Deliveroo rider

This week, Which? released a report on how much food deliveries costs on different apps compared to ordering directly from the seller.

No surprises, the apps cost more. But what was surprising was how much more.

In the case of Deliveroo, it was almost £12 more because the cost of the individual dishes were inflated and users had to pay delivery fee and service charge on top of that.

On UberEats and JustEat, you could expect to pay around £7 and £8 more respectively for that same meal.

The cost of individual dishes were inflated on all three apps, in case you didn’t know, because the apps also charge restaurants to use their service so many have to put up their prices to cover that difference.

Of course we know there’s a cost to this convenience but is it necessarily a bad thing? I would argue no.

While people often use the apps out of convenience, during the pandemic, that’s shifted towards necessity and I’ve personally experienced this.

Over Christmas I was unexpectedly self-isolating and had to order some groceries via Deliveroo because of the shortage of delivery slots and it’s the first time I’ve used it in a couple of years. The alternative would have been going without.

As it turned out, there were lots of issues with the order.

Several items that Waitrose sent were either missing, wrong or had been discounted as they were due to expire the same day, but I was still charged full price.

It was especially disappointing as I had paid a premium to buy from Waitrose precisely because I didn’t want a pre-Christmas delivery to go wrong knowing there wouldn’t be another delivery available for several days.

Deliveroo issued refunds very quickly despite the fact that the problem wasn’t down to them but Waitrose only offered smart quips across social media (which they’ve since deleted).

So here’s the thing: food delivery apps don’t just offer convenience, they also offer a vital service in some cases. And in this case, an extra layer of protection against grievances. For me, that’s worth paying a bit extra for.