It’s hard to believe, but we’re more than six months into this pandemic. By now, many of us have adjusted to working from home and living almost entirely at home. For most people, that means eating every meal at home, too. Cities and towns across the U.S. are constantly updating and re-updating their rules on dining and drinking out. That has left many of us scrambling for our usual restaurant delivery fix. Thankfully, every major food delivery service is still operating, making it entirely possible to not leave the house (or your lounge pants) for the foreseeable future. Here are our favorite food delivery options:
This is not a service, per se, but it is the most direct way to get food while supporting local businesses. If you’re looking for your favorite burger, or pho, or whatever, call the restaurant (or check its website) to see if it is offering delivery. This not only gives you the food you want but helps keep your local places afloat.
- The good: Supporting local businesses in the most direct way possible.
- The bad: Many places may not be set up for delivery (or, depending on where you live, it may not be allowed).
By now, many of us have experienced the “COVID-15” (the dreaded weight gain resulting from spending far more hours indoors than we ever have). Getting back to eating healthy is one way to make sure it doesn’t get worse. RealEats is a food delivery service with a health-conscious bent. Nearly every dish includes a protein, a carb, and a vegetable, plus any optional add-ons. All require minimal preparation. They’re delivered in a sous vide bag, ready to be dropped in a pot of boiling water for around five minutes.
- The good: RealEats provides clear nutritional info for every meal, making it easy for those with food sensitives to steer clear of allergens like gluten, dairy, etc.
- The bad: The minimum subscription plan is a four-meal plan, delivered once weekly.
Postmates might make this whole pesky pandemic survivable. Customers can order just about anything — groceries, convenience store items, restaurant meals, and booze — and have it all delivered in less than an hour. With a Postmates Unlimited subscription, customers enjoy free unlimited deliveries for every order totaling at least $12. Considering many of us aren’t scheduled to leave the house until after Memorial Day, the service could pay for itself inside of a week.
- The good: Delivery of groceries, restaurant food, and booze in less than an hour.
- The bad: Nothing really.
Like Postmates, Instacart has been a game-changer for most of us. The all-in-one service puts delivery of your favorite stores’ entire inventory at your fingertips. From groceries and pharmacy goods to snacks and even alcohol, Instacart delivers it all. For anyone not planning to leave their house any time soon, the app makes it possible to shop for almost anything you might consume from the comfort of your couch.
- The good: Same-day delivery from more than 20,000 retailers in many U.S. cities.
- The bad: No restaurant food delivery.
Based on the size of its network, Grubhub is the undisputed king of restaurant food delivery. The site operates in more than 3,200 U.S. cities and includes nearly every major chain and many local eateries as well. Customers can choose no-contact delivery or opt to pick up their orders if they’d prefer to keep strangers away from their homes.
- The good: During the current COVID-19 crisis, the Grubhub Community Relief Fund is collecting charitable donations to support local restaurants and Grubhub drivers impacted by the pandemic.
- The bad: The sudden increase in business means your food might be cold by the time it arrives.
For lovers of dining out, DoorDash is another godsend. Depending on where you live, the app puts the menus of most of your favorite restaurants at your fingertips. Customers can quickly filter their options by cuisine type, price, and dietary restrictions (Like vegan or gluten-free). Many participating restaurants are offering deeply discounted or, in some cases, free delivery to bolster business during the pandemic. For just $9.99 per month, the DoorDash DashPass subscription guarantees free or reduced delivery fees for orders over $10.
- The good: Contact-free delivery from most of your favorite local restaurants.
- The bad: Because orders have skyrocketed in the last couple of weeks, some deliveries can take an hour or more.
Remember to be smart about wearing a mask and social distancing with your delivery orders. Apps like Grubhub and DoorDash have made “no-contact” the default delivery option. For those who haven’t, it’s wise to request it in the “notes” section of every order.
Also, many food delivery drivers earn little more than minimum wage. That pittance seems particularly egregious during a pandemic when they’re essentially risking their lives to deliver burritos and sushi. If you’re able, consider tipping well. No matter the size of the order, a $5 gratuity should be the absolute minimum. It’s the right thing to do.
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