It used to be that if you wanted dinner from a particular restaurant, you had to get dressed, drive to the restaurant, wait in line for your table, order, wait, eat, and go home. However, things changed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now you can order delivery and eat your favorite restaurant foods in the comfort of your own home.
Even before the pandemic, people were beginning to opt for the convenience of delivery. Once lockdown measures were in place and COVID numbers fluctuated, more and more people began placing to-go orders or ordering food through delivery.
This has been very beneficial for delivery companies like DoorDash and GrubHub, but what about our favorite restaurants? Does eating in-house provide more support than ordering delivery? What is the best decision between restaurant food delivery vs buying it yourself? Let’s find out!
Why Choose Delivery?
Sometimes you don’t want to go out. Sometimes you might have friends over. Sometimes it’s just easier to order delivery. Getting delivery allows everyone to have what they want and no one has to leave to get the food. You can stay in with your friends and the food comes to you, allowing you to have a few drinks and not worry about driving.
Delivery can be beneficial for workplace events as well. You can have sandwiches delivered during an important meeting or buy doughnuts for the office. This can not only save you time but can be uplifting and convenient for your coworkers.
Before mobile ordering made everything easier, you weren’t typically able to get food delivered from any restaurant. Only places that had their own delivery service offered to bring the food to you. However, there are now several delivery options. Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Postmates are the most common, but there are others available, depending on your area.
Let’s look at each of these options and compare them to going to the restaurant yourself to enjoy your meal.
DoorDash is one of the most popular apps for food delivery. In 2019, ten million users used DoorDash. In 2020, that number doubled to twenty million. In 2021, the number had grown to twenty-five million. The process is simple. It all starts with your phone.
First, download the DoorDash app to your phone. Once you enter your address, the app then identifies what restaurants in your area use the DoorDash delivery service. Then it is as simple as choosing what you want to eat and placing your order. There is a fee for using the service. Generally, the fee is $1.99 to $5.99, depending on the restaurant you choose.
Once you place your order and pay on the app, you don’t have to do anything else. You can sit back on your comfortable couch in your slippers and wait for your favorite meal to arrive at your door.
Uber Eats is the most popular delivery service app available. In 2019, there were twenty-one million users of the app. In 2020, that number more than tripled to sixty-six million users. By 2021, the number had grown again to eighty-one million users.
Uber Eats works the same way as DoorDash. You simply download the app, enter your delivery address and choose from the available restaurants. Uber Eats charges a delivery fee of $.49 to $7.99 depending on your location and distance from the restaurant. However, they also charge a service fee that is usually around 15% of the order.
Once you place your Uber Eats order, you can follow your order on the app. You will be able to see when the restaurant accepts the order right through to when the driver arrives at your address with your food.Uber Eats also owns Postmates. They have similar price models, but Postmates will deliver from any restaurant, while Uber Eats only works with affiliated restaurants. Postmates may also have better promotions.
GrubHub is the same as DoorDash and UberEats in that it starts with the app on your phone. Enter your address and choose your food. The app will show when the restaurant is prepping your order. GrubHub differs from the others by offering GrubHub+.
While GrubHub is popular, it is not quite as popular as its competitors. In 2019, there were just over twenty-two million users of the service. In 2020, that number grew to thirty-one million. By 2021, GrubHub had almost thirty-four million users.
GrubHub+ offers unlimited delivery for a month for a small fee. Depending on which plan you choose, the fee is either $6.95 or $19.95. Depending on how often you order from the service, this could save you a lot of money.
Why Choose Eating Out?
Does anyone go out to eat anymore? Because of COVID-19, many restaurants closed, had limited seating, or only offered takeout and delivery. Despite things beginning to return to their pre-pandemic state, far fewer people are making time to dine in at a restaurant. Has this change affected restaurants?
While many smaller restaurants were not able to stay in business during the pandemic, most larger ones were. You can still find your favorite foods in many of your favorite spots. But should you choose delivery or to dine-in?
While a lot of consumers will opt for the delivery service, there is something about eating out at your favorite spot. Depending on where you go, getting dressed up and going out for a night on the town may be just what you need to end the workweek on a good note.While delivery service is great and very convenient, seeing friends and socializing is something that food delivery services cannot offer, for any price.
The Financial Aspect
As far as pricing goes, the small delivery fee that the services charge may not seem like much in comparison to gas, parking, and a sitter for the kids. For people who are trying hard to stick to a budget while still enjoying their favorite restaurants, delivery is a viable option.
If your night out includes hiring a babysitter, the small delivery and service fees will more than likely be much less expensive. However, service fees do add up. If you can, try ordering takeout and picking it up on your way home from work. That way, you can still support your favorite restaurants without feeling the pressure of delivery fees.
Delivery May Not Work
There are people who delivery is not an option for. For example, if you live too far from the restaurants, none of these services may be available. The more rural your area is, the more likely it is that you will not be able to access a delivery service.
Something to consider when ordering for delivery is the time it will take to get your order. You may not get your food at its freshest, hottest point. Some drivers deliver more than one order at a time to save gas. While this works for their benefit, it may not work for yours.
This means a longer wait for your delivery, plus the delivery fee may make it more appealing to either eat at the restaurant or get a to-go order. It may be a while before you receive your delivered food, which may affect the quality. If you are on EBT or food assistance programs, you won’t be able to pay for delivered food with your benefits.
Not everyone is comfortable with their food being in the car with a stranger. We have all seen the stories on social media about delivery drivers “sampling” the orders. If the potential for these bothers you, you are better off going to the restaurant and eating there where you can trust that the staff won’t take a spoonful of your soup on their way from the kitchen.
Some people are uncomfortable with strangers coming to their homes. Again, ordering with a delivery service may not be the best option if you want to remain off the grid.
Avoid Overwhelming the Kitchens
A major problem that not many people consider with delivery is the influx of orders that some kitchens can’t handle. If people are ordering food outside of the restaurant as well as dining in, kitchens and staff can quickly become overwhelmed with orders and have a hard time making everyone’s food in time.
There are even horror stories of food delivery apps offering certain promotions that they do not warn the restaurants about, making it impossible for them to serve a sudden influx of customers. If you want to help your local line cooks and servers, dining at the restaurant may make their jobs easier, especially during peak hours.
The Pros of Eating Out
Going out to eat is a tradition for many. Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest for most restaurants. This is when we all relax and unwind from a long workweek. We may be out on a date, out with our significant other, out with friends, or maybe with family. Restaurants are gathering places.
People enjoy going out, getting their favorite meal, and not having any clean-up. Eating out in a restaurant provides an opportunity for something special. We all need to shake up the monotony of life sometimes, and eating out can be a good, inexpensive way to do that.
The Pros of Delivery
There is something nice about having your favorite restaurant meal at home. Your dining situation is entirely up to you, but you get to enjoy food that you may not have very often.Cooking can be exhausting and time-consuming, especially if you have work, parental duties, housework, or other tasks to complete. Having food delivered takes one more thing off of your to-do list, which can free up more time for relaxation and self-care while still eating a nutritious and delicious meal.
No matter whether you choose to go out to eat or to get your food delivered by a delivery service, the important thing is to know that you have options. Going out to eat gives us social interaction that we all lost a little bit of during the pandemic. Delivery service gives us the convenience of staying home.
Compare your options. Download the apps to see who can and will deliver to you and see what their fees are. Maybe the restaurant you want to order from does not use one of these services yet. In this case, eating out will be the better option.
Some will argue that getting food delivered takes business away from the servers at restaurants. While this may be true, it does offer the drivers for these delivery services an income. Delivery can help support multiple people who are trying to earn a decent living.
Restaurants have had a hard time over the last few years. Servers lost their jobs and not every place was able to recover. By ordering either in-house or for delivery, you are showing your support for your favorite eatery and helping them to keep their doors open