Photo credit: Michael Grand/StockFood
Some days you just can’t do it.
No matter how many articles you’ve read about throwing together ginger-spiced fried rice using drips and drabs from the pantry and fridge, or how delicious a four-ingredient crab dip might sound, sometimes nothing seems more pleasurable than having dinner arrive via the click of a button.
No judgment! (We love the button-click, too!) Here’s a brief walk through that very lucrative business, with a look at the major players:
Seamless. The Godzilla of online ordering pulls in $100 million annually and is the go-to of many major metropolitan denizens. It’s got arguably the best selection of restaurants, and its ads, even those that didn’t make the cut, are bananas in the best way. It’s available in 600 cities nationwide.
GrubHub Once a competitor, now merged with Seamless, GrubHub doesn’t have the sharpest visual appeal, nor does it have its sibling's foxy ads, but you’ll often find coupons kicking around your favorite restaurants (look near the checkout station) and online. It’s available in 40 of our great states.
Eat24: The company famously penned a breakup letter to Facebook earlier this week, canceling its page because they thought the site’s algorithm was hiding their posts from those who had liked their page. If you’re a Yelper, Eat24 is a good place to go; Yelp reviews are wound right into the user experience. Also: Its logo is red. We like red. Red will make you hungry. Smart move, guys. And here’s news to us: Eat24 works with “25,000 restaurants in 1,000+ cities,” which is double the number of restaurants that Seamless claims.
Foodler: Foodler is only in 12 cities so far, but it has a charming interface. Upon seeing your address, it will surface suggestions from multiple cuisines (Japanese, pizza, Chinese and Indian, among others), right alongside instant rebates (“20% off” was one we saw frequently) and star ratings (based on user response).
Your Phone: Really love your local? So much that you want them to be around for ages? If they’ll take orders over the phone or via their own site, it might be wise to do so: Seamless and GrubHub take about a 14% cut on every order. That’s a lot out of the restaurant’s pocket.
FreshDirect: Groceries may not have the immediate gratification of takeout or restaurant delivery, but you can order eight 1.5-inch porterhouses from this site by 8pm on a Thursday and have ‘em delivered to your office by 11am the next day. It’ll cost you about $400, but still. If that’s how you roll, you can make it happen. As long as you live on the Eastern seaboard, that is; FreshDirect is currently only a five-state delivery situation.
Peapod: Stop & Shop’s online site is the biggest Internet grocer in America, according to Businessweek. It is reported to be slightly cheaper than FreshDirect, and recently entered the double-parked NYC delivery market. That said, a cursory glance reveals that it’s slower on delivery than FreshDirect in some instances. (Our steaks couldn’t get here till Sunday; immediate gratification, denied!) Peapod has a broader reach than FreshDirect, and delivers to 15 states.
Your Local Grocer: Again, that whole picking up the phone thing—so retro!—may be in your best interest, here. Lots of local grocers, small and large, will do delivery. Just call. Speak to a human. You’re so 10 years ago! But it’s maybe worth it.