In 2020, more Americans started ordering takeout food and delivery than possibly ever before due to the constraints on restaurants during the pandemic. People prioritized safety and convenience over the costs these third-party services add on to your food to have it delivered. Restrictions have eased up in 2021 due to vaccine rollouts in most states, however, some people still continue to order food by delivery because it’s just easier, or it has become a habit that’s hard to break. If you’re one of those people, a closer look at how much you’re paying to have your food delivered versus picking it up might make you change your tune and save some cash.
The Hidden Fees
You probably became very familiar with the names of such food delivery services as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub during the pandemic. These are some of the top food delivery services in the nation, and they aren’t doing the work for free. TechCrunch ran the numbers and breaks down the surprising number of fees you pay when you order a meal from one of these (and other related) services:
- Menu item: The cost of the food itself
- Service fee: This fee is charged by the delivery company for their service.
- Taxes: This is the sales tax you pay based on local laws in your city and state.
- Delivery fee: An additional fee you pay the restaurant for having the food delivered
- Gratuity: The tip you hopefully pay the driver
Already you can see that if you pick up your food instead of having it delivered you cut out the service fee and delivery fee. Some people also save on a tip when they pick up food, though there are others who believe that you should always pay the people who handle your food.
TechCrunch did an analysis of restaurants in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and found that in some cases, particularly through delivery service PostMates, fees could be significantly higher, anywhere between 17% and 40% higher than what you’d pay if you picked up from the restaurant directly. It really makes picking up seem worthwhile.
So how does this add up in dollars and cents? According to CNBC, if you use an example of a person who spends $25 in food delivery three times a week, you’re adding $7.50 in fees per week to their spending.
In one month’s time, that’s about $30 in fees. Simply by taking the extra step to pick up your food yourself, this hypothetical person could save $360 in a single year. That’s $360 toward your next vacation, a new car, your emergency fund or a nice weekend away.
Of course, if you order takeout more frequently, or in higher amounts, than this example, then you will really save money by picking up.
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