Food delivery, once a thing of indulgence, may now be a necessity in the age of coronavirus, as people are being instructed to shelter in place, cut physical ties to other people in workplaces and communities, and practice self-isolation and social distancing. Officially called COVID-19, coronavirus is highly contagious, potentially deadly, and at a pandemic level, with more than a hundred thousand deaths already reported worldwide.
Despite this insanely sad state of affairs, the one thing people still have to do is eat, and for that, they may be forced to leave their homes and interact with others to shop for food and other necessities. These days, a home delivery meal service app can function as a safety precaution so that if you suspect you are infected or are feeling sick, you do not expose others.
As restaurants in the U.S. put their dine-in services on hold, takeout is gaining ground as an alternative if you’re seeking a prepared meal or even shopping for groceries. The larger risk of viral transmission is person-to-person contact — not the food itself, thankfully — so increasingly, drop-off services are trying to limit direct contact between delivery staff and customers.
Delivery companies like Postmates and Instacart started offering customers a Leave at my door option so customers can limit contact. Many services are also adhering to new health and safety guidelines, including providing sick pay for employees. We have compiled a list of the best food delivery apps out there to make things easier just in case you need this service — or even if you simply want to shop or eat without doing the work — just like in the old days, like last week.
At a glance
The Grubhub app is available for both iOS and Android. You simply enter your location and Grubhub will show you all of the restaurants in your area. You can search by cuisine (Italian) or by a specific menu item (cheeseburger), making it easy to find your next meal. You can also save delivery locations, such as work or home, to speed up the process.
Availability: Grubhub is available in more than 3,200 U.S. cities and London.
Fee: The app is free to use, though some restaurants may charge a delivery fee and have a minimum order amount. GrubHub+ is a service where participating restaurants offer unlimited deliveries for a $ 10 per month subscription.
Coronavirus: Grubhub now offers contact-free delivery, including an order pickup option for people who are more comfortable picking up the food themselves. Customers can select the delivery option at checkout and instruct the driver to leave food at the door, in the lobby, or wherever the customer prefers.
DoorDash isn’t as big as Grubhub, but it does offer a few unique features, such as its “DoorDash Delight” scoring system. The “Delight Score” uses factors such as food quality, restaurant popularity, delivery time, and customer satisfaction to recommend the best restaurants in your area.
Availability: DoorDash is available in 800+ cities in the U.S. and Canada, including Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, New York, and Chicago, among others.
Fee: The fee varies by restaurant, though there are no minimums. The price typically includes the cost of your meal, as well as tax, delivery fees, and an optional tip. Some restaurants charge additional service fees. Apple Pay is accepted.
Coronavirus: DoorDash is offering contact-free delivery options to customers and is testing various ways to limit contact during food delivery.
If you trust Uber to drive you safely around the city, maybe you’ll trust them to deliver your sandwiches. The UberEats app is a standalone delivery app that is currently available in many cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles. While UberEats and Uber are different apps, they share many of the same features, such as estimated delivery times and cashless transactions. UberEats is an excellent option for availability, even in smaller cities. The app also gets high marks for usability and browsing friendliness.
Uber Eats recently announced it is waiving delivery fees from independent restaurants and tagged them with an Eat Local banner.
Availability: Covers 500+ cities in 24 countries, including Amsterdam, Austin, Baltimore, Singapore, Tokyo, Portland, and a host of other locations peppered throughout the globe.
Fee: UberEats charges a service fee of 15% of an order’s subtotal, and there is a small order fee for orders less than $ 10. Fees may vary based on restaurant and location. Gift cards are available.
Coronavirus: In addition to instituting contact-less deliveries, Uber Eats is providing delivery personnel with more sanitization options and materials. The company is providing restaurant partners with CDC-issued guidelines to ensure food is sealed in tamper-proof packaging and also offering financial assistance to delivery people and drivers who can’t work because they have been exposed to or have tested positive for coronavirus.
Postmates is a little different than the other food delivery services on our list. First off, you can get a lot more than food. Postmates is a delivery service that will pick up just about anything from just about anywhere and deliver it to your doorstep, even alcohol. Since Postmates doesn’t partner with restaurants, the only thing you are limited by is your location.
Availability: Postmates is currently available in more than 4,200 cities throughout the U.S. in all 50 states and D.C.
Fee: There’s a fee added to every order, and during peak delivery times there may be additional Blitz Pricing fees added as well. Postmates also offers a “Plus Unlimited” service for $ 10 a month, which lands you free delivery from select stores and restaurants on orders of more than $ 12.
Coronavirus: Postmates offers contact-free delivery choices and encourages customers to report if their delivery person appears unwell. The company has set up a Fleet Relief Fund to help employees with COVID-19 medical expenses. If a Fleet member tests positive, they get two weeks of paid sick leave from the fund.
Instacart helps you shop online and get your groceries delivered from neighborhood stores, sometimes within the hour — or you can pick up your order at the store. Just add items to your cart and a store employee will put your order together. You can get anything from groceries and produce to liquor and household items from more than 20,000 retailers in North America, including Aldi, Publix, Costco, H-E-B, Wegmans, Lucky, Smart & Final, Safeway, Stater Bros, Petco, and CVS.
Availability: With more than 350 retail partners, Instacart delivers from 20,000 retailers in 5,500 cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Chicago, Austin, Washington D.C., Houston, Atlanta, and many others across the U.S. and Canada.
Fee: Retailers set the prices of items delivered on Instacart — sometimes they match in-store prices and sometimes not. Some stores opt for a flat percentage to cover the cost of the service. Delivery fees depend on the size of your order and the delivery time, and you will get the exact fee in advance during checkout. Orders must total $ 10 or more.
Coronavirus: Instacart has instituted a Leave at my door delivery choice so customers under quarantine can limit contact with delivery personnel. The company is also following new health and safety guidelines, including providing sick pay for employees, if necessary. The company is encouraging customers to tip delivery workers, because of the increased demand for services.
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Delivery.com is another delivery service that goes beyond the menu. You can get lunch, groceries, a bottle of wine, or even get your dry cleaning with this app. Similar to Grubhub and Seamless, Delivery.com doesn’t charge you a fee to use its service. Instead, the company makes its money by taking a small percentage of your pre-tip subtotal.
Availability: More than 12,000 merchants in 100 cities around the U.S.
Fee: The app is free to use, but restaurants may charge a delivery fee and have an order minimum. There is a reward program to collect points through repeated use.
While many of the food-delivery apps work as a middleman between restaurants and customers, goPuff operates more like a digital convenience store. GoPuff offers everything from phone chargers and bathroom tissue to six-packs of your favorite beverages — it will even deliver vaporizers, for those so inclined. You can scroll through the service’s robust database of items here.
Availability: GoPuff is available throughout the United States, but has a particularly strong presence in more than 150 Southern and Midwest cities and areas. They’re also continuing to grow into new locations.
Fee: The app is free to use, but goPuff charges $ 2 for delivery.
ChowNow has a two-pronged approach to food delivery: It works with restaurants to provide digital tools that can work directly from their own websites — an increasingly popular approach for these food apps — while appealing directly to customers through its own app that allows you to order from many different restaurants in one place. The app lets you search for available restaurants in your area or browse based on the type of food you want. This easy, informative app excels at giving you all the info you need to make up your mind.
Availability: Available in cities across the U.S., including LA, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Portland, Seattle, and other major cities.
Fee: ChowNow’s merchant services route pricing through to restaurants, so fees depend on the restaurant and location. When you pick a restaurant, ChowNow will show you information about the delivery fees that particular restaurant charges.