5 Tricks for Ordering Online Food Delivery

Written by:

Adam Guild

Last Updated

October 18, 2023

As technology continues to integrate into our everyday activities, businesses have found more ways to make our lives as consumers easier. One such growing trend is food delivery. It’s become common to order food online and have it delivered instead of going into a restaurant and sitting down for a traditional meal.

This growth is mostly driven by millennials and younger generations who are reliant on apps and gig economy services. According to USA Today, recent research has found that 77 percent of millennials have used a food delivery service in the last 90 days, which is 26 percent more than all diners in the United States.

Getting food delivered is easier than ever, thanks to third-party ordering systems and apps like Menufy. Below are some of our best tips to make sure you have the best experience possible when ordering food.

1. Order Food Online Early so It's Ready When You Get Home

Many people use food delivery as a backup option when they don’t want to cook or are tired after work. However, if you plan ahead, you and your family won’t be stuck hungry and waiting around for your meal.

Order your food before you leave work for the day or while you’re waiting to pick up your kids from school or after extracurricular activities. Most food delivery services provide estimated delivery times. While these aren’t always accurate, they give you a good rough idea of when you can expect your food to arrive. If you know you’ll get home around 6:00, start looking for food to order around 4:45 or 5:00.

If you are worried about missing the delivery if it comes before you get home, you can prepare for that too. Leave a note instructing the driver to drop the delivery off on the porch if no one answers the door, or call or text your delivery driver to let them know where you are. Of course, no one likes waiting for someone to arrive, so make sure you agree to a delivery time that’s after you’re likely to be home.

2. Order Healthy Before You're Starving

Planning food delivery can also benefit your health. If you are trying to eat healthier or lose weight, schedule your delivery in advance by ordering before you are starving. The less hungry you are, the more likely it is that you’ll make a better food choice, like a salad or other lower-calorie option.

Ordering ahead of time also allows you to adapt to how long restaurants take to fulfill your order. If you know of a specific restaurant that has healthy options but usually takes longer than a fast-food business, you can plan accordingly by ordering earlier.

3. Leave Clear Delivery Directions

It’s crucial to make delivery as easy as possible for the drivers delivering your food. Leave clear directions during the ordering process in case the driver isn't familiar with your neighborhood. Include cross streets or details on how to identify your home easily (e.g., “on the corner with a red door”).

Delivery preferences are important to list as well. For example, if you have children sleeping and you don't want to wake them, leave instructions for the driver to knock instead of ringing the doorbell.

4. Prep Your House

It’s also essential to make things easy for your driver once they get to your house. Make sure there aren’t any obstacles preventing them from coming to the door (like pets, snow, trash, or other debris) and that the outside of your house is adequately lighted and easy to see. This helps the drivers find the correct address and make it to your front door quickly.

Drivers also want to feel safe when delivering, so proper lighting will ensure they know where to go and can see who is answering the door.

5. Always Tip

Most delivery drivers rely on tips to ensure they are making a decent hourly wage. Most food delivery services and apps allow you to tip when ordering or online after the order is completed. Drivers will also happily take cash, as this is instant payment, instead of waiting to be paid by the ordering service. According to Glamour Magazine, tipping 15-20% is standard for large food orders, such as several pizzas or bags of food for multiple people. It’s also polite to tip more if it takes more effort than normal to complete a delivery, such as during severe weather. For smaller orders, such as dinner for one or two people, Glamour says $2-4 is a good range.

Following these tips will help you do your part as a food delivery consumer. Being more aware of what to tip, how others can navigate to your home, and when you should order food online can help you have a better overall experience with your delivered meals.

This article was contributed by Jeremy Kuo, Co-Founder and Director of Marketing of Menufy, an online food ordering platform serving restaurants and their customers across thousands of US cities.


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About the author

Adam Guild

Adam Guild is the CEO of Owner, a restaurant marketing platform that gives restaurant owners online superpowers. See Adam’s best restaurant marketing tips here.

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