Third-party food delivery services are a convenient alternative to driving to a restaurant. These services are a blessing for folks in bigger cities, such as Chicago. In fact, food delivery Chicago services are the prime method of food delivery for the majority of Chicagoans due to the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns.
However, with so many delivery sites opening up, and various other ride-sharing and courier services offering restaurant-to-home delivery, it does raise the question of which one’s the best.
More importantly – which one to stick with during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Fortunately, Chicago is spoiled for choice and each service has something to offer the regular customer.
Uber Eats – The Perfect Food Delivery Chicago Service
Whenever I travel to Chicago and want some food delivered to my home or office, I know I can count on Uber Eats.
Uber Eats is by far the most efficient restaurant delivery service of all. I’ve never had any complaints regarding their quality of delivery.
This is no surprise really, since it’s owned and operated by the most efficient ride-sharing service in the world.
They even deliver food from more than one restaurant on a single delivery. Want an entrée from one place and a dessert from another? Uber Eats can get that for you.
The service has been successful in all major cities, especially with food delivery New York, LA, and, of course, Chicago.
Uber Eats also holds lots of promotional events, such as the recent virtual Chicago Restaurant Week, which boosted the exposure of 500 local Chicago restaurants.
This was to support places that were most vulnerable to revenue losses (such as small ice cream shops and new sushi bars) due to the in-person dining ban.
To top it all off, their restaurant network is expanding daily, with thousands of restaurants already on their platform.
Definitely my top overall pick!
DoorDash – A Worthy Alternative to Uber Eats
If you’re looking for another option for food delivery, DoorDash is a good Uber Eats alternative.
While Uber Eats is known for its efficiency, DoorDash has a fast-paced delivery system that makes them stand out.
What makes DoorDash a great option is that you can order from anywhere in the city, regardless of how far you are from the restaurant.
There’s no minimum order limit either. You can avoid unnecessary order filing and having to pay for what you won’t eat.
The service has a ‘leave it at my door’ option that’s set as the default for now – you don’t even have to come in contact with the delivery personnel.
On top of their delivery speed, DoorDash already has a ton of restaurants on its platform.
Whether I’m looking for some fast Los Angeles food delivery, a quick bite to eat in New York, or a full meal in Chicago – DoorDash is always a reliable option.
Top 7 Food Delivery Chicago Services
To help you get your food fix during the lockdown, here’s a list of the top 7 food delivery services in Chicago.
1. Uber Eats
Uber Eats is a dedicated food delivery service that operates throughout the US.
Its Chicago-specific network is super-quick, with residents receiving orders within minutes of dispatch.
This is ensured by the massive local network of independent delivery riders in Chicago, with extensive coverage in areas such as Lincoln Square, Wicker Park, Halsted, Avondale, and West Loop.
Other than being extremely convenient, it’s also very economical. Uber Eats used to cost $4.99 per delivery, which was changed in favor of a distance-based delivery fee.
Recently, Uber Eats waived fees for delivery from independent restaurants. Customers can look for independent restaurants in Chicago and other cities by selecting the ‘EAT LOCAL’ option on their app.
Overall, Uber Eats is a top-notch food delivery service that guarantees smooth and fast delivery, every time.
DoorDash is another well-known food delivery service that’s popular with Chicago natives due to its quick service and simple app interface.
As the name suggests, DoorDash specializes in fast home-delivery. However, it also features a pick-up option in case customers want to pick their meal up half-way, or even from the restaurant itself.
Customers who order via the DoorDash app can expect to pay between $1.99 to $4.99, or sometimes more in case of higher traffic and/or road closures in certain areas.
Considering the nationwide lockdown on dining in, DoorDash has added a large number of independent restaurants into its already massive repertoire in Chicago.
This helps local food places and smaller establishments gain more exposure during the crisis.
Overall, DoorDash is a great alternative to a restaurant’s delivery service, especially in busy cities like Chicago.
GrubHub is a Chicago-based food delivery and restaurant takeout service that’s one of the oldest such services in the United States.
Founded in 2004, GrubHub has since expanded its service to cover the rest of the country and delivers the same service flexibility everywhere. The service is a staple for Chicago natives, and it’s no surprise that the local delivery network is also better compared to any other city.
The delivery fee for customers varies between $1 and $10, with an additional $1-2 based on distance and various other circumstances.
What’s great about GrubHub, especially for Chicago, is that the service covers a ton of restaurants, big and small. Additionally, all meals are delivered with the same efficiency, be it a single burrito or several buckets of fried chicken. The service has had a few complaints with regards to their delivery ETAs. However, GrubHub has worked to improve its delivery process ever since.
Overall, GrubHub is great for Chicago locals looking for a quick food fix with a curbside pickup option.
Caviar is a high-end, fine dining alternative to the standard food delivery service in Chicago.
While it does offer delivery for regular food items, Caviar features mostly upscale dining establishments that don’t deliver or offer delivery via third-party services. This means that Chicagoans can get anything, from artisanal brunch tacos to fancy Italian entrees, from some of the best restaurants in the city delivered to their doors.
Caviar does cost a bit more compared to other services. However, this is justified by their delivery standards. Caviar stores the meals in high-end materials that maintain freshness. Furthermore, their delivery personnel is trained specifically to ensure the food doesn’t deform or get mixed up.
Several local restaurants have also adopted Caviar as their official delivery option.
Overall, Caviar is the ideal delivery service for someone looking for a fine dining experience in the comfort of their own home.
Postmates is a massive food delivery service that isn’t limited to restaurants, and offers delivery from convenience and grocery stores, as well.
Their service was built on the idea that customers should be able to buy cooked and uncooked meals, and even ingredients, from anywhere they can. While it’s not a shopping service per se, Postmates will pick your food up from any registered store that has an in-house restaurant.
Additionally, Postmates has partnered with several major convenience store chains to offer even more variety in food and beverage.
Delivery fees are between $0.99 and $9.99, depending on whether you’re ordering from one of their partner chains or not.
The service recently gained popularity with Chicago natives due to the service shutdowns all over the city. The all-inclusive delivery model by Postmates was welcomed by residents, and the company has since been working to expand its service umbrella even more.
Overall, Postmates is great for customers looking to get full meals, cooking ingredients, and even drinks delivered to their doorstep.
Seamless is a relatively new restaurant delivery service that has recently partnered with GrubHub to expand its network.
Much like GrubHub, Seamless offers a quick and easy checkout and fast delivery. However, what sets it apart is the streamlined user experience provided by the app. In essence, it’s a slightly fancier version of its parent company.
Their delivery costs are the same as GrubHub.
Because it runs on the same driver and logistics network as GrubHub, Seamless is basically an alternative for people who prefer a better-looking app.
7. Eat 24
Eat 24 is another GrubHub-owned meal delivery service with its own app design. It’s also one of the oldest such services, having launched back in 2004.
The site has a unique rating system that allows users to see how popular a listed restaurant is with people. This lets you gauge the quality of the food before you order. Ultimately, this is a great feature considering how restaurants are only operating via delivery nowadays, and a bad meal can mean even more of a bad experience than usual.
There have been some complaints about slower delivery as compared to other services. However, after the GrubHub partnership, their service has improved a lot.
Overall, Eat 24 is for people who like to know a restaurant’s reviews and popularity before ordering.
How to Choose the Best Food Delivery Chicago Service
When it comes to deciding what the best food delivery service is, the competition is close. The fees don’t vary too much (except for Caviar), and the drivers do their best to deliver as quickly as possible.
However, with frustrations already running high during the coronavirus lockdown, it’s better to have a food delivery Chicago service that will bring your food fresh from the restaurant, in record time, every time.
Each delivery service has some advantages over the competition, and it pays to know what to look for when searching for the best one.
The coverage area is always the first sign of quality. If a service covers a large area within the location-based radius of the customer, it means that they have a better, more efficient driver network.
Then there’s the issue of the internal software. You can usually judge the quality of their workforce management software by their app design and ease-of-use.
The service network is another important deciding factor.
Both Uber Eats and DoorDash have a huge network of delivery drivers and restaurants, which is perfect for a city like Chicago. The Windy City has over 7,300 restaurants and lots of places to choose from, including steakhouses, Mexican, Thai/Asian, and the traditional Chicago pizzeria!
Finally, it’s always better to choose a delivery site with an already established name behind it.
They’re sure to know the ins and outs of the delivery business due to their decade-long industry experience.
Regardless of which service you choose, be sure to satisfy all your culinary cravings from home for now!