Ordering Food Online for Beginners

Ordering food online as takeout from a restaurant to your home has steadily become one of the most popular meal options. The convenience of having a meal delivered right to your house is hard to beat, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. But just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean that it’s easy! There are so many food delivery platforms in existence now that it can be hard to know the difference. Besides that, most restaurants now offer their own delivery services through an entirely different process. For convenience and clarity, this guide breaks down the essentials of ordering food online, explains the differences between food delivery platforms, and offers an overview of how to order.

What To Know Before Ordering

Ordering Food Online cheeseburger and fries in to go boxThe structure of food delivery apps is unique in that they are independent from the restaurants they deliver from. This means that these companies will work with restaurants, but not for them. When you order Burger King from DoorDash, the person delivering your food doesn’t work for Burger King – they work for DoorDash.

This is important to know when it comes to dealing with mistakes in your order. Because the person who brings you your order not affiliated with the restaurant, they can't help you if the restaurant made a mistake with your meal. If this is not something you’re comfortable with, it may be better to opt for curbside pickup with your favorite restaurant. However, know that all the food delivery apps have Customer Support to help you get a refund in these situations.

Ordering Food Online Through an App

When it comes down to it, the biggest difference between food delivery apps is what restaurants they have available. Apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates all operate using your location, and therefore your options for ordering will vary based on where you live. For example, if your nearest McDonald’s is an hour away, you won’t be able to order at this restaurant through any of the apps because by the time the food got to you, it simply wouldn’t be good. That being said, different apps have a different “range” of restaurants that they consider to be close enough for delivery. If you want to have as many options as possible, consider downloading all three apps before deciding what you’d like to eat.

Pricing Structure

When you order through a food delivery app, your price may seem higher than normal. This is because you aren’t just paying for food, like if you dine in at a restaurant. The price you pay for Doordash, GrubHub, and Postmates is made up of the cost of your meal + a delivery fee. The delivery fee also varies based on aspects like your distance from the restaurant and how far the food has to travel. Tipping is also encouraged, and tips combined with the total.

Procedure to Ordering Food Online

DoorDash

To order from DoorDash:

  1. Download the app to your device and create a customer account. You will have to fill in information like your name, address, phone number, email, and create a strong password to do this. Once you have an account, you will be able to start ordering.
  2. Your home page will offer restaurant suggestions, but you can also click the Search icon at the bottom of the page to look for a particular restaurant. Note the delivery times and fees by each restaurant. This will tell you roughly how long your order will take to arrive and how much the delivery cost is for that specific place.
  3. Once you pick a restaurant by clicking on it, you’ll be able to choose what food you want and customize it. Click Add to Order once you’re done with each item to ensure that it’s a part of your total order.
  4. To place your order, click the View Cart You can see the food you’ve chosen, plus your subtotal. Pay by hitting the Continue tab and entering your card information and address. Make sure to set the tip bar to the amount that you’d like.
  5. Hit Place Order.

Once your order placed, you will be able to track where your driver is and how far away they are. You'll get a text when your order picked up and when it's delivered if you choose contact-free delivery.

GrubHub

To order from GrubHub:

  1. Download the app and create a GrubHub account. For GrubHub, you need your name and email address upon initial account creation.
  2. Enter your delivery address and find the restaurant you’re looking for. GrubHub displays the estimated delivery time for each restaurant and the delivery fee too; go ahead and pick what you’d like to eat and add it to your cart by tapping Add To Bag.
  3. Once you have everything you need, navigate to your payment screen by pressing the Bag symbol on the bottom right of your screen. You can review your total and then select a tip for your driver. GrubHub predetermines a recommended tip amount for you, but you can easily change it.
  4. Continue to checkout once you have reviewed your order. Here you will have to input your payment method, restate the delivery address, and review the order one final tuime.
  5. GrubHub also allows you to track the status of your order and its location, so if you enter your phone number, you can receive texts that update you on your order status.

Postmates

To order from Postmates:

  1. Download the app to your device and create an account to start; you’ll need your email and phone number to create a valid account.
  2. Enter the address for delivery, and Postmates will display restaurants you can order from. You can select the restaurant that you’re looking for and create your order.
  3. The app will display the delivery fee and estimated arrival time for each restaurant, as well as the address of the restaurant so you can double-check that it’s the right one.
  4. Choose your food and tap Add to put it towards your total; all items can be viewed by pressing View Cart.
  5. Once you have your meal selected, you can check out by entering your address one more time and submitting a payment form. You will be able to see your order status and track your order once it’s been picked up.

If unable to ordering food online and none of these apps are available, try curbside pickup

Sometimes these food delivery services aren’t available, or they might not offer the restaurant you’re craving. If that’s the case, no problem! Call your favorite restaurant or go online to their website to do an order for pickup. Each restaurant is different, so procedures for ordering curbside pickup will vary. But your restaurant of choice can tell you exactly how to order and retrieve your meal – without ever having to leave your car.