Do’s and Don’ts of Online Food Delivery


Photo provided by the author

Sara Stewart shares her thoughts on food delivery apps. She’s tried them all – so you don’t have to!

March of 2020 was not a good month, bringing quarantine regulations for the population and loss of business to almost all companies. However, some lucked out. Quarantine caused everyone to be at home with many scared to leave. Soon laws prevented restaurants from having dine-in options.

Assumingly this meant the end of restaurants but creativity soon brought a new concept to “eating out”. 

The online food delivery apps peaked. From restaurants depending on them to deliver their food or people at home needing ways for food to get to them. 

Apps like Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, and Postmates gained business and benefited from the quarantined population. Business boomed when many people used these services for the first time. 

Soon companies began to see the popularity in third party delivery apps and decided to start more company based delivery apps. Restaurants now have their own individual app where you can order and deliver food without having to use a third party. Yet it seems that most people preferred to have one app with all the options. 

People became fans of the online apps but the process created an ordeal: you picked the app, chose a restaurant, ordered, then put in your information. After you submit, it goes to a nearby delivery car who accepts or declines. If they accept the order they check in at the restaurant, receive the food, then deliver it. This system created many holes where errors rushed in. 

Some people experienced the online system with no complications. They tried out all the apps to find the best fit one- or the one with the best discount that day. Others were constantly bombarded with their online order being messed up, cancelled, or not receiving the right food. 

With the overload of apps there was always the question on which app would truly be the best, the one to save you money, or the one without all the mishaps. I took it upon myself to try all the apps out and determine if any of them were worth it. 

I first tried Doordash-a solid 1 star. Doordash seemed to have the most potential, upon signing up I was given 50% off and free delivery. I went to checkout and it charged my card but took away all discounts and cancelled some of my food. After a two hour chat with customer service I was able to only get doordash credit- not a refund even though I cancelled my order- which left me with no food and out 30 bucks. 

Determined not to give up Grubhub was next. When I tried this my friend had a $10 gift card. We decided to use it. Again not a great experience. The order said it was submitted but seconds later it got cancelled. Luckily that time we did get a refund but not for the gift card. Barley 2.5 stars. 

Having some hope left I decided on Postmates. While they didn’t have as many options or discounts I did receive my food. Earning them the 4 stars right there. The app was easy to use and while it did add delivery and service fees I decided to pick my battles.

At this point, I lost steam to continue my test runs. However, talking to Mr. Fitz he portrayed how he had tried Uber Eats and wouldn’t dare say how long it took to deliver his food. Not much optimism he will be trying again. 

There exist many opinions on whether ordering food online is worth the outcome. Due to fees, delivery, “discounts” and availability each app holds different potential or setbacks. Through this people have found what works for them and how to navigate the new system. 

Overall be prepared for what could happen when ordering; make sure your order is exactly what you want as there’s no going back after you hit that submit. As for me, I’m sticking with pick up. Using the apps to still get discounts and use credit but skipping the fees and the lines seems to be most ideal.