A man and woman sitting at their dining table and opening takeout food containers.

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You may be paying higher per-item menu prices than if you were to order directly from the restaurant.

Key points

  • Food delivery apps are convenient and easy to use.
  • Due to fees added on when using these apps, you may be paying more for your meal.
  • Restaurants often price their food items higher on delivery apps.

Using food delivery apps has become a regular part of daily life for many households. These apps provide a convenient way to get your next meal without having to leave your home. Whether you use these apps occasionally or frequently, you’re probably overpaying for takeout.

Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash are some of the biggest names in the food delivery app world. If you’ve ordered delivery recently, you likely used one of these apps. It’s common knowledge that if you’re placing an order for food to be delivered to your home, you’ll likely pay a service fee and a delivery fee. This is expected, and it’s the added price you pay for convenience.

But did you know you may be overpaying in other ways? You may be paying a higher price for the food itself, too.

Businesses that partner with delivery apps pay commission fees and other fees. Because of this, every time a customer places an order through these apps, the restaurant only receives a portion of the total price paid. That’s why many businesses have higher per-item menu prices shown on delivery apps. Some items may only be a few cents higher — but others may cost $1 or more.

For example, a restaurant might list a cheeseburger for $14 on their own restaurant menu, but that same cheeseburger might cost $14.75 when ordered through a delivery app. So the next time you go to place a delivery order, you may want to check out the pricing first. If you compare the company’s regular menu prices, you may find it’s cheaper to order from them directly rather than use an app.

Why is it important to consider the price of the food itself?

If you’re placing a few small orders here and there, a few extra cents or dollars may not be a huge deal. However, those menu-item increases could add up quickly for individuals or families who place larger orders frequently.

The additional money spent on food and delivery and service fees results in more money being spent and ultimately less money in your bank account. For some households, these added costs may be meaningful. After all, life gets busy, and delivery may be the best option. You’ll have to decide whether this is a big deal for you.

Ways to save on takeout

There may be ways for you to save money on your next takeout night. Here are some tips:

  • Order directly from the restaurant. If possible, order directly from the restaurant. Doing this is a win-win because you can save money by paying accurate menu prices, and the business can save money by not paying added fees. Some restaurants offer free delivery to customers in the local community.
  • Place a pickup order instead of a delivery order. Another way to save money is by placing a pickup order. When using a food ordering app, you can save money by avoiding service and delivery fees. If you want to save even more money, order directly from a local restaurant and pick up your order.
  • Use delivery app credits to your advantage. If using delivery apps has become a normal part of your routine, you could save money in another way. Some rewards credit cards now include monthly delivery app credits. This will result in you getting a direct discount on your order or a statement credit when charging your eligible card.

Takeout apps can make life easier and may help you get dinner on the table faster. Just know that you’ll likely pay more money for the convenience of using delivery apps. You don’t have to break up with your favorite takeout spot. But you may be able to save a bit of money by adjusting some of your habits.

Don’t forget to use dining and restaurant credit cards to earn rewards on your takeout spending. And if you’re looking for more ways to save money in your daily life, check out our personal finance resources.

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