CHICAGO (CBS) — GrubHub, Postmates, Uber Eats, and other apps allow people to order food for pickup at their favorite restaurants, and avoid the lines. What you might not know is that the prices charged on those apps are often higher than what you’d pay ordering directly from the restaurant itself.
With a few clicks on a keyboard, or taps on an app, you can order food from hundreds of restaurants in Chicago. There’s no question delivery has a real cost, like labor and gas, but you wouldn’t think pickup should cost you any extra.
That’s not always the case.
The CBS 2 Morning Insiders checked prices for many of your favorite foods, ordering the same items directly from the restaurant and through a third-party site. We found they’re often different.
Take a large chocolate cake shake for carryout from Portillo’s in River North. It would cost $5.29 at Portillo’s.com, but $6.50 to pick up through DoorDash.
A 6-inch brisket sub from Subway would cost $5.79 for pickup directly from Subway, but $6.79 for pickup through Uber Eats.
At the McAlister’s Deli in Deerfield, a salad and spud combo costs $7.99 directly through their website, but $9.19 on Postmates, and $9.88 on GrubHub.
GrubHub told CBS 2 that McAlister’s Deli has since updated its pricing. The GrubHub price is now $9.19, the same as Postmates.
Some consumers called that a ripoff.
Uber said restaurants can set pickup prices on Uber Eats however they want, as long as it’s the same as Uber Eats delivery.
DoorDash has no rules about menu markups, but “strongly discourages it,” because it “creates a bad customer experience.”
Chicago-based GrubHub allows prices that “differ slightly” from their own pricing, as long as they match “other third-party platforms.”
“We’ve taken a very strong stance against this,” said Ray Reddy, CEO and co-founder of Ritual, another food ordering app.
Ritual requires restaurants to charge the same prices as if a customer ordered direct.
Reddy said it comes down to trust.
“No matter how they transact with the restaurant, they’re going to pay the same price,” he said. “Some people don’t mind paying a premium for convenience, but I think no one is okay with feeling like they’ve been treated unfairly, or sort of being misled.”
”You can recover from a lot of mistakes, but I think when you lose trust, that’s a really hard one to recover from,” he added.
Ritual takes its promise a step further. It actually rewards customers who point out pricing discrepancies, so they can be fixed.
Postmates never replied to a request for comment.
It’s worth noting CBS 2 did find examples where prices matched for direct orders and third-party apps. There were even a couple instances where outside apps offered a lower price.
The best advice when using an app to get food is to shop around to find out if you can save a couple bucks depending on how you order.