Cheapest Food Delivery Apps 2020 Guide

In this guide, we’ll tell you which are the cheapest food delivery apps out of all of the various options out there.

These are the factors we’ve chosen to go deeper into:

  • How do food delivery services set their prices?
  • How to get a deal on food delivery
  • Subscriptions to make food delivery even cheaper

Dive in to see which delivery service comes out on top in each category.

Best Food Delivery Apps 2020 Guide

Cheapest Food Delivery: Comparing The TOP Apps

uber-eats-cirlce-logo
Uber Eats
Occasional Ordering
grubhub-app
GrubHub
Best During Peak Hours
postmates-app
Postmates
Best Restaurant Deals
doordash-app
DoorDash
Best Promotion

The cheapest food delivery service is tricky to nail down because of the various pricing criteria that each one has.

Not to mention these factors change based on which restaurants you decide to order from, where you’re located, what time you place your order, and more.

Here are the cheapest food delivery apps that you may download and try:

  • DoorDash (iOS / Android)
  • GrubHub (iOS / Android)
  • Uber Eats (iOS / Android)
  • Postmates (iOS / Android)
  • Seamless (iOS / Android)
  • Waitr (iOS / Android)
  • Delivery.com (iOS / Android)
  • Caviar (iOS / Android)

We’ve narrowed down these 8 apps into the 4 most inexpensive apps: Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates and DoorDash.

Also, you might be interested in our guide to the best food delivery apps for a more comprehensive look beyond the cost aspect.

Now, let’s see how they compare.

Uber Eats: Best for Occasional Ordering

Uber Eats boasts some of the lowest overall prices and largest availability area among other food delivery services.

These factors make their service perfect for certain situations, including:

  • Best for occasional ordering
  • Best for frequent travelers
So, if you’re not ordering quite often enough to need a subscription option, occasional orders will most likely be cheapest with Uber Eats. 
 
Their sprawling coverage area also means that travelers can most often count on being able to use the app wherever they end up.
Uber Eats Delivery

How Does Uber Eats Pricing Work?

Best Food Delivery Apps - Uber Eats

There are many factors that go into the final price you see when you place an order.
Uber Eats uses a pretty standard model for food delivery apps including a delivery & service fee, ability to tip, occasional surge pricing and more.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown.

Cost of the Actual Food

Uber eats has some of the lowest pricing for food delivery.  At least in New York as the report states. [1]

Set by each restaurant individually.

Some restaurants will increase these prices from their regular menu price to recoup some of their delivery cost.

Sales tax is determined by local tax laws.

The minimum order amount is zero for regular orders, but $15 for free delivery with Eats Pass.

Service, Delivery & Small Order Fees

The service fee is set by Uber Eats to cover operating expenses. Varies based on location, but never more than 15% of your order subtotal. Does not apply for restaurants that deliver their own orders.

The delivery fee is set by Uber Eats to cover delivery costs. Varies based on location, restaurant, and availability of couriers at the time. Typically around $4-$5.

The small cart fee varies by location. The fee is either $2 for subtotals under $10 or $3 for subtotals under $15.

Gratuity & Tips

Recommended, but not required. In-app or cash. You are prompted to add a tip to your order once completed, and you may add or edit it up to 90 days after your delivery.

Surge Pricing for Peak Hours

The highest peak hours are typically between 11a-2p and 5p-9:30p. There is also high demand when it’s raining.

How to Get a Deal on Uber Eats

Content

Save on Delivery with Uber Eats Pass

Uber Eats Pass Program

Uber Eats offers one of the best discount-centric subscriptions out there called Eats Pass.

Eats Pass also costs $9.99/mo and comes with these perks:

  • Free delivery on all orders over $15 (all restaurants, not just partners)
  • 5% off all orders (delivery or pickup)
  • No surge pricing

You can give Eats Pass a try with their 30-day free trial as well.

GrubHub: Best During Peak Hours

GrubHub has the best membership program out there, hands down.  They also opted to skip surge pricing in their fee structure.

These characteristics make their service uniquely perfect for:

  • Best for very frequent users
  • Best during peak hours
So, if you order quite often (more than 2-3 times per month), you can save a ton of money as a GrubHub+ member.
 
Their lack of surge pricing also means you won’t pay through the nose just because you decided to order during busy lunch/dinner periods.
grubhub delivery

How Does GrubHub Pricing Work?

There are various parts of the whole price offered when placing an order with GrubHub, as is the case with other apps as well.

Best Food Delivery Apps - GrubHub

GrubHub tends to be less expensive than others thanks to its lack of a service fee and their decision to skip surge pricing, although there are fees you should be aware of.

Let’s take a peek at the overview.

Cost of the Actual Food

Set by each restaurant individually.  Some restaurants will increase these prices from their regular menu price to recoup some of their delivery cost.

GrubHub leads the pack in terms of lowest overall markup cost when ordering from Subway in select markets according to The New York Times. [2]

Sales tax is determined by local tax laws.

The minimum order amount is determined by each restaurant individually for regular orders. Can range anywhere from $10-$40 or so. The minimum is $12 for free delivery with GrubHub+.

Service, Delivery & Small Order Fees

GrubHub does not have a service fee.

The delivery fee is set by each restaurant individually and varies widely for this reason. Typically will range anywhere from $1-$10 with the average being around $7.

The small order fee is $2 for orders under the specified minimum. This minimum varies by location (determined by the restaurant) but is typically around $10.

Gratuity & Tips

Recommended, but not required. In-app or cash. You are prompted to add the tip before checking out.

Surge Pricing for Peak Hours

GrubHub does not have increased pricing during peak hours.  That means no extra delivery fee or added costs!

How to Get a Deal on GrubHub

New users to GrubHub will be happy to find out they actually have a choice between 2 great deals.

You can choose between:

  • 25% off your first order of $15 or more
  • $7 off your first order of $12 or more

These promotions will both provide generous savings, and you can input both before placing your order to see which one gives you the best discount.

Save on Delivery with GrubHub+

grubhub+

GrubHub’s membership program is called GrubHub+ and offers the most perks of any others.

Their cost is also $9.99/mo and their offers include:

  • Free delivery on all orders over $12 with restaurant partners
  • 10% cash back on all orders with restaurant partners
  • Access to Elite Care customer support team
  • Matching donations to No Kid Hungry through the Donate the Change program
  • Exclusive access to new perks, local events, and experiences

Students enrolled in a GrubHub partner campus actually have access to a free membership!

For others, you can try it with their 14-day free trial (this can be extended to 30 days for those also participating in other food delivery app trials).

Postmates: Best Restaurant Deals

Postmates offers a huge variety of local partnerships as well as the ability to deliver from any establishment, even if its not on their app.

This means you can save a lot of money with certain orders, such as:

  • Best for ordering from local restaurants or specialty stores
  • Best for those who like a lot of variety
So, if you’re looking to order from any type of small or specialty establishment, or you order from a wide variety of places, Postmates is where you want to be.
 
These factors mean they offer more regular deals from the types of establishments you’re looking at much more often as well.
Postmates Delivery

How Does Postmates Pricing Work?

There are many cases in which Postmates comes out as a cheap option for food delivery.

Best Food Delivery Apps - Postmates

Their small delivery fee with restaurant partners have a lot to do with that, and they tend to partner with a lot of local restaurants, meaning you end up seeing good variety.

Let’s take a deeper dive into their fee structure to better understand.

Cost of the Actual Food

Set by each restaurant individually. Some restaurants will increase these prices from their regular menu price to recoup some of their delivery cost.

Cities are putting regulations in place to limit food delivery app fees to help struggling restaurants and prevent customers from being overcharged. [3]

Sales tax is determined by local tax laws.

There is zero minimum order amount for regular orders, but $12 for free delivery with Postmates Unlimited.

Service, Delivery & Small Order Fees

The service fee is set by Postmates to cover operating expenses. Typically around 16% of the order total, but varies widely by location and by the restaurant.

The delivery fee is set by Postmates to cover delivery costs. Fees are $0.99-$3.99 for partner merchants and $5.99-$9.99 for all other merchants.

The small cart fee is $1.99 for orders under the specified minimum. This minimum varies by location but is typically around $10.

Gratuity & Tips

Recommended, but not required. In-app or cash. You’ll be prompted to add the tip after you receive your delivery with options for pre-calculated percentages based on your order total or a manual amount.

Surge Pricing for Peak Hours

Also, called Blitz pricing. The highest peak hours are typically between 5:30p-9:30p, with the next busiest delivery times between 11a-2p. Weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun) have the highest demand for the week.

How to Get a Deal on Postmates

Postmates also deserves a top spot in the conversation about cheap food delivery apps.

Their new user promotion offers $100 in delivery credit for 7 days.

Especially if you want to order often, this is quite a big chunk of savings.

Save on Delivery with Postmates Unlimited

postmates-unlimited-membership

Postmates Unlimited also offers a great subscription option with big savings.

Their program costs either $9.99/mo or $99/yr and includes the following:

  • Free delivery on all orders over $12 with restaurant partners
  • No small cart fees
  • No blitz pricing
  • Delivery within 30 minutes

A free 7-day trial is also available for this subscription program.

DoorDash: Best New User Promotion

DoorDash has a ton of large chain partnerships as well as a killer promotion deal for new users.

These aspects make for a no-brainer when choosing an app in the following situations:

  • Best for ordering from fast food or chain restaurants
  • Best for new users
So, if you’re new to food delivery and want to get a good deal right off the bat, or you’re just looking to order from a chain such as Chipotle, DoorDash is the way to go.
 
Their partnerships mean you’ll see more promotions for those chains you love, and new users can stretch that deal over 30 days.
DoorDash Delivery

How Does DoorDash Pricing Work?

When placing an order with DoorDash, there are multiple reasons why it may come out as the least expensive option.

DoorDash promo codes for existing users guide

Their delivery and service fees tend to be lower than others, and they have the best new user promotion out there.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes up their final pricing.

Cost of the Actual Food

Set by each restaurant individually. Some restaurants will increase these prices from their regular menu price to recoup some of their delivery cost.

Sales tax is determined by local tax laws.

There is zero minimum order amount for regular orders, but $12 minimum for free delivery with DashPass.

Service, Delivery & Small Order Fees

The service fee is set by DoorDash to cover operating expenses. Typically between 10-11% of the order total.

The delivery fee is set by DoorDash to cover delivery costs. Varies by restaurant and distance of the delivery. Will increase during peak hours. Delivery fees typically range from $1.99 – $4.99.

The small order fee is $2 for orders under the order minimum, which is $10.

Gratuity & Tips

Recommended, but not required. In-app or cash. When placing your order, the default to choose is 15%, although it can be changed. You have an opportunity to change it after delivery as well.

Surge Pricing for Peak Hours

The highest peak hours are typically between 4:30p-9p, with the next highest hours between 11a-1p. This varies by location, of course.

How to Get a Deal on DoorDash

When looking for the cheapest food delivery service, DoorDash is at the top of the list, especially as a new user.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can get all deliveries for free for your first 30 days!

That’s an incredible deal, and currently the best one out there.

Save on Delivery with DashPass

DoorDash DashPass for Existing Users

If you’re planning to order from DoorDash often, you should consider getting a DashPass membership.

This only costs $9.99/mo and comes with the following benefits:

  • Free delivery on all orders over $12 with restaurant partners
  • Reduced service fees (varies by location, restaurant, & order total)
  • Exclusive perks for Chase cardholders

There is a 30-day trial available for this program as well.

Cheapest Food Delivery Apps:  Additonal Resources

  1.  Uber Eats with some of the lowest pricing in the industry [MarketWatch, June 2019]
  2.  GrubHub with lowest overall markup cost [NY Times, Feb 2020]
  3.  Cracking down on food delivery app fees [NPR, May 2020]

Which Food Delivery SErvice is CHeapest: The Results

uber-eats-cirlce-logo.png GrubHub App postmates-logo-alt DoorDash App
Food Cost Set by each restaurant Set by each restaurant Set by each restaurant Set by each restaurant
Sales Tax Yes, local taxes Yes, local taxes Yes, local taxes Yes, local taxes
Service Fee Yes, varies up to 15% None Yes, varies up to 16% Yes, varies up to 11%
Delivery Fee Yes, varies $4-$5 Yes, varies $2-$3 Yes, varies $0.99-$9.99 Yes, varies $1.99-$4.99
Small Order Fee Yes, varies $2-$3 Yes, $2 Yes, $1.99 Yes, $2
Gratuity Yes, not required Yes, not required Yes, not required Yes, not required
Surge Pricing Yes None Yes Yes
Minimum Order Set by each restaurant Set by each restaurant Set by each restaurant Set by each restaurant
New User Deal None
Yes, 25% off & $7 off
Yes, $100 Delivery Fee Credit
Yes, $1 Delivery Fee for 30 Days

What are you looking for?