It’s now possible get your Taco Bell fix without leaving the house.
We all have those nights when we plan to make dinner at home, but life gets in the way. Want a quick hot meal for the family without going out? Hopefully everyone likes pizza!
At least that’s how it used to be. Now you can have food delivered from almost any restaurant in town using your smartphone.
Turn your smartphone into a food delivery service
There are three popular food delivery apps for Android and iPhone that you should know about.
Each service partners with different restaurants. Trying all three apps is the best way to have the most food delivery options at your fingertips.
Ordering food is simple. Pick the restaurant, browse the menu, make a selection, and your meal is on the way.
Waitr, on the other hand, is available across the Southwest and Southeast in states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The service also has a deeper connection to the South with one prominent investor: New Orleans Saints NFL quarterback Drew Brees.
What can you order?
So what can you order from these services?
All three services partner with local restaurants including coffee shops, Asian and Mexican restaurants, and yes, pizza places.
There are also national brands that may only partner with one or two services:
- Uber Eats partners includes McDonald’s, Applebee’s, IHOP
- DoorDash works with Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chili’s, and some Starbucks locations
- Waitr delivers Chick-Fil-A, Dairy Queen, and Sonic Drive-In
How much does delivery cost?
You pay for your food through the app, and each service has a different delivery fee. You can also tip your driver through the app or in-person with cash.
Both Uber Eats and DoorDash base service fees on delivery distance. Rates can range from $2 to $8, although both services often promote $0 delivery fee restaurants.
Waitr uses a $4.99 flat rate fee for all deliveries regardless of distance.
Using food delivery services can be simple. What’s challenging is resisting the temptation to have a hot meal delivered to your home or office any time of day.
Order before you arrive
Don’t mind picking up a meal on the way home? Many apps let you order ahead with no extra fee so you food is ready when you arrive.
Starbucks supports a mobile order feature through its Android and iPhone app that lets you skip the line. Choose your latte or treat, pay through the app, then arrive at the drive-through or walk inside to pick up your order using your name.
Orders are automatically connected to the rewards program for redeeming free coffee and more, and you can skip the line like a VIP.
Chick-Fil-A has a similar feature in its app that makes placing your order much faster. Make your selection from your smartphone, then walk inside and look for your meal in the mobile order area.
You can also avoid the famously long Chick-Fil-A lines around the building by ordering ahead through the smartphone app without getting out of your car.
This feature is especially handy if you get caught in a rain storm and your family expects you to come home with dinner. No need to get soaked while yelling four different meals through the intercom. Just say your name and you’re set.
Many restaurant chains including Olive Garden and Red Lobster let you order carry out meals online through your smartphone. This is great when you don’t have time to cook at home but fast food isn’t appealing.
Search the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for your favorite restaurant to see if mobile ordering is offered.
Groceries delivered to you
Your smartphone can also be your personal shopper.
- Walmart has a really useful app for its Grocery service that works with Android and iPhone. Grocery lets you shop for groceries and household supplies that are available at your local Walmart — right from your smartphone.
The app lets you select a pickup window later in the day, then it notifies you when your groceries are ready for pickup. Just park in designated parking, tell the app which parking spot you’re in, then your groceries are loaded in your car.
Using the Walmart Grocery app on my iPhone for shopping has been extremely convenient when I’m shopping with my two kids while my wife is at work.
You can also use the Walmart Grocery app to shop and have your purchases delivered on the same day or a few days later. While pickup is a free service, delivery ranges from around $8 to $10 based on time of day.
Walmart isn’t the only retailer with a smartphone app for personal shopping. Target Drive Up lets you shop through its Android and iPhone app for pickup, then your order is brought to your car without going inside.
Prefer another retailer? Shipt is a subscription delivery service that lets you shop from more stores on your smartphone.
Shipt offers two subscription plans:
- $14/month billed monthly
- $8.25/month billed $99 annually
Subscriptions include free delivery on orders over $35, and membership includes same-day delivery.
Shipt partners vary by region and can include CVS, Winn-Dixie, Target, and regional grocery stores.
Food and grocery delivery services aren’t just useful for quick meals and avoiding expensive shopping trips with young kids.
Who are food delivery services for?
Using smartphone apps like these can also help anyone with mobility limitations. Remote shopping and grocery delivery is also useful when looking after a loved one who lives on their own but can’t shop.
Services like these are still expanding in new markets so every app may not be useful where you live yet, but watching this category will help you get more out of your smartphone.
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