Uber Eats: What Is It and How Much Does It Cost?

FT Contributor  | 

Back in the day, delivery options were limited. You could order a pizza and have it delivered to your home, or you could opt for Chinese food. These limited delivery services were a lifesaver for people who were sick or too busy to cook or even go out to eat. But thanks to the internet and smartphones, you can now use Uber Eats to order food from nearly any type of restaurant.

What Is Uber Eats?

Uber Eats is a food delivery app. You’re probably familiar with how Uber’s rideshare service works, making it possible to order a vehicle to take you wherever you need to go. The app makes it simple to see prices, track your pickup and arrival time, and even handle payments and tips with just a few taps on your smartphone. Uber Eats works in a similar fashion.

How Does Uber Eats Work?

To use Uber Eats, you’ll need to download the mobile app. Once it’s ready to go, set up an account including your address and your payment method. There are a few payment methods you may use:

  • Debit cards;
  • Credit cards;
  • PayPal;
  • Gift cards;
  • Prepaid cards.

Once your account is set up, you can search for restaurants in your area, view menus and place an order. The app will also give you an estimated delivery time. Depending on your level of hunger, you can even sort the restaurant search by which one can deliver soonest.

If you have any food allergies or restrictions, you’ll be able to enter them in the special instructions window of your order. Once your order looks correct, select from your entered payment methods to complete the order. Track your meal’s progress in real time by watching the map or looking out for notifications.

How Much Does Uber Eats Cost?

The cost varies on what you order, where you order from, as well as the service and delivery fees. You’ll see prices and applicable taxes before you order, so you’re clear on how much your order will cost.

Keep in mind that the prices you’re paying for the convenience may add up. A reporter for the New York Times ordered a turkey sub at Subway. Purchasing it in-store would cost $13.21, including sales tax. Ordering the same sub using Uber Eats amounted to $25.25. That’s almost double the price you’d pay for takeout. Here’s how the delivery fees broke down:

  • Sub price: $14.78 (instead of $12.58 at the store);
  • Delivery fee: $3.99;
  • Service fee: $2.22;
  • Sales tax: $1.26;
  • Miscellaneous fee: $3;
  • Total cost: $25.25.

The steep price may be acceptable once in a while in the name of convenience, but making a habit of using food delivery apps could seriously impact your budget.

Where Is Uber Eats Available?

Before deciding to order from Uber Eats, you will want to make sure it is available in your area. Uber Eats is currently available in over 50 U.S. cities and growing, including:

  • Albuquerque;
  • Austin;
  • Baltimore;
  • Boise;
  • Boston;
  • Charleston;
  • Chicago;
  • Cincinnati;
  • Dallas;
  • Detroit;
  • Honolulu;
  • Houston;
  • Jacksonville;
  • Kansas City;
  • Las Vegas;
  • Los Angeles;
  • Louiseville;
  • Miami;
  • New York City;
  • Pensacola;
  • Pittsburgh;
  • Phoenix;
  • Portland;
  • Salt Lake City;
  • San Diego;
  • San Francisco;
  • Seattle.

The Uber Eats restaurant selection can be overwhelming in larger cities. Uber is adding a new feature called Top Eats, a collection of Uber Eats’s highest-rated restaurants, according to customer ratings. Restaurants that qualify for Top Eats will have the best track record of deliveries and customer service to ensure frequent Uber Eats users won’t be disappointed.

Placing an Order on Uber Eats

Placing an order is simple, although the first try may take a little extra effort to figure it out. Here is how to place an order on Uber Eats:

  • Open the app or visit the UberEats website;
  • Sign in or create an account;
  • Search for a restaurant;
  • Select your items from the menu and tap on “Add to Cart”;
  • Once you’re ready to place your order, select “Checkout” or “VIEW CART”;
  • Review your order;
  • Add food allergies or any other requests in the special instructions window;
  • Tap on “Place Order“;
  • Follow along to watch the progress of your order and listen for notifications on your smartphone;
  • Once your order is delivered, you can rate the restaurant and add a tip.

Tracking Your Uber Eats Order

Like many ordering services, you’re able to track your Uber Eats order. Make sure your mobile phone’s volume is turned up so you can hear when notifications arrive. Or, go into the app or website to track your order. To track your Uber Eats order:

  • Locate the receipt icon on the lower menu bar and tap on it;
  • Tap on “Upcoming” to find and choose your current order;
  • Select “Track” to follow your order’s status;
  • A map will appear to display the location of your order;
  • Follow along in real time as your Uber Eats order makes its way to your door.

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