Which Of These Five Food Delivery Services Will Dominate the Market?

By Ross Perkins, Foodable Contributor

Caviar. Seamless. GrubHub. Postmates. Even Uber is getting into the game. What game is that? Getting food from one location to your house.

Takeout delivery options are seemingly limitless. But even with all the players in the takeout space, the startups keep on coming. It seems every month brings a new take on the old concept of having someone pick-up an order from a restaurant and delivering it to some hungry consumer.

But with so many options available – depending on the market where the consumer lives –what are the best takeout options out there. Well, below is a non-scientific study on some services that are being used and will probably grow in their popularity. These newer services that are on the table (so to speak) will make sure that a hungry consumer does not go wanting for grub.

Many Options On The Table

Caviar: So this service is a bit different from some of the other ones because it selectively curates what restaurants will be included on its site. Or as Caviar advertises on its website: “Only premium food and premium delivery.” The service is only available in nine US cities –Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, LA, Manhattan, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC – so many smaller markets won’t be able to try it out for now. The service’s strength is that the restaurants included are some of the highest-quality restaurants in the service area. The downside is also its strength: Very often that greasy hole-in-the-wall won’t be available on Caviar. The service’s new app is clean, easy to navigate, and makes keeping those soon-to-be New Year’s resolutions much more difficult to – well, keep.

Seamless/GrubHub: These two companies are pretty much the same beast. As a matter of fact, when you go to the Seamless website, it includes the phrase “partners with GrubHub” just to remind users of that corporate connection. Now the strengths of both of these services are the sheer amount of places to order from. It seems like every restaurant I walk by in my neighborhood is on one or both of these delivery services. And because of the partnership between Seamless and GrubHub, there is a lot of overlap in each service’s offerings. And as far as their apps are concerned, Seamless offers a variety of filters – price, rating, ordering minimums, etc. – so users can hone in on what they want. GrubHub’s app doesn’t have the same navigational intuitiveness that its Seamless counterpart has.

Postmates: This service is a one-stop shop (of sorts) for both food and non-food-related needs. Postmates bills itself as more of a general courier service than a food delivery service, but when on the app, it seems that 4 out of 5 of Postmates’s offerings are food-related. The service is ideal for those who not only need some takeout, but who also need a courier to pick up a few things as well to make the dinner party a success. There is plenty of variety where Postmates is willing to go to get what consumers think they need.

Uber Essentials: And this one is a very new service offered by the more and more ubiquitous Uber. Uber has expanded its services globally to even medium-sized markets, and one of its newest features is Uber Essentials. The idea behind it is during non-peak hours, Uber drivers will be on hand to pick up items from stores, including the grocery store. The downsides – and there are many – are that the items available for delivery are very limited, the prices are set by Uber and not the store from where it’s purchased, and it doesn’t seem that drivers are really participating, at least in the DC market. I’ve tried several times to use the service, and it was to no avail.

A Little Disruption Is In Order

This round up only includes a few of the many takeout options available to consumers in mid- and large-sized markets. And even then, it’s certainly not a deep dive into delivery costs, service times, delivery range, and many other factors that are important to consumers. Some of the options that weren’t explored include Eat24, Takeout Taxi, Foodler, and just calling up the restaurant and placing an order.

This space has become too crowded with so many options. And like when there are other redundant businesses in the same industry, some services will either go out of business or be absorbed by a competitor. But until that’s all said and done, consumers have so many options at their fingertips to get their favorite restaurants’ food onto their tables.