Winter is Delivery Season

The winter season often means an uptick in food delivery. The cold weather and early onset of darkness can put a damper on one’s motivation to venture out for dinner. Last winter KimFromTheK profiled the GrubHub service while asking readers to chime in with their own recommendations.

In the last few weeks I’ve discovered Eat 24 Hours. Compared to other services such as Foodler, SeamlessWeb, Takeout Taxi, and GrubHub this service appears to offer far more restaurants that will deliver to the Triangle. While the total participating restaurants may vary based on time and day of the week Eat 24 hours offered a choice of 107 restaurants that would deliver to my address last Friday afternoon. The service also features more restaurants without delivery fees. In fact several D.C. restaurants that issue a $6.99 delivery charge on Takeout Taxi have free delivery on Eat24Hours.

Of course food delivery services are in the game to earn revenue. On a few menus that I browsed I observed that food items were listed for 35-50 cents more than you would pay in the restaurant. I also noticed that gratuity was a mandatory 15% on many restaurants with free delivery and tip was yet another separate line item. I pinged Eat24hours customer service via their chat tool about the reason for these separate line items. Their response essentially suggested that the gratuity was a surcharge to the local delivery service Express Entree and that the tip was for the driver. While this does undermine the notion of free delivery it still yields a favorable outcome compared to a flat $5.99 delivery surcharge on an order < $40.

Takeout Taxi is the only competitor I’ve tried that offers anywhere close to the same number of restaurants and they assess a $6.99 delivery fee and a 10% service charge. The Takeout taxi service charge is actually assessed on top of the food plus delivery costs rather than the food alone which never really sat right with me. In the end, even with the mandated 15% “gratuity” charge and modest markups from Eat24hours, I think the service has the ability to save customers over $4 off the fees of Takeout Taxi.

What have you found to be the best local delivery service? Share your experiences and/or tips on food delivery in the comments section.

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