whet your “app”etite

Ready to take a break from the masking, sanitizing, shopping, and cooking – and the ho hum of doing that all over again?

You may want to consider using an “app” to easily order ready-to-eat meals with door-to-door drop-off from area establishments.

These app-based services will bring food, coffee, dessert and even alcohol to you from local eateries, and are just a few clicks away. These companies have responded to the health crisis by implementing safety protocols for contactless delivery.

You can access these services from your computer or choose to download the “app” to your smart phone, be it an iPhone or Android. To do that, go to the app store on your phone and search for one of the services named below. Then, download the app by selecting “get.” Once the app is loaded on to your phone, you’ll be able to scroll through all the restaurants that partner with that particular service. Select a restaurant, scroll through the menu, choose the items you want to order, securely check out, and wait for your delivery!
GrubHub offers delivery, but also lets customers pick up their own orders without a restaurant-set delivery fee. The final order amount may be adjusted as sales tax is calculated once the order is complete. Incentives to customers include discounts, special offers, and a paid membership that may offset the fees for frequent users.
Uber Eats is an extension of the popular ridesharing service Uber. They add a 15% service fee, and a delivery fee if there is a surge in local orders or the restaurant is far away. A small additional fee is charged for orders less than $10. The fees may be offset by promotions and special offers available through the app.
DoorDash works similarly to the other delivery services. This one charges a 10 to 11% service fee, and may also charge a delivery fee, depending on the restaurant, location and demand. If you expect to use the service more than occasionally, you may want to sign up for their paid subscription option called DashPass, which eliminates the delivery fee on orders over $15.

Delivery services often offer introductory deals and various discounts. Note that menu items may be priced higher for takeout than dine-in, which is a method some restaurants use to offset the fees charged by the delivery service. These services are essentially middlemen. If you are looking to support some favorite local restaurants, check if they have their own app or just call them directly as you would ordinarily do.

These apps aren’t just for millennials. So, if you’re not comfortable eating at a restaurant – even if it’s outdoor dining, you can still get some of your favorite dishes – even a Starbuck’s coffee – delivered right to your door.

And if you prefer to shop for groceries online… Instacart has gained even more traction as a premier shopping app during the pandemic. They partner with a wide variety of grocery stores and pharmacies to deliver what you need in as little as an hour. The list of stores you can order from include Stop & Shop, CVS, Costco, HMart, ShopRite, Staples, Balducci’s, Target, Petco and DeCicco & Sons, among others.

Your “personal shopper” picks up everything on your list and brings it to your door. (You can even become an Instacart shopper yourself in your spare time!) As an extra safety feature, select the “Leave at My Door Delivery” option.

Fees start at $3.99. Instacart Express is an option that lets members get free delivery on orders over $35.

As with many apps (including the meal delivery services), you can shop on your iPhone or Android phone or simply go to your computer (and sign up) and order from there. Who knew that shopping for your organic strawberries and laundry detergent could be so easy!

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