Are Food Delivery Apps Secretly Bleeding You Dry?

Words: Katrina Rose Wind

We all have those days where we get home from work and are way too lazy to cook the food we already have in the fridge. The mere idea of going out to eat can be almost bone chilling. You’d much rather be at home in your jammies, sitting on the couch, binge watching your favourite show on Netflix. So you sit back, kick off your shoes, swipe to your favourite delivery app and start scrolling the endless options available at your fingertips.

The problem: It’s a lot more expensive than you think. In most cases, restaurants have spiked their prices on food delivery apps by 10-25%, but then not only are you paying a ridiculous markup but you also have to pay the delivery fee and if you’re a good person, the tip.

food delivery apps

Restaurants Mark Up Prices For Food Delivery Apps

Let’s use Simply Asia as an example. If you visit any one of their locations you will see that the sit-in price for a Traditional Pad Thai is R95 whereas on UberEats it’s R114.50 that’s a 18.6% difference. You can check it out for yourselves below if you too are shocked by this information. They aren’t the only ones doing this, if we take Jerry’s Burger Bar, we see that on Mr. Delivery a Double Cheese Smash Burger costs R120 whereas at their brick and mortar stores the burger costs R100, a 18.2% markup on the food delivery app.

food delivery apps
food delivery apps

According to Business Insider SA, UberEats charges restaurants about 30% commission, while Mr. Delivery charges an average of 22%. Both delivery services say that restaurants set their own prices on the platforms, even though they encourage them to price their items the same as in-store.

The reason these restaurants are actually charging a huge markup on these food delivery apps is to offset the increasing service fees by boosting their prices by between 5% and 10% (even though often times it’s way more) Sure, this is understandable, businesses need to make a profit to make it worth their while being on the apps. That being said, these markups are not the only added charge to our take-away meals.

That Sneaky Fee – The Delivery Fee

Let’s break down the other additional fee, the delivery charge. Capitalism at its finest. Depending on where you order from, the delivery fee changes. On UberEats it’s R10, on Mr. Delivery it’s R5, and on OrderIn it’s R15. As to why there is a big price difference between all three food delivery apps, we’re not too sure but we did notice that these delivery fee changes depending on the time and distance. UberEats says that the delivery fee is required to cover operational costs.

Of course, you also have to tip these drivers, they not only get paid so little by these companies to pick up our delicious pizzas or what have you, but they also have to endure Cape Town’s temperamental weather.

From a poll that we conducted most people tip around 10-15% but if the weather is bad they will tip up to 25% in addition to restaurant markups and delivery fee.

If you don’t order because you feel bad for the drivers then they lose out on tip and shift pay but if you do order when the weather is horrible expect for it to cost you more. Not leaving your home when the weather is acting up and having food delivered to your door is not only convenient but understandable, just remember to tip more!

If You’re Trying To Save A few Extra Bucks, Try Cooking At Home Next Time

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Ordering delivery can end up being more expensive than going out to eat and it’s definitely more expensive than cooking at home. Next time you get home from a long day at work it might be worth to think twice before you fire up that food delivery app. Especially if it’s right before pay day maybe check to see what’s in your fridge and see what you can possibly whip up.

I’ll be laughing all the way to the bank making a Thai curry at home that is equally delicious and healthier as any of those Asian restaurants on Ubereats. If you too want to learn how to make some quick, delicious recipes that you can make after work then check out these recipes that will save you a buck or two.

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