A recent study conducted by FinanceBuzz has found that ordering fast food for delivery can cost consumers twice as much as picking it up themselves, depending on the delivery service used. The study discovered that in addition to tips and service fees, menu prices on delivery apps tend to be higher than those found in-store. The highest extra costs were found on Postmates, where prices, service fees, and tips increased the cost of orders by an average of 105%. DoorDash came in second with a 95% increase, followed by Grubhub at 93%. Uber Eats had the lowest markup at 80%.
The study compiled data by ordering food from various national restaurant chains on DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats, comparing the prices of those orders with the same meal purchased for pickup. Both restaurants and delivery services contribute to the markups and fees associated with delivery orders, which has been a point of contention between them. DoorDash, for example, informed restaurants that it would rank them lower on its homepage if they marked up costs for delivery orders.
According to a DoorDash spokesperson, restaurants make their own delivery menu pricing decisions, while the service fee is set by the delivery service itself. Uber Eats and Postmates added that restaurants are responsible for the menu prices displayed on their apps or websites. Grubhub stated that it is committed to keeping consumer fees low while accounting for the real costs of providing on-demand delivery.
Chick-fil-A was found to have the highest total markup among the surveyed restaurant chains. Delivery orders from the fried chicken chain were between 82% and 149% more expensive than pickup, depending on the delivery service used. Other chains such as Starbucks, Panda Express, and McDonald's had more modest average markups.
Delivery services experienced a surge in demand during the early stages of the pandemic, but consumers have since become more aware of the higher costs associated with delivery, including markups and tips for delivery workers. One Instacart grocery customer voiced her complaints about the service's extra costs on TikTok, revealing that she paid between 50 cents and $2 more per item through Instacart compared to shopping in-store.
It is important for consumers to be aware of these additional costs when ordering fast food for delivery and to consider whether the convenience outweighs the price difference.