Online delivery services. Are you overpaying for fast food ?

Ordering a takeaway via a food delivery app can be up to 44% more expensive than dealing directly with a restaurant, according to research.

The consumer organisation Which? said it looked at the price of ordering meals for between two to four people from five restaurants and cafes.

It compared the prices offered by the eateries directly with those requested by DeliverooUber Eats and Just Eat – apps that have become more popular during the COVID pandemic, with people told to leave home only for essential reasons during lockdown periods.

Deliveroo riders are to be rewarded with cash payouts of up to £10,000 on the day of the listing. Pic: AP
Image:The single biggest price premium Which? found was via Deliveroo. Pic: AP

Six in 10 people were using takeaway apps pre-pandemic, compared to seven in 10 now, Which? found in a survey.

But according to its research, customers “frequently have problems with orders” involving “late arrival, cold food and missing items”.

And on average, ordering through an app was 23% more expensive, Which? found.

Buying a meal on Deliveroo was most pricey overall, costing on average 31% more per order than going direct.

More on Deliveroo

Uber Eats was 25% more expensive, while for Just Eat it was considerably lower, at 7%.

The single most expensive order was a “£43.94 Deliveroo takeaway from a burrito and taco restaurant, which cost 44% (£12.29) more than ordering directly from the restaurant”, Which? said.

The group added: “Even before adding delivery and service charges, the cost of the food was 26% (£8.30) more.”

One of the restaurants studied was not on Just Eat’s app, while for another it “applied a £7.30 discount”, Which? said.

Just Eat
Image:Just Eat was the least expensive app, when compared with ordering direct

The consumer organisation said prices on the apps are “generally set by restaurants”, which may increase them to cover the service charge they pay the companies operating the apps.

Commission is said to be between 15-35%.

Regarding problems with orders, 59% of people using Deliveroo said they had had an issue in the last 12 months, while it was 53% for both Uber Eats and Just Eat.

The most common way for something to be resolved for Uber Eats customers was via a cash refund.

Deliveroo and Just Eat users were more often offered credit or a voucher within the app, some of which came with expiry dates, Which? said.

An UBER EATS cyclist in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. 28/3/2020
Image:An Uber Eats cyclist in Glasgow during the first coronavirus lockdown in March last year

A Deliveroo spokesperson said the company “always aims to offer our customers great value while also delivering sustainable growth for our restaurant partners”.

They added: “We encourage restaurants to set the same menu prices as they offer customers when dining in, and the commission we charge is then reinvested back into our business, paying for riders’ fees, customer services and upgrading our services for restaurants. We have a positive track record of helping our small restaurant partners throughout the pandemic and this will continue to be our priority as restaurants look towards a full reopening.”

A Just Eat spokesperson said: “Just Eat is only successful if our restaurant partners are successful. We believe our commission rates are aligned with the value we provide to our partners and we have a track record of helping restaurants prosper.

“It’s really important to us that our customers have a positive experience when using Just Eat. Whenever we’re made aware of any customer experience that falls short of the high standards we hope to deliver, we will always investigate and take appropriate action to ensure we find a suitable solution.”

An Uber Eats spokeswoman said the company is “completely focused on ensuring that the best restaurants and the best selection of food is available to customers”.

They added: “We have a dedicated customer service team to help customers who have issues with their orders, and we would encourage anyone who does have an issue to reach out in the Help section of the app.”

Related Articles