Which Online Food Delivery Is Cheapest?

With food delivery apps like Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats becoming ubiquitous, consumers have more options than ever for getting meals delivered with just a few taps. But myriad fees and fine print make it hard to decipher which service offers the best value. This guide examines the key factors that determine the overall cost of ordering food delivery online and provides tips for identifying the cheapest option.

Does The Cheapest Delivery Service Vary By Location?

When scouting for the most budget-friendly delivery service for your Subway fix, it’s wise to consider regional variations. DoorDash often takes the lead in affordability across many West Coast cities, while Grubhub tends to offer better rates in parts of New York. Uber Eats, on the other hand, maintains more consistent pricing nationwide.


 Before diving into that delectable turkey, ham, roast beef, and all the fixings, compare minimums and fees on 2-3 major delivery apps in your area. And don’t forget to check if Subway itself offers delivery—it might just be the pocket-friendly option you’re looking for. Plus, keep an eye out for those coveted subway coupons to slice off some extra costs!

Which Big-Name Delivery Apps Offer The Best Deals?

Among the major national brands, Uber Eats consistently offers some of the most competitive pricing structures. They have lower service fees than Doordash and Grubhub and frequently offer promos like $0 delivery or percentage discounts for first-time users. 


Postmasters also have reasonable delivery fees for smaller orders, but their selection is more limited. Amazon Prime members get access to free delivery from Amazon Restaurants on orders over $20, but the choice of restaurants is small. Bottom line – Uber Eats is a solid bet for cheap delivery, especially when you combine it with promos.

Should I Choose An App Based On Restaurant Selection?

Sometimes it pays to order from a certain app even if it’s not the cheapest, simply because you want food from a restaurant that’s exclusive to that service. For example, in my city Wendy’s offers delivery only through Doordash. So if I’m really craving a Baconator, I’ll happily pay Doordash’s higher fees. Similarly, 


TacoBell delivery is only available on Grubhub. Checking which restaurants are on which apps can influence which service you choose for a particular order. That said, Uber Eats, Doordash, and Grubhub all have hundreds of participating restaurants in most areas, so you usually have plenty of cheap options to choose from. Using a Subway 15 coupon can help lower the cost if you decide to order a sub for delivery.

Is It Cheaper To Order Directly From A Restaurant’s Website?

Often yes – ordering directly from a restaurant’s own online ordering system can save money compared to going through a third-party delivery app. That’s because restaurants don’t have to pay the fees and commissions on orders placed through their own websites. Some restaurants may even offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount when ordering directly. 


Of course, the downside is you’ll need to create accounts and enter payment info on each individual restaurant website instead of having everything in one app. But when the restaurant you want doesn’t offer the cheapest rates on delivery platforms, going directly to their site is a good way to save.

Which Services Charge The Highest Delivery Fees?

Grubhub and Doordash are notorious for high delivery fees compared to competitors like Uber Eats and Postmates. They get away with this in part because they have exclusive partnerships with some popular restaurants. Grubhub charges $2-$10+ depending on the distance to the restaurant, while Doordash fees typically range from $2-5 but can be higher. 

And that’s on top of the commission they charge to restaurants, which gets passed on to the customer. Interestingly, those high fees haven’t stopped them from being two of the most widely used platforms. But savvy users who compare options before ordering can often find much lower delivery costs on other apps.

Does Tipping Impact Which Service Is Cheapest?

Tips definitely factor into the overall cost of ordering delivery. And tipping culture can vary between apps. For example, Doordash suggests tips based on percentage, beginning at 10% of the order subtotal. Uber Eats has a default tip amount of $2-$5 depending on the size of the order. Postmates doesn’t emphasize tipping quite as strongly upfront. 

Of course, you can manually adjust the tip amount on any app. Since drivers keep the majority of the delivery fee and rely on tips, it’s considered proper etiquette to tip at least 10-15% on most delivery orders. So ordering from an app that encourages higher tipping will increase your total cost.

Should I Choose Based On Free Delivery Minimums?

Many food delivery apps offer free delivery if your order hits a certain minimum subtotal. For example, Uber Eats waives delivery fees on orders over $15. So if you’re ordering $20 of food, choosing UberEats would make more sense than an app with a $10 minimum but a $3 delivery fee. 

Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates have similar minimum purchase requirements to qualify for free delivery. Even if you order frequently from one app, double-check that they have the highest free delivery threshold in your area. Choosing apps strategically based on current minimums can help you avoid some fees.


 Finding the cheapest food delivery app takes some research and comparing options. But following these tips, like leveraging first-time promos on UberEats, checking restaurant exclusivity, and watching out for apps with higher fees like Grubhub and Doordash, can help you maximize savings on all your orders. 

Don’t be afraid to delete and re-install apps to take advantage of new user specials again. And track which ones offer the best free delivery minimums and tipping culture. Once you know the tricks of the trade, you’ll be ordering more meals for less money in no time. Bon appétit!

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