Will NYC’s New Minimum Wage for Delivery Drivers Increase Your Meal Cost? 5 Tips To Keep Costs Down

Portland, OR, USA - Apr 18, 2021: Various food delivery service options - DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats, Ritual, Caviar, and Grubhub - are seen advertised at the entrance to a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, during the coronavirus pandemic.
hapabapa / Getty Images

As labor activists and NYC delivery workers debate the new $17.96 per hour minimum wage, New York residents wonder how much more their delivery meals will cost under the new pay structure.

As of mid-June, the legislation has not yet passed, but, if it does, it will increase New York City delivery workers’ pay from an average of roughly $7.09 per hour to just under $18 per hour. Another proposal would involve paying workers 50 cents per minute of active time. NYC comptroller Brad Lander said that the new rates will net deliveristas — as they are called in the city where many use bikes, ebikes, or scooters — roughly $13 per hour after expenses.

The new law is set to go into effect on July 12 and could add costs of up to $5 per meal for New York City residents, according to The Washington Free Beacon. Additionally, some restaurant owners believe it could drive up costs in restaurant kitchens, as cooks in quick-service and fast-casual restaurants could make more delivering the food instead of preparing it, forcing restaurant owners to raise wages in the kitchen.

However, one study found that restaurants may see an uptick in profits if people begin ordering directly from the restaurants, rather than food delivery apps, which take a cut of the profits.

If you’ve been enjoying the convenience of food delivery since the pandemic — these services grew by 25% between 2019 and 2020 and another 21% in 2021 — you may want to find a way to reduce your costs.

Make Your Money Work for You

Meal-Share with Friends

If you’re in an office, coordinate your lunch with colleagues. Agree to order from the same place and split the delivery costs. To save even more, you and your co-workers can take turns picking up the food.

If you live in an apartment building or are close with your neighbors, ask them if they want to go in on dinner delivery with you. Use an app like Nextdoor to chat with your neighbors and set a weekly schedule for meal deliveries a few nights a week. Use Venmo to transfer money to one person, who would be responsible for collecting the money and placing the orders.

Pick Up Your Food

It seems obvious, but picking up your food after you call in your order can save you on delivery costs. Plus, because you can check your order for accuracy before you leave the restaurant, you’ll eliminate the hassle of receiving the wrong food, which sometimes happens — especially during peak times.

Order Directly From the Restaurant

Restaurants often provide their own delivery service, and it can cost less than using UberEats, GrubHub, or one of the other food delivery apps.

Subscribe to Your Favorite Delivery Service

GrubHub+ offers unlimited free deliveries for orders over $12 at many participating restaurants, provided you subscribe for a flat rate of $9.99 per month. A free trial is available to qualifying customers.

Make Your Money Work for You

Before you subscribe, review the list of restaurants to be sure your favorite establishments are on the list. You’ll also gain access to exclusive perks and additional rewards, according to the GrubHub website.

Likewise, UberEats offers the Eats Pass, with free delivery from participating restaurants plus 5% off food orders. The cost, like GrubHub+, is $9.99 per month after the free trial.

If you also use Uber for transportation, you can benefit from an Uber One subscription, which provides free food delivery, up to 10% off food orders, plus special member pricing on the ride share service for the same $9.99 per month — or $100 for an annual subscription. Uber claims members save an average of $27 per month.

Take Advantage of Gift Card Deals

While it won’t reduce the cost of food delivery, stacking up on restaurant gift card deals can help you manage your food budget and save money. Some restaurants offer “buy-one-get-one” deals on gift cards, especially in June when people are shopping for dads and grads — and also around the winter holidays.

You may also find restaurant gift cards sold for less than their retail price at Costco, or on websites like Raise.com, CardCash.com, and CardBear.com.

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