4 Popular Foods Apps Explained

4 Popular Foods Apps Explained

The on-demand food delivery market is spiking and with more and more people going remote, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. We’re breaking down four of the most popular food apps – Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub, and UberEATS – so when you’re ready to go online, you’ve got a solid starting point.

From restaurant to dinner table, how does it work?

Regardless of name or business model, all food deliveries strive for one common goal: Get food from point A to point B with the same quality you’d expect if it were ordered and eaten onsite. Of course, the logistics behind getting food from A to B varies, depending on the service used and anyone contemplating food delivery business should consider budget and scope before choosing one of these services.  


Drivers are given a corporate debit card to pay for meals on customers’ behalf. For most drivers, the card is Postmates-branded and given a unique alphanumeric number. Drivers who are most active are assigned cards with their own name. These cards are used for larger nonfood deliveries, such as a pick-up and delivery from the Apple Store.

The Postmates debit card is preloaded with a sum slightly higher than the total cost of a customer’s order. For example, according to an online Postmates resource, if a customer’s order comes to $34.99, the Postmates card is loaded with $50.

The corporate card gives drivers a sense of flexibility and allows them to place orders before arriving at a restaurant. Additionally, if the prices at a restaurant are vastly different than those shown in the app, or if the customer requests that more items be added to an order, the driver can request additional funds through the Postmates app. These additional funds will be loaded onto the card, and drivers can continue to make requests for more funds, as needed. Customers might also place their own orders, which are sent via tablet to partner restaurants and assigned to drivers.


UberEATS uses a fairly simple format. Orders are prepaid and pre-made well before a driver arrives — in theory, at least. In actuality, UberEATS lets customers place an order through the app to be picked up by a driver. Although the order is supposed to be ready to go upon the driver’s arrival at a restaurant, that’s often not the case. Instead, a driver might be forced to wait while a meal is prepared — the restaurant’s attempt to guarantee that customers receive freshly prepared food at  the appropriate temperature.

UberEATS also uses a “closed-bag” model. Orders are not opened or inspected by drivers; meals are handed from the restaurant to the driver, then from the driver to the customer. This absolves drivers of the responsibility for checking to see that orders are correct and nothing has been missed.


Doordash works by pinging drivers with the location of a restaurant and destination and calculating the distance between each point (including the driver’s current location). At the restaurant, the DoorDash driver is presented with one of three situations:

  • Pick up the food and go.
  • Pay for the order using the Doordash company card.
  • Place the order and wait until it’s ready.


Grubhub isn’t strictly a delivery service, though it has merged with and absorbed services such as Seamless and Yelp’s Eat24. The Grubhub app launched in 2004 as an alternative to paper menus, which allowed the company to establish partnerships and build relationships with restaurants.

If a restaurant does not have delivery drivers, it might make use of independent Grubhub contractors, similarly to Doordash, Postmates and UberEATS. The idea is for the driver to arrive at a restaurant as food preparation is completed. The food is then placed in a branded, insulated bag and sent on its way. Grubhub’s proprietary technology allows restaurants and customers to track the estimated delivery time for a meal.

Drivers can elect to schedule themselves in “blocks” of time. This is essentially a guarantee that of the driver’s availability to pick up and deliver orders. Drivers may pick up and drop blocks as they see fit, based on their program level. Drivers can also deliver outside of a block, but Grubhub prioritizes scheduled drivers and qualifies them for more work and higher earnings potential. Any deliveries not assigned to a “block” driver are up for grabs by drivers not working a block.

Considerations for your business

Drivers seem to consider Postmates the most highly differentiated service of the four. They cited its corporate debit card as the biggest difference and said that Postmates uses it as leverage against its competitors.

From a driver’s perspective, Doordash is adamant about drivers earning a respectable minimum fee per delivery so that each delivery is worth the driver’s time and they’re not reliant on customer tips.

UberEATS is largely synchronized with the company’s larger-scale ridesharing aspect. This makes it easy for Uber drivers to break up a day of dealing with passengers while continuing to earn money through another kind of delivery.

Grubhub uses its market share to leverage partnerships with additional services and brands, as it did with Yelp’s Eat24 and Groupon.

For smaller restaurant companies, DoorDash might be a better choice, as they provide a high quality of service for both customers and drivers, which can create awareness and  a positive association with your food or products.

For larger companies, Postmates’ corporate card might not be such a heavy burden.

In the end, the choice of any one service ultimately is based on experimentation and user experience, not on advertised features and benefits.

About OrderMatic Corporation

At OrderMatic, we develop solutions that enhance the customer transactional experience in new and innovative ways. For over 60 years, we have provided turnkey contract manufacturing services nationwide. From exploring digital menu boards to using presell menus effectively, there are many ways to improve your restaurant’s efficiency even beyond best sales practices. Contact OrderMatic to discuss how you can enhance both your drive-thru and dine-in experience!