- Third-party apps are an easy and convenient way to increase your delivery and takeout sales as convenience becomes a higher priority for consumers.
- DoorDash is the most widely-available app, serving over 7,000+ cities to cover 94% of the U.S. and 66% of the market share.
- Uber Eats has the most online resources available to make getting started easier if you’re new to delivery apps.
- Grubhub isn’t the most popular app with just 8% of the market share, but it might be a fit if you’re in New York City or other major cities where it’s most popular.
Restaurants are more convenient than ever with many offering delivery and convenient online ordering, and I know you want to be part of the 60% of full-service operators feeling the boom of growing delivery revenue each year.
There’s no doubt that delivery apps can increase your sales, and I want to help you choose the perfect partnership for your restaurant.
But, there are several providers with similar services and high commission costs that even comparing the big three (Uber Eats vs. DoorDash vs. Grubhub) is a headache at best.
Instead of playing hide-and-seek to find key features and guesstimating commission fees, I’m going to walk you through the most important data from each merchant app, as well as alternative solutions for commission-free delivery to make the choice a little easier.
Uber Eats: Best for Getting Started With Delivery
Uber Eats has significant brand power as a branch of the Uber ride-share company. It’s instantly recognizable after 10 years in the game and has built a catalog of resources for restaurant owners to get started without much trouble.
All of the apps include online guides to walk merchants through their storefronts and advice to increase sales or attract new customers. But I especially appreciate Uber Eats’ wealth of resources across platforms and formats, including its:
- Merchant Academy
- Resources for Merchants (YouTube)
- Getting Started with Uber Eats Orders (YouTube)
The mix of illustrated guides, quick-start resources and video tutorials openly available online make working with Uber Eats easier for merchants that are unfamiliar with third-party delivery apps, regardless of technical experience or learning style.
- Best for: new users and tech support.
- Most widely available.
- Extensive merchant resources in multiple formats.
- Strongest app design.
Uber Eats pricing is comparable to the others, with tiered commission rates topping out at 30% per order.
The app is doing pretty well for itself. It currently holds 23% of the delivery app market share and serves over 6,000 cities across 45+ countries. These self-reported numbers mean Uber Eats is available in more countries than either of the other apps, though it’s neck-and-neck with DoorDash for most U.S. cities.
This isn’t a huge consideration for most restaurants, but if you’re a large chain or franchise, that kind of national or global reach is valuable as you grow.
High commission rates aren’t the only way to opt into delivery. Learn how our online delivery service taps into the Uber Eats driver network for you, and all you pay is a monthly subscription fee instead of sacrificing your profit margins.
DoorDash: Best for Maximum Reach
DoorDash beats its competitors with the largest market share of the major delivery apps, reaching 94% of the U.S. population as well as 25+ other countries around the world.
Services don’t differ much, so I recommend DoorDash if you live in the suburbs or smaller cities where other apps might have limited availability or a smaller driver network.
- Best for: reaching your customer.
- Largest market share at 66%.
- Reaches 94% of U.S. consumers.
- Built-in Storefront feature for direct online orders.
Pricing is similar to Uber Eats, but DoorDash offers a few unique features.
All DoorDash merchant tiers include a Storefront benefit that allows direct online orders through an independent restaurant website, which they claim generates an average of 37% more orders per month. But you're still reliant on DoorDash to offer delivery.
Alternatively, you can set up your own online ordering system and tap into the DoorDash delivery network with On-Demand Delivery. This way you just pay delivery drivers a flat-rate fee instead of paying DoorDash commission rates on each order.
Direct online orders offer delivery from your restaurant website, so you don’t owe any commissions to DoorDash for the sale. That means more money in your bank with a simple flat-rate delivery fee.
You’ll also own your own customer data and build brand loyalty, since the customer is engaging with your site (including your logo, branding and photos) instead of the DoorDash app.
All of these features add up to significantly increase your restaurant’s visibility in-app and in online searches. That means more customers browsing your menu and placing orders.
And if popping up in more Google searches is important to you, check out our SEO guide for restaurants to learn more.
Grubhub: Best for Select Locations
Grubhub has the smallest market share of these apps at 8%. It isn’t as widely available as the other two apps, so I’d make sure your restaurant location is covered before you enroll.
- Best for: select cities.
- Priced by marketing fee with lower commission rates.
- Fewer features for lower-tier subscriptions.
Grubhub is mostly available in large cities with a focus on the east coast. Over a third (37%) of its 2021 deliveries were in New York City alone. I might opt for Grubhub if you live in the Big Apple, Boston or Chicago, but I don’t recommend it if you’re based somewhere like Colorado Springs.
In-app promotions are another way that Grubhub expands its app offerings.
Each of the big three apps encourages merchant promotions to attract new customers, and restaurants with a current deal feature a special badge or placement on an offers tab. Grubhub takes it a step further with a built-in loyalty program for returning customers.
And I’m not talking about Uber One or DashPass — the subscription-based rewards that these apps offer. DoorDash and Grubhub offer separate and free-to-use loyalty perks (aside from the cost of the promotion. That $5 off has to come from somewhere).
Grubhub’s loyalty programs are goal-based, so you can choose from promotions designed to increase sales, increase average order value or sell specific items. Then, Grubhub highlights your promotion to customers and includes your restaurant deal in Grubhub emails to drive more orders to your restaurant. Finally, Grubhub rewards customers with points they can save and use on future purchases
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to grow a customer base and keep new visitors coming back, but you don't have to rely on Grubub. Instead, you can own your loyalty program, offer custom rewards and keep all of your client data using Owner.com.
Cost is another strong selling point for Grubhub, with a lower delivery commission rate than the other two. But you’ll want to do the math because there’s more to cost than delivery fees.
While the other providers’ charge delivery commission rates for each order, Grubhub actually charges a marketing rate between 5%-15%. There’s a separate 10% delivery fee for all Grubhub drivers.
Basic members can launch their Grubhub menu with rates as low as 5%, but the lowest tier Grubhub programs have fewer big-ticket benefits than the other apps.
Online Ordering Alternatives for Your Restaurant
Third-party apps are well-known ways to find new customers and drive sales, but they’re not your only option for online ordering. In fact, the most successful strategies combine the power of third-party delivery apps and online ordering solutions like Owner.com.
Direct online ordering through your restaurant’s website means you own your sales from start to finish. There’s no high-cost commission rates, and you keep all customer data and loyalty earned with each transaction.
Online ordering is just the start. Owner.com also supports:
- Zero commissions with a subscription model that reduce costs to restaurant owners and customers who might otherwise be on the hook for service and delivery fees.
- Restaurant SEO to increase your site and menu visibility in Google search results.
- AI marketing solutions for custom promotions, smart upsells and email marketing.
- Branded platforms with an optimized website and personalized mobile app for your restaurant.
- Automated marketing and loyalty programs to keep customers coming back.
- Direct ordering so you own the sales process and customer data.
Incorporating all of these features on your site doesn’t just support your sales growth. It encourages a relationship with your customers since they’re going to your website and communicating with you directly instead of a third-party service.
Overall, a custom restaurant website and online ordering system is a great way to improve customer experience and make ordering easier.
If you’re looking for proof of how we can boost sales, just ask Phillip of Sushi Me Rollin’, who struggled with the convenience of third-party takeout and delivery for customers vs. the high third-party delivery fees that ate his profits. Read about how he worked with Owner.com to build a custom website, branded app and automated marketing strategy that increased his sales by $91,000, with an estimated $1,500 per month from marketing alone.
Get Delivery Without the Commission Costs
Third-party delivery apps, including Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub, are here to stay, and they each have their specialties. They’re a great way to increase your digital sales and visibility, but they fall short as a stand-alone solution.
A diversified approach with direct online orders and third-party support is the best way to increase your profits without cutting a massive monthly check to Uber Eats. Learn how a custom restaurant website can support your revenue goals and increase direct sales.
Frequently asked questions
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Their customer service is, bar none, the best and they’ve really helped with our success. In less than 5 weeks we have over $25,000 in sales and it’s the middle of winter not our busy season. I’m excited for the future and recommend it!
Adam Guild is the CEO of Owner, a restaurant marketing platform that makes online growth easy for restaurants.
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