By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large
Once upon a time getting food delivery was only an option from fast food restaurants and local pizza joints.
If you didn't have time to dine in at non-delivery establishments, you would have to order take out and venture out to pick it up.
But if you are always on the go, having to take a break to grab a bite or to prepare a meal isn't always an option.
Luckily, restaurants that used to never deliver are partnering with third-party delivery services.
There are several pros to ordering through these services. The first one being that they are convenient. They offer online ordering and payment. Their systems are usually easy to navigate.
Not to mention, the most obvious pro, that your meal comes to you, so you don't have to leave your home, office or the location you are at.
However, the convenience comes at a cost. There are often delivery charges and minimums. You also have to tip the driver when or before they arrive.
Another con is that these services are not usually fast. They can take up to an hour to deliver.
The selection of restaurants is often limited too– depending on the area you live in, like if you are on the outskirts of Miami or Fort Lauderdale.
Nonetheless, these delivery services are filling a void in the market.
With that in mind, we decided to take a closer look at three leading third-party delivery companies in Miami- DoorDash, Delivery Dudes, and UberEATS.
The delivery service has a website that is easy to navigate. Like most of the third-party delivery websites, you have to enter your zip code to see what restaurants are in their database in the area. I selected a downtown Miami area code, 33130 and the list of restaurant available was almost excessive.
Some of the big chain restaurants available include P.F. Changs, The Cheesecake Factory, Boston Market, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Taco Bell. There are also local gems like 100 Montaditos, Beaker & Gray, GK Bistronomie, Bunnie Cakes, DB Bistro Modern, and La Moon.
There are over 190 restaurants available for the 33130 zip code. This makes the sorting function especially helpful. You can sort the restaurants by style of cuisine or by “deals.”
DoorDash has restaurants that offer delivery for only $0.99 cents (not including tip.) Besides these delivery deals, the delivery fee is anywhere from $2.99-4.99.
DoorDash also indicates the estimated time the delivery will take for each restaurant.
Once you make your food selection, you pay and have the choice to include a tip on your card. Pro tip: if you select the option to tip in cash, usually your delivery comes quicker.
You can also fill-out delivery instructions and schedule a delivery in the future. Then in 45-60 minutes your delivery arrives.
The Pros: DoorDash’s website and app are easy to navigate. There are a ton of restaurant options and the delivery fees are reasonable.
The Con: Most of the restaurants in DoorDash’s database deliver in 45+ minutes.
Instead of typing in your zip code, this service has you select from different areas, many of which in South Florida. Delivery Dudes is a good option, if you are on the outskirts of a bigger city– like if you live in Aventura, Plantation, Hollywood, or Coral Springs.
I selected Miami Beach and there are about 45 restaurants available, including BurgerFi, Burger & Beer Joint, DIRT, Miami Grill, Shake Shack, Spring Chicken and Yard House.
The website is easy to use, but isn’t as sleek as DoorDash’s. After you select your restaurant, you can pick your menu items.
At checkout, you have two options for the delivery fee. It’s $5 if you pay the delivery charge in cash and $7 if you pay on your card. The South Beach area no longer accepts full cash payments, so you have to use your card.
However, you don’t pay in advance. The delivery driver accepts your payment and usually has the Square card reader.
Then once you submit your order, your confirmation gives you a timeframe. It’s usually between 45-60 minutes. This is an estimate. I have received delivery orders in less than a half hour and some in an hour and a half.
The Pros: Delivery Dudes services more suburban areas and you don’t have to pay in advance.
The Cons: The delivery fees are pretty steep. Your meal will likely be double with the delivery charge and the driver’s tip. There are also limited options, especially in the more suburban areas and there are some minimums on orders at certain restaurants.
This service has you enter your specific address in order to see what restaurants in the area that they offer delivery from. I entered an address in the middle of Brickell with a 33130 zip code.
It’s not surprising that Uber’s food service app and website is user-friendly. UberEATS showcases its restaurants with imagery, while DoorDash and Delivery Dudes feature the restaurant’s logo.
There are over 100+ restaurants available for delivery in this area. UberEATS only displays the ones that are open. You can search for a specific cuisine or restaurant name, if you have something in mind.
Most of the restaurants are local concepts like Poke 305, Dr. Smood, Mario the Baker, The Cheese Course, Bachour Bakery & Bistro, and Pubbelly Sushi. In terms of larger chains, there are a few sprinkled on there with Moe’s Southwest Grill and McDonald’s.
Before selecting the restaurant, UberEATS offers valuable information like the price range indicated by a certain number of dollar signs ($,) the type of cuisine, and the estimated delivery time.
UberEATS by far has the fastest delivery times with some restaurants with a 10-20-minute delivery estimate.
Once you pick from the array of restaurants and add your meal to the cart, you can place the order. UberEATS easily syncs with your Uber account.
You pay in advance and there is a booking fee of $4.99. After completing your order, you are given an initial delivery estimate and then a menu appears with tracking information indicating the stage your delivery is at. Then a GPS map shows the distance from your house and the restaurant, along with the location of the driver and their name, rating, and contact info.
The Pros: UberEATS has the fastest delivery times available and impressive tracking system from when you order until your food arrives. It also syncs with your Uber app.
The Cons: The delivery charge is always $4.99. But like Uber, it’s not an expectation to tip though. UberEATS has sent emails with phrases like “Pay just $4.99 for delivery–there's no need to tip.” But if you’re like me, you may still want to give a tip anyways.