Hidden Delivery App Fees Adding Up? 10 Ways to Order Straight From Restaurants and Save

Gabby Reeder

Mother seeing bill and shocked

The convenience of ordering from a delivery app often causes potential customers to ignore the exorbitant delivery fees. A meal might cost $20 in a restaurant, but with service fees, driver fees, taxes, and tips, your dinner doubles in price. Frequent delivery patrons suggest the best methods to cut the costs of eating non-home-cooked food at home.

1. Order Straight From the Source

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Call the desired restaurant and place your order to avoid doling out extra funds. You will have to drive or walk to get your food, so this may be difficult if you don't have reliable transportation or you live in a bustling city with a lack of quick transportation. However, the food tastes better—and maintains heat and freshness— than it does after sitting in a delivery driver's vehicle.

2. Order From Somewhere With a Designated Delivery Driver

Pizza Hut
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Pizza shops are great examples of establishments staffed with drivers on their payroll. When working with Doordash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub, the restaurant doesn't have a direct line of communication with the driver, so the responsibility for the food's quality relies on a third party. With their staff, the restaurant can handle any issues with delivery, payment, cold food, etc. Plus, you know your money stays within the company.

3. Check the Fine Print

Jimmy John's restaurant
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The person informing the internet thread of the best ways to avoid delivery fees explains that some restaurants operate on their own and on delivery services. For example, he says that Jimmy John's employs delivery drivers and chain delivery services to surcharge customers for using the app.

4. Order From the Restaurant's Website

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Restaurants like local Chinese establishments and steakhouses allow customers to select the order they please and pay online before picking up their food. Once you send the order through the system, the information translates directly into the kitchen and enters the food line. If you show up at the restaurant and your food is cold, you explain the issue to the manager, milling around the location.

5. Order Over the Phone and Pay in Cash

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Sometimes, restaurants require individuals ordering food to pay in full before sending their order back to the kitchen. But, for those locations that don't need an upfront payment, you can wait until you arrive at the restaurant to pay in cash. Assess your service and add a tip based on the experience.

6. Order in Person and Wait for Take Out

Man getting parcel from restaurant
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This method guarantees fresh, high-quality food without the pain of waiting hours for a hot meal. Granted, you have the extra time to drive, walk, bike, bus, or train to your favorite restaurant and place an order to go. Similar to the above advice, you can base your tip on the experience with the staff.

7. Invest in Premium Delivery Service Memberships

Uber eats
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Maybe you don't have a car to get around your city, or you don't want to leave your house, but you still want to save a chunk of cash.

A delivery fanatic states, “If you have no car, it’s probably a savings to have Uber One; if you’re in a city and have Uber One, you likely get three 40% coupons every two weeks. Even with Uber Eats markup, many places will be cheaper for a midsize order with free delivery and 40% off.”

8. Read Your Credit Card's Fine Print

Teen with credit card
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“Similar, my credit card includes DoorDash Red and Instacart+. It adds a credit every month for both. If you do a store that already has delivery discounts, plus the credit and free delivery, it again is cheaper than going to that grocery store or restaurant,” someone adds.

9. Pay Attention to Delivery Fees

Fast food apps
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Food delivery apps shift the cost of delivery fees each day. I've ordered food with a $0 delivery fee and a $7.49 delivery fee from the same restaurant on different occasions. Avoid ordering during busy times and see which restaurants are closest to you for a smaller bill.

10. Work at a Restaurant

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When I worked at a yacht club, the main chef fed us twice daily during our shift. Not everyone is cut out to work in the food service industry, but working in a kitchen does have free food as a bonus. Of course, various restaurants boast various food rules, but many feed you without it coming out of your paycheck.

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Uber Eats
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Source: Reddit.

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