Fast forward to now, and with some of the latest, greatest Apps on your iPhone or android device, you can order a full meal for two or 20 people in as few as two taps on your screen.
Living smack-dab in the middle of Silicon Valley, a stone’s throw away from the Google headquarters, I’ve been depending on these apps more than twice a week when I simply haven’t had time to navigate through traffic to pick up a meal for my family. Lately, I’ve also used these Apps to order food delivered directly to the office, especially when we’re in the middle of a big project. Some of these Apps work directly with the restaurant, who arranges delivery themselves, and some work as a part of a third party company who hires a fleet of freelance delivery drivers.
I took a look at the Apps I’ve used most often in the past two months, and reviewed them based on their ease-of-use, cost, delivery times, and overall usefulness. As a bona-fide foodie, it would be nice to say that I plan and cook meals for my family every night of the week, but let’s be honest – the price of living in such a dynamic tech savvy environment means that I have to work more nights than not! This is where meal delivery becomes one of the most used Apps on my iPhone, personally.
Let’s take a look:
DoorDash is one of the third-party companies that employs freelance drivers to make deliveries for them. This is a win for both consumers and drivers alike; because it means that as a company they can offer delivery from restaurants that normally would not deliver. They take care of getting your order to the restaurant and then your assigned driver goes and picks it up and brings it directly to you. You don’t have to worry about having cash ready for a tip, because you add that when you place your order. As with any App, there are pros and cons.
Pros: No minimum order, a flat delivery fee, most of the restaurants you love that are already close by, friendly drivers who are working on their own time, so they’ll do their best.
Cons: Incredibly long lead times (60 – 80 minutes), miscommunication between drivers if you try to add something to an order you just placed, large turnover of drivers so if you live somewhere (ex. apartment building or condo complex) that’s hard to navigate, your food may arrive especially late.
GrubHub is an App that works with restaurants who already offer their own delivery. This means that you know the driver isn’t a contract worker, and they’ll probably remember exactly how to get to your place each time you make an order.
Pros: You’ll build rapport with the people who work at the restaurant, If something’s wrong with your order, you can complain directly to them, the delivery time is much shorter since you don’t have to wait for the driver to drive to the restaurant from somewhere else to pick up your food.
Cons: Restaurants usually have a minimum order, usually $25 and up. You may need to keep cash on hand for tipping the driver. The delivery fees are variable for each restaurant, and can range from $2 up to $15+
This food delivery service is unique in that it doesn’t deliver fully prepared food – Each meal is in it’s own brown box, halfway prepared, and with directions on how to best finish heating or preparing your meal. This is an excellent service for if you want a restaurant style meal, but prefer to plate it yourself. This is also a helpful service to order ahead of time for a company gathering, a picnic, or even if you’re having people over for dinner and want it to seem like you’ve spent a lot of time working hard to prepare that chicken breast just-so.
Pros: You can order this at anytime during the day and you don’t have to be home to accept it – they’ll leave it on your porch if you wish. You don’t have to worry about tipping the drivers with cash, you can do it when you check out. They also carry beer and wine, so if you want a red to pair with your steak, you don’t have to run down to Safeway.
Cons: You’ll need to prepare the food – most of it can be heated in the microwave, but you’ll want to use the oven for better heat distribution. The salads can taste wilted, and sometimes the fruit looks a bit worse for wear. It’s equal price to getting an already prepared meal delivered by DoorDash or GrubHub, but more work. Your meal will require that you wash dishes afterwards. If you add in drinks or an appetizer, it can get pricey.
Okay this is an App I haven’t actually used – but I wanted to add it because it’s based in Austin, Texas, and not the Bay Area. Not only that, but it does more than simply deliver food – it can be used to run errands, too. It works on the same business model as DoorDash, or Uber, where contract workers use their own vehicles to go run errands and/or pick up food for you. You can download the App even if you live here in the Bay Area, but you just can’t use it…they deliver in 15 different cities, and none of them are in California. It simply goes to show that people love their tech everywhere, not just the Bay Area!
Pros: You don’t have to get out of your pajamas, someone else is doing the work for you today.
Cons: I’m certain there are some, but it looked like a swell deal on the Internet.
There are a plethora of other apps as well, such as eat24, Instacart, and Seamless, but the end result is the same: you get food – delivered. It seems that the number of Apps out there to deliver your dinner almost outnumber the actual amount of restaurants in any given area!
Do you use Apps to order your meals on a regular basis, or would you rather take the time to go out to eat? Do you think people need to start being proactive about mealtime and start planning their dinners more carefully, or are you so busy that these ‘click-and-order’ Apps are a dream come true? Let us know in the comments below!0