Boston area delivery fees/services/platforms

Wondering what all you onions think about best platform for ordering takeout and delivery is these days. I was previously a Foodler user, and now use Grubhub although not all that frequently. I have heard the fees to restaurants can be quite high, but I also heard that Grubhub is temporarily suspending fees during the current COVID crisis. I admit, I hate calling in an order and having to spell things out and the chance of getting the wrong items, etc. But I’m willing to do it if you all convince me it’s better for the restaurant, as long as I can also call in payment. Also, does anyone know if fees vary for delivery vs pickup? Thoughts?

I can’t speak to what’s better from the restaurant pov – I’ve heard bad stories about all these services – but I do have some experience as a customer, mainly in NY:

  1. Almost all restaurants (in NY) have given up on their own delivery and have surrendered to these services. The days when you could call and have them send out their own person, with – as you say – an often quaintly incorrect order (they once heard my request for a pepperoni pizza as “peppers only”), seem over. That may or may not be true in the Boston area, and it may be different in the present crisis.

  2. DoorDash and Caviar charge a high “service fee” (15%) in addition to any delivery fee, tax, etc. . In NY, a $40 takeout order can cost you $52+, before tip. Grubhub (and Seamless) do not do this but the prices they charge are often higher than the restaurant does on every fish. The markup can be as much as $2 or $3 per dish.

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I just checked our order and the prices for Wang’s are the same on grubhub versus their own website. Haven’t checked anyone else’s but this is very interesting.

I don’t use these services too much normally as I think the various markups are ridiculous and people who I know in the restaurant business feel the model is neither good for them, nor financially sustainable. That I said I prefer Uber Eats as getting credited is automated and very easy to deal with when your food if late cold, incorrect etc. I find Caviar to always be an issue with the delivery window constantly sliding back.

Currently I am definitely not using any delivery services. I see no point in adding another link in the chain of how many people touch the food getting to me. I have plenty of time to pick up take out if I want it. Most restaurants have special menus or setups and it is easier to speak with them directly.


I think the issue is how much does the restaurant get from the food prices on the menu. Does doordash/caviar take some of the $$$ from the food prices in addition to the service fee?

I didn’t want more people touching my food even before the current situation, and I only used the services when I couldn’t get there myself to pick up the take out. We hope to do pick up ourselves now a few times as long as it is available.

I’m hoping Sarma does afternoon/dinner tomorrow, but given how they’ve been posting about availability, we won’t see it until tomorrow, possibly after they’ve done the brunch pick up. I hope Sarma continues but I don’t expect them to do so.

I’m actually talking about pickup, although all thoughts on the matter are welcome. I order via grubhub and then go pickup my own food. It’s just easier as my past orders are saved, I can re-create them, and click pay. Sometimes we’re on the road and getting food to pickup on our way back from a ski weekend- our old noisy car and Boston road noise has literally prevented me from being able to order over the phone by calling the restaurant in the past. Anyways, at this point if grubhub has temporarily suspended taking a cut from the order (regardless of pickup or delivery, I am assuming) I will continue to use it as my ordering platform. I wish there was more transparency about fees to the restaurant on all these services, though, so diners could make informed decisions.


We usually never do take out except for pizza. But I follow a lot of restaurants on Instagram/blogs, particularly ones in RI and Maine, and several are using Toast Takeout, which I think started out as a POS business.

A friend of mine’s husband was involved in Toast very early on (and might still be there) and although I know nothing about their model, knowing my friend, I have to believe that it was a much more small business amenable / less-gouging / more ethical product than other established POS which might extend to their takeout business.

We may think about modifying our takeout policy to support our local joints. Luckily, places like Home Taste and Sono Sushi are within walking distance. But not sure if a sushi joint can stay open in this time of corona. Gonna given them a try this week.

ETA: I explored Toast a bit and it looks like many well-liked places in GBA are using it for pick-up. I didn’t delve, though. I have to work. :expressionless:


This is the latest I’ve seen:

The short version is: “Grubhub isn’t decreasing or waiving commission fees”. It’s deferring marketing commission fees, but restaurants ultimately will have to pay those back as well.


This may be of interest: