If you're allergic to dairy, nuts, soy, or have celiac disease, dining out can be a challenge as it's hard to trust restaurants to prepare your food in a way that doesn't include the allergen you're trying to avoid contains . Add a grocery delivery app, like Doordash, Uber Eats, or Grubhub, to the mix, and it can feel like you have even less control over the food you order.
Here's everything you need to know about ordering allergy-free groceries through these grocery delivery services.
This is how food delivery services work?
Here's a quick overview of how meal delivery services like Doordash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub work:
- A customer orders food via the service's app
- The app processes the payment and sends the order to the restaurant
- The restaurant takes the order and prepares it
- The service provider sends a courier to pick up the order
- The driver delivers the order directly to the customer
Depending on the restaurant and the delivery service used by the restaurants, the restaurant may take the customer's orderdifferent ways. Food delivery services can deliver orders directly to the restaurant's point of sale(VAT)system, or the restaurant can take the order via an app, email, or even an automated fax and phone call.
This is great news for anyone with food allergies! Why? Some customers may find it harder to trust these food delivery services when they feel like the delivery drivers are the ones taking the order on their behalf. (Before I knew it, I also thought delivery drivers took orders). But the drivers don't order!
When you place an order through the food delivery app, your order goes straight to the restaurant as entered in the app.The restaurant receives all the details of your order. In a way I could see that this was almost better than trying to order in person at a restaurant while having to speak out loud over all the noise and waiting for the cashier to hear you that you have a severe food allergy.
Here's how ordering allergen-free groceries via grocery delivery apps works
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California and there are many excellent restaurants that cater well to food allergies. I've used the Doordash, Grub Hub, and Uber Eats apps in a few different locations in the Bay Area to see how easy it was to find allergy-free meals near those locations.
I have found that just relying on menus and the information provided in apps is not enough to ensure your order is allergen free.I found that the Uber Eats app had more features to help customers with food allergies, but the app still didn't provide all the information needed to completely avoid allergens.
Look for allergen-free foods in apps
All three apps let you search for allergy-free foods by typing in phrases like “dairy-free,” “milk allergy,” “peanut allergy,” “gluten-free,” and so on. Regardless of the app, search this wayI do not golimits the results displayed to only restaurants that cater to that allergy, nor does it limit the menu items displayed to foods free of the allergy you are trying to avoid.
For example, when I searched "peanut-free" or "peanut allergy," I found a bagel shop that offered a bagel with peanut butter. In another instance, when I searched "gluten-free" in one place, all three apps showed a nearby Dunkin Donuts as an option, even though the only thing Dunkin Donuts has gluten-free is coffee. Personally, if I wanted coffee, I wouldn't type "gluten-free" into the search bar.
A second key point when searching for allergy-free foods is that none of the apps list all the ingredients in the menu items that appear (there's really no place to list all the ingredients in the app). If you don't already know the restaurant and each menu item, you won't know if the food is safe for you just by looking at the app.
Even if you search for hypoallergenic foods, restaurants that appear in search results often do not indicate that they offer hypoallergenic foods, nor are menu items marked with tags indicating whether they are hypoallergenic. Uber Eats' results were better at reporting allergens compared to Doordash and Grubhub, both of which gave very limited indications of what was allergy-free.
Indicate your food allergy in the Special Instructions section
Grocery delivery apps have a "Special Instructions" section that you as a customer can fill out before placing your order. Entering your food allergy in this section is an additional step you can take to reduce the risk of your food containing the allergy.
Looking through the apps, I noticed that DoorDash and Grubhub were more likely to have "Special Instructions" sections than Uber Eats, but DoorDash sometimes tells you after you click "Special Instructions" that your restaurant of choice doesn't accept it. Special Instructions.
As a customer, you also need to be smart about using special instructions in combination with what you are ordering. If you order a cheeseburger and note in the special instructions that you're allergic to dairy, you'll likely still get a cheeseburger, or the restaurant might call you and ask why you ordered cheese if you have a dairy allergy.
Even if it's a restauranthe doesAccept any special instructions through the application of your choiceit is notan indication that they can take your food allergy into account. Some restaurants do not have good allergy management policies, so writing down your allergy may not affect your order! In some cases, you may also be charged for adding instructions, so be careful.
Uber Eats has the most features to cater to allergy-free customers
Uber Eats has gone to great lengths to make its app as allergy-free as possible. This can be seen in some places in the app, but in other places it does not offer any great customer benefit.
I mentioned earlier that Uber Eats doesn't often show the Special Instructions section, but it does existAllergy InquiriesSection for some restaurants which is even better for those with food allergies. This section appears at the bottom of the screen for the menu item you selected and only appears if the restaurant has opted to accommodate food allergies through the app.
If the Allergy Inquiries section is available, you will be able to select which allergens you would like to avoid and have the option to leave a note along with your allergy choices. Uber Eats says that if the restaurant cannot accommodate your allergy request, the restaurant must notify you directly.
Uber Eats also offers allergen filtering options. In the top-right corner of the Uber Eats app, next to the search bar, is a settings button you can tap to open filtering options. If you scroll to the bottom of the filter options, under the "Nutrition" heading, you can select the following options;Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, halal and hypoallergenic.Of course, this doesn't cover all food allergies, but we'll get to that in a moment.
Restaurants can choose to be included in these diet filters, but no matter where I tried these apps in the Bay Area, there weren't any restaurants that showed up in the "Allergy" filter, and the gluten-free filter only had one number limited number of restaurants. Vegans and vegetarians had more options at all locations than the allergy and gluten free filters.
Of course, restaurants just didn't choose to be sorted into these nutritional filters. There is a dedicated gluten free restaurant very close to one of the locations that didn't show up when I selected the gluten free filter in the options but did show up when I typed "gluten free" in the search bar. This particular gluten-free restaurant also doesn't state in apps that any of their menu items are gluten-free.
My biggest hit when searching for allergy-free foods on the app has been searching for "dairy-free," "peanut allergy," and so on. It gave me more results than the diet filters and was more likely to show restaurants that had an allergy inquiry section.
Directly researching allergens this way also helped me find some restaurants that labeled their menu items with allergen information like "dairy-free." This is a big step forward for allergy sufferers! However, searching for food allergies in the Uber Eats app hasn't yet limited the results to restaurants that might cater for allergies.
Here's a screenshot from the Uber Eats app showing a restaurant that has marked its menu items as gluten-free and dairy-free:
Do your own research before ordering via delivery service apps
Even with Uber Eats' allergy filters, the best way for customers to ensure their meal is allergy-free is to do their own research before placing an order through their favorite grocery delivery app.
I polled the Celiac Subreddit (a subreddit is a forum within the Reddit platform on a specific topic) to see if subreddit members feel safe about getting food via Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, or other food delivery apps order. The result surprised me a bit:
- 30% of respondents would feel safe using or using food delivery apps
- 37% of respondents do not feel confident using these apps and prefer to order in person
- 33% of respondents do not feel safe when eating in restaurants
I was very surprised that a third of the respondents did not feel safe eating out, as I thought a larger percentage would eat out. I was also surprised to see that about 1/3 of people trusted delivery apps.
Many people commented that they would only use the apps to order from restaurants they already trust. I didn't include this as an option in the survey, but I think if I had, more people would have chosen that option (only order from restaurants they already trust) rather than the opt-in option of apps in general feel safe.
Because apps like Doordash, Uber Eats, and Grub Hub deliver your order to the restaurant exactly as you enter, but don't provide enough information to determine if the restaurant's food is safe,Doing your research and knowing your options ahead of time is the best way to determine if it's safe to order through these apps.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure the safest food experience possible when using grocery delivery apps.
Make sure the restaurant knows how to safely handle food allergies
If you're new to the restaurant, spend some time finding out if it's safe to eat there and learn about the precautions they take to manage food allergies. A good place to start is to call the restaurant directly, explain your food allergy, and ask what they will do to prevent your food order from becoming contaminated with allergens.
When I order from a restaurant for the first time, I also read other people's reviews specifically about how the restaurant handles their food allergies. For those who are gluten free,find me gluten freeis a great website and app that allows you to read reviews and view reviews from other gluten free people who have eaten at the restaurant.
Determine which menu options are hypoallergenic
Because food delivery apps aren't good at telling you which menu options are hypoallergenic, you need to know in advance what you're going to order.
You can always call the restaurant and ask what options are hypoallergenic, or sometimes restaurants even have a gluten free menu or similar for other allergens. Searching Google or the restaurant's website are also great resources to learn what hypoallergenic options restaurants offer.
Notify the restaurant that you will be placing an order
Before placing your order through your app of choice, call the restaurant in advance to let them know your allergy needs and what to expect from your order.
This is a really good idea, especially when there's no way to specify your allergy needs in the app when ordering, but in any case, notifying them in advance and explaining your situation will only make it safer for you.
Whenever possible, note your food allergy in the app when ordering.
While it's not always possible to write down your food allergy or food handling instructions, if you can, it's another step you can take to ensure your safety.
Contact the restaurant after placing your order.
Whether or not you called the restaurant before ordering using the food delivery app, you can call them after ordering to confirm your order is correct and the food is being handled safely.
You can't be too careful when ordering food. I know it can be a lot of work to research restaurants ahead of time and call them to review their allergy management policies, but eating safe foods is worth it.
To help ensure that food reaches Uber Eats users safely, you're encouraged to seal packages in tamper-evident packaging ahead of delivery.Which is cheaper Uber Eats DoorDash or Grubhub? ›
DoorDash is one of the cheapest online food apps. Their fee is usually around 20 percent of the total order amount. A GrubHub fee can grow as high as 30 percent, and an Uber Eats fee ranges from 30 to 40 percent.What is better Uber Eats or DoorDash? ›
On average, Uber Eats has faster delivery times than DoorDash. The average delivery time for an Uber Eats order is 30 minutes, while the average delivery time for a DoorDash order is 40 minutes and 12 seconds. My own personal experience definitely backs this data up.Which is cheaper DoorDash or Grubhub? ›
In general, Grubhub is the cheaper option. This is because you only pay the delivery fee set by the restaurant; you don't have to pay any additional fees to Grubhub itself. With DoorDash, in contrast, you pay a delivery fee to the company as well as a service fee to the restaurant (in some cases).Is DoorDash food supposed to be sealed? ›
Do not open sealed bags. If you receive a sealed bag, both customers and restaurants require that you do not open the package - even to check the contents. If you want to verify the order, confirm the name and its contents with the restaurant staff.Why did I get a $9.99 charge from DoorDash? ›
It's possible that they used your card to place an order with their own account. If the bank statement says DoorDash DashPass or DashPass then it is a charge for our subscription service. You can verify the same by opening Manage DashPass Banner and check Billing History.How much does DoorDash charge per mile? ›
The delivery fee is dynamically calculated using the distance between pickup and dropoff. Deliveries within 5 miles incur a base rate of $9.75. For deliveries beyond 5 miles, the fee is an additional $0.75 per mile up to a maximum of 15 miles.How do I avoid DoorDash fees? ›
DoorDash Launches a Monthly Subscription Service That Lets You Avoid Delivery Fees. If you order food at least three times a month, the DashPash membership pays for itself, the delivery service says.Does DoorDash take cash? ›
Cash on Delivery is a DoorDash product offering that allows merchants to accept cash as a form of payment for their orders.What happens if you schedule a dash and don't do it? ›
What happens if you schedule a dash but don't end up doing it? DoorDash will cancel a shift if you don't log in within 30 minutes of the scheduled start time.
- Don't Skip Weekends. ...
- Try To Get Tips From Customers. ...
- Look For Peak Pay. ...
- Work In Busy Areas. ...
- Double-Up On Delivery Apps. ...
- Save Money On Gas. ...
- Know When To Cancel Orders. ...
- Set Daily Income Goals.
DoorDash Service Area
DoorDash also has full coverage in the U.S. Unlike Grubhub delivery partners, Dashers don't have regional restrictions. They can Dash wherever they want as long, as they're able to complete their orders in the required time.
As we have stated before, it is a custom in the United States to tip workers that bring you food 15% to 20%. If you think that a particular Dasher did an excellent job and the food delivery was incredibly fast, you might consider tipping an even higher amount.How much do you tip Grubhub delivery? ›
If everything goes smoothly with your delivery and the weather is good, 20% is the standard cost of having the mealtime brought to your doorstep. Never tip less than five bucks, though.Can you just leave the food at the door at DoorDash? ›
Now when you place an order you'll see a Drop-off menu at checkout with Leave it at my door selected by default.Do you just leave food at door DoorDash? ›
You may see customers ask for “no-contact", “contactless,” or “leave at my door” deliveries. Q: How do I complete a “no-contact” delivery? A: You can complete a "no-contact" delivery by following the instructions below: Agree on a safe, secure, and clean location to place the food.Do door Dashers touch your food? ›
Doordash directs its drivers to not open food containers or tamper with the order in any way. If a customer suspects food tampering, the company states it will deactivate the driver's account.Can Uber Eats drivers see the tip before they deliver the food? ›
Can I see how much I was tipped by a specific rider or customer? To protect your customer's privacy, you'll be able to see the tip you receive on the trip receipt but will not see that individual's name or photo.Should I always tip Uber Eats drivers? ›
While tipping is never required, you can add a tip as an extra way to thank your delivery person for their efforts. For feedback regarding items in your order, you can rate the order and merchant.What is tipping etiquette for Uber Eats? ›
A good rule to use when tipping your Uber Eats driver is to give them at least a few dollars (18-20% of your food bill) as a starting tip and then add on money for extra services.
$5 discount only available at checkout when (1) using the World or World Elite Mastercard via DoorDash wallet utilized to enroll in the Mastercard DashPass free trial or Chase DashPass free trial or (2) using the DoorDash Rewards Mastercard utilized to enroll in the DoorDash Rewards Mastercard DashPass free trial.Why do I have $5 credits from DoorDash? ›
Starting April 1, 2022 Sapphire Reserve and J.P. Morgan Reserve card members enrolled in DashPass will receive $5 per month in DoorDash credit. If the credit is not used within the calendar month, it will be carried over for a maximum of 2 months.What is the 1.50 fee on DoorDash? ›
DoorDash, for example, added a $1.50 “regulatory response fee” to Philadelphia orders during the pandemic. Fees, which vary by restaurant, time of day, and other factors, add up.How much can you make doing DoorDash 40 hours a week? ›
DoorDash reports that average drivers make $25 an hour. This means if you work 40 hours a week, which is considered full-time, you would earn $1,000 before tax.How do I get higher paying DoorDash orders? ›
High-earning Dashers make more money while dashing by accepting and completing more orders! Consistently, the Dashers who accept and complete the most orders are the Dashers who earn the most. The busiest areas are marked in red on the map of your Dasher app.What is the highest paying DoorDash driver? ›
While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $59,000 and as low as $17,500, the majority of International Doordash Delivery Driver salaries currently range between $33,000 (25th percentile) to $42,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $50,000 annually across the United States.Why is everything so much more expensive on DoorDash? ›
It's possible. Many restaurants and eateries list the price of menu items higher on delivery apps like DoorDash. They do this to help offset some of the commission fees. That means you may be paying a higher price for your food than if you were to order directly from the restaurant.Who pays for DoorDash mistakes? ›
If an item is reported as missing or incorrect by a customer, DoorDash may issue refunds and/or credit to customers on your behalf. You as the merchant may be charged a fee to cover a portion of the cost to reimburse the customer for the missing or incorrect order. These fees are known as order error charges.Do you tip DoorDash? ›
Tipping is expected every time you order delivery from DoorDash. The company's couriers — known as Dashers — can be likened to waiters and traditional pizza delivery drivers in that they're providing a service on top of the restaurant preparing your meal. In return, it's common courtesy to provide a tip for their help.Do you pay DoorDash with cash or card? ›
What forms of payment does DoorDash accept? DoorDash accepts cash, credit cards, debit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal and gift cards on delivery orders.
The short answer is no, DoorDash does not pay for gas for its delivery drivers. In fact, none of the top delivery services (think: Uber Eats, Instacart, Grubhub, or Shipt) cover gas for their delivery drivers.What happens if you are late for a dash? ›
Per their Independent Contractor Agreement, Dashers agree to complete deliveries in a safe and timely fashion. Dashers who repeatedly arrive at the merchant or customer significantly after estimated arrival times are eligible for deactivation, as noted in our updated Service Provider Platform Access Policy.Is it better to DoorDash by time or order? ›
Q: Why did DoorDash launch this? A: Earn by Time mode provides Dashers an even more reliable way to earn while dashing. Dashers who choose to earn this way get the most out of their time on the road, while customers in their city receive their orders faster, improving the experience for all.What is a red card DoorDash? ›
The Red Card is a prepaid card that Dashers use to pay for some (but not all) DoorDash orders. Each Dasher receives a Red Card during orientation or when they receive a Welcome Kit. Note: Your earnings will not be deposited on the Red Card, and it is not linked to your bank account.Who pays more Uber Eats or DoorDash? ›
Although Uber Eats earnings per trip are 18% higher compared to DoorDash, DoorDash drivers complete 1.5 trips for every trip completed by an Uber Eats driver. To learn more about doubling up on DoorDash orders, check out the video Driving For DoorDash (15 Expert Tips For Beginners) by Your Driver Mike.How much do Uber Eats drivers make before tips? ›
This is often what helps drivers determine if they'll take an order. On average, Uber Eats drivers make $10 an hour without tips, so they rely on the tips to make more money. Will an Uber Eats driver not take an order if there's no tip? A driver may skip an order if there's no Uber Eats tip.Can you make a living off Uber? ›
According to Salary.com, Uber drivers in the U.S. make a median wage of $38,002 per year — but how much you could make depends on your location and the times you're available to drive.Which app is better than DoorDash? ›
We have compiled a list of solutions that reviewers voted as the best overall alternatives and competitors to DoorDash for Merchants, including Swiggy, Uber Eats for Business, Zomato for Business, and GrubHub.What is the busiest day for DoorDash? ›
Weekends are naturally busier for DoorDash drivers than weekdays because more people order out on the weekends. Like the best times to DoorDash, it's best to focus your time during lunch or dinner to make the most money, but there's one exception. You might make great money delivery late on Friday or Saturday nights.Does DoorDash pay for waiting? ›
No. Doordash does not pay wait time. If it is an extraordinary wait, a dasher can contact dasher support and ask them for extra pay and they may add a few dollars. Again though, it would have to be a very long wait for them to consider paying you anything extra.
Base pay will not change based on the customer tip amount. For information about how base pay works when Dashers earn by time, see here.Is $5 a good tip for delivery? ›
What's the Standard Tip for Delivery? Unlike tipping a waiter, there isn't a "standard" tip for delivery. Matt Maloney, co-founder of Grubhub, suggests a minimum tip amount of $5 or 20%, as long as the service was good.Is it ok not to tip DoorDash drivers? ›
Eventually the payout will be high enough for someone to accept, but it might take awhile. So if you don't mind waiting a long time for your food, go ahead, dont tip, but if you want your food hot and fast, tip the customary 15–20% of your bill.Do you tip furniture delivery if you paid for delivery? ›
Tipping for furniture delivery is not expected, but is appreciated. If you tip furniture delivery drivers, they'll certainly appreciate the gesture. However, tipping is not required nor commonly expected for this service.Do Grubhub drivers know if you tip before delivery? ›
Yes, Grubhub drivers are able to see their total payment amount they will recieve for each order, which includes 100% of the diner's tip.Is it ok to not tip Grubhub drivers? ›
Do You Have to Tip Grubhub Drivers? There is no requirement to tip your Grubhub delivery person when you order from Grubhub, but it is encouraged. Although the drivers receive base pay from Grubhub, tips make up the bulk of their income.What is the food packaging for Uber Eats? ›
The Uber Eats delivery bag is made from made from over 50% recycled paper as well as high quality, sustainably sourced raw material. Featuring a paper twist handle, these bags are strong and can carry up to 10kg.Do door Dashers tamper with food? ›
No. Door dashers are not allowed to tamper with your food for any reason. They are trained to handle every order carefully and are expected to keep your food safe and fresh. If you find that your food has been tampered with, you should contact DoorDash customer service immediately.Can Uber Eats drivers refuse? ›
If you decline a delivery request, that request will be re-assigned to another nearby delivery person. We recommend that you only go online when you're ready to accept delivery requests.Do you need your own bag for Uber Eats? ›
While some food delivery companies provide bags to their people, Uber Eats does not. You can purchase a bag with the company logo from the Gear Store or pick up one on your own from elsewhere.
Delivery people suggest an insulated bag to promote food safety and proper handling of orders. Deliveries by bicycle may benefit from a more specialized bag to protect food from movement and weather conditions. But people delivering using the Uber Eats app are not required to use insulated delivery bags.
The new Uber Eats offering will feature snacks, pantry items, over-the-counter medication, alcohol, cleaning supplies and other everyday essentials. Uber Pass and Eats Pass members will get free delivery on orders over $15. Gopuff says orders typically take between 20 and 40 minutes to deliver.How do you tell if your food has been tampered with? ›
- When opening a container, carefully inspect the product. Don't use products that are discolored, moldy, have an off odor, or that spurt liquid or foam when the container is opened.
- Never eat food from products that are damaged or that look unusual.
In fact, Doordash tells you as much. As independent contractors, Dashers have the right to decline any delivery opportunity offered to them; however, by accepting an order for delivery they are agreeing to complete that delivery. What is this? A company cannot legally control the work of an independent contractor.What happens to door Dashers who don't deliver food? ›
A: As with all deactivations, deactivations based on Never Delivered orders are permanent. If you are deactivated and you believe you have been wrongly deactivated, your deactivation email will include details regarding how you can appeal.What is tip baiting Uber Eats? ›
What Is Uber Eats Tip Baiting? Tip baiting is when a customer leaves a tip with the intent of enticing a driver to accept their order, then removes the tip after the order is delivered. By doing this, the customer gets their order delivered to them quickly and saves money by not tipping.What happens when you don't tip on Uber Eats? ›
So, they do get paid if you don't tip, but they won't be bringing home nearly as much. Just as restaurant wait staff and bartenders consider tips a significant part of their pay, Uber Eats drivers do, too. They work hard to provide excellent service and should be tipped by their customers.Why would I get denied for Uber Eats? ›
Any serious criminal charges that are still pending. Multiple moving violations or accidents in the last 3 years. Driving with a suspended license within the last 3 years. Any serious driving violation, such as DUI, reckless driving, or hit and run, within the last 7 years.Do I need a hot bag for DoorDash? ›
In order to ensure standards of food safety, merchants may require all Dashers to have an insulated hot bag during their deliveries. You may use any hot bag of your choice. To get a DoorDash hot bag, you can purchase one online at www.doordashstore.com.How much does Uber Eats pay? ›
Uber Eats drivers can expect to make an average of $17.31 an hour, according to Indeed. Depending on how many deliveries you make per week and the hours worked, that could pad your income. However, you also need to consider mileage, insurance and how much gas you're consuming.
Uber Eats independent contractors are allowed to decide whether to accept or decline any delivery offers. In fact, Uber Eats can not legally make you accept any deliveries. They also can't require you to accept a given percentage or acceptance rate.