We compare food delivery apps to find which is the best.
Gone are the days when pizza was the only player in the delivery game. Now you can open an app and get Chinese, Indian, burgers, Malaysian, or even a steak, direct to your door. We trialled five food delivery services – Delivereasy, Flamingo Food, Menulog, Regulr and Uber Eats – to find which will give you the best experience.
We made orders from each food delivery service. We then ranked each on a scale of A-F for the following aspects.
To assess selection, we entered central city addresses and noted the available restaurants. This isn’t necessarily what will be available further out in the suburbs, but it indicates the breadth of a service.
It’s not always possible or profitable for a business to do delivery. In these cases, click-and-collect has become an option.
There’s a range of options when it comes to how businesses run payment for click-and-collects:
There are also sites, such as Menulog, that offer an ordering system similar to delivery apps, but the delivery is handled by the eatery.
Ease of use: B
The New Zealand-based company delivers in 12 cities (with a list of suburbs covered), though Auckland is a notable omission.
The app and website are identical. They don’t have a filter function, but they have search bars to find a particular type of food or restaurant. Our tester found the website and app easy to use.
You can only pre-order food for same-day delivery. Once you have an account, you can link your credit card to it or enter your details each time. The cost is better than some other delivery companies.
Delivereasy lacks a formal route for complaints. The delivery person will text you if the order is late. We found a lot of variation in the state of the food when it arrived. It wasn’t clear which orders had been transported in an insulated bag.
Ease of use: B
There’s no doubting how slick the Uber Eats app is. However, our tester became “lost” quickly when trying to change the delivery address and only found how to order in advance by accident.
You can schedule an order up to a week in advance. The app will store the order and send it through to the restaurant 10 minutes before your scheduled delivery time.
Uber Eats delivers to 6 cities, but doesn’t specify which suburbs it covers.
The app is based on Uber’s ride-share service. You’ll get notifications sent to your phone as the order progresses and, once your food is picked up, you can watch the delivery vehicle on a real-time map.
Uber Eats requires linking your account with a credit card or your PayPal. Uber does charge more than other delivery companies as they charge a higher fee to restaurants.
If anything goes wrong, Uber Eats has several ways to complain. After a delivery you can rate and tip the driver and rate each item you ordered. You can also message the driver during the delivery or send a complaint to Uber.
Ease of use: B
The selection on Menulog isn’t very diverse, but it has the advantage of being available in outer suburbs, where other services aren’t.
The app works well, though we had an issue with descriptions of food and portion sizes.
Menulog is a portal for restaurants, rather than a delivery service. So while you use Menulog to order, the eateries set their own delivery fees and minimum order values and handle delivery. For example, when we ordered, the delivery fee on the app and restaurant’s own website was the same ($7), but the website had a higher minimum order ($40 vs $25 in the app).
Ease of use: D
Regulr is an app for click-and-collect orders as well as delivery, depending on the business. The app has been retooled to add in pickup times and delivery addresses.
The app shows you a list of eateries, ordered by how close they are to you using the location from your phone. It’s the only app we tried that allows for alcohol deliveries from local breweries.
Billing happens each week on a Sunday, like running a tab at a bar. This reduces the number of transactions for the businesses, keeping their costs a little lower.
While we had no issues ordering, we have heard from many users that the app is troublesome.
The app is unusable if you don’t give it permission to know your location, as it will list every eatery across the country that has signed up with no way of narrowing down by region or city. There’s also no search function and you can’t narrow your search by type of food (for example, Chinese), only type of venue (for example, café or bar). The interface is confusing, with many users complaining you can’t delete single items from an order (you can, it’s just not very clear how).
When making an order it’s not immediately clear that you need to add information such as your name or address as a note. You can only sign up via a Google account, which could be a problem if you don’t want to link to that.
Ease of use: F
We don’t recommend using this app.
The Flamingo scooter company has diversified into food delivery via scooter. It’s not the most efficient delivery method and it only really works for places that are close to your home.
According to its website, orders are: “collected and delivered by our delivery team on Flamingo scooters. They wear insulated delivery backpacks to keep the food warm and secure.” We were unable to verify if the food came via scooter in a backpack. We ordered pizza and it arrived in an acceptable state.
The app is confusing and difficult to use. Most alarmingly there is no way to view past transactions and no obvious avenue for complaints.
While reliability is a major factor for consumers when ordering food online, it became apparent that reliability is a random variable. There are several factors at play – from how busy the restaurant is to whether there are drivers in the area, or what traffic conditions are like.
This isn’t to say these services are unreliable. We had deliveries that arrived ahead of schedule and with the food in excellent condition.
Any issues we had with the delivery services were just a result of the chaos from trying to get hot food from one part of town to another.
Mistakes happen, but when you’re hangry, waiting for food, you need to be able to deal with those mistakes.
With Uber Eats it can be done in the app. There are steps to lodge your complaint. This can be done during delivery as well. After your order you can rate the driver, and each item in your order, with a thumbs up or down. We complained about a $160 pizza delivery and received a $10 credit. Outside of this trial, we had orders partially and fully refunded due to extreme lateness or missing items. The refunds are always done as credit and don’t take longer than a day or two.
Delivereasy has a catch-all support email. This system isn’t efficient. We had a delivery arrive without some items, so we contacted them. It took almost a week and multiple reminder emails to get a refund, which came with a code for $10 off our next order. The refund went back directly onto the credit card we paid with.
Services that are a payment-and-ordering system rather than a delivery service, such as Regulr, say to deal directly with the restaurant –similar to what you’d do if there was an issue with a purchase on TradeMe. One dinner order we put through was late, but the restaurant texted twice to update us on this and offered a free bottle of Coke as an apology.
Some food just travels better. Our trial found:
Something that didn’t factor into our assessment is delivery vehicle. Uber Eats delivery people can use a car, bike, motorised scooter or motorcycle, while Delivereasy only uses motorised scooters and motorcycles. Cars need more room to park when picking up and dropping off. This can be an issue in areas where there’s not always a convenient place to stop, or where there’s higher-density traffic.
Flamingo Food’s idea of using electric push scooters does cut down on congestion issues, but severely limits the delivery area.
Uber Eats allows drivers to deliver from one restaurant to multiple locations. However, if you’re the last place to get a delivery, it could be a long wait for your food.
Rather than being a flat fee, delivery fees for the services depend on where you live. A delivery to Newtown in Wellington may have a fee of $7 added to it, while just down the road in Island Bay, you’d be charged $10. There’s no strict per-kilometre charge, it’s based simply on your suburb.
Services that deal directly with the restaurant can waive the delivery fee if you order a certain value of food. However, they also have minimum orders.