Diners unaware of rip-off charges with food delivery apps

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TRUSTING diners are being hit by hidden costs when using food delivery apps – with almost half totally unaware of the additional charges they are racking up.
New research commissioned by hospitality technology firm Grafterr, has revealed that 43% of restaurant customers don’t know they’re paying substantially more when ordering their favourite takeaway on popular delivery apps.
Now the firm has revealed the full extent of its research with 2000 restaurant customers, while also sharing a series of tips for those keen to avoid the worst fees.
Andrew Gibbon, Chief Operating Officer of restaurant technology specialist Grafterr, which commissioned the research, said: “Online food aggregators continue to be the most popular method of ordering a delivery across the UK.
“Yet these findings show there is a huge gap in consumer awareness of the costs increases.
“We believe it is vital for customers to understand that they are always paying more to have food delivered than they would if they were dining in at the same venue.”
He also outlines some shocking examples from the High Street, where customers can end up paying 90% more than they need to when having meals delivered via apps.
Examples include the popular Big Mac meal from fast food giant McDonalds. In-store diners will pay £5.69 for a medium meal, but when ordering the same meal via Deliveroo, it’ll cost £9.58 – a 68% increase.
However, the additional charges don’t end there, because customers will still have to pay extra delivery charges, taking the cost of the Big Mac meal to £11.07, meaning the total amount paid is almost doubled (+95%).
Customers of Five Guys also face hefty fees for deliveries. A Bacon Cheeseburger in-store will cost £12.15, but to get the same item delivered can cost up to £16.29, a 34% increase.
Grafterr found the hidden fees for the Five Guys burger also vary according to the delivery app used:
  • Deliveroo: £14.80 (£16.29 inc delivery)
  • UberEats: £14.98 (£15.22 inc delivery)
  • JustEat: £12.95 (£14.24 inc delivery)
Despite the scale of the extra fees being imposed on customers, the survey found that most diners (75%) actually expect to pay LESS when ordering a delivery compared to dining in the same restaurant.
Andrew from Grafterr added: “Despite what customers expect, businesses continually price their online menus higher than their in-store equivalent to help absorb commissions charged by the delivery platforms.
“This is before additional platform fees, service fees and delivery costs are charged to the consumer, all of which can increase your bill by up to 90% in some instances.”
Consumers are not the only ones concerned about rising costs driven by these platforms. With commission rates reaching up to 30%, hospitality venues are finding it increasingly more difficult to deliver savings to their customers.
In 2023, KFC made the controversial decision to leave Deliveroo due to rising commission costs, highlighting the wider impact on both consumers and businesses.
As well as revealing its survey findings, Grafterr has also offered a series of tips for customers on how they can avoid the worst add-on fees to get the best possible deals:
  • Order directly with the business through their own online platforms, avoiding additional third-party costs.
  • Dine in where possible.
  • Order and collect in-store for smaller orders to avoid service, small order and delivery fees which can add 25% on to the cost of the meal.
  • Sign up to the mailing list for each delivery platform. They often send out discount codes which can reduce the cost of your meal. For example, UberEats has been known to regularly send out 50% off promotions.
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