One of the nation’s top mystery shopper companies analyzed the average delivery time from four major online services.

Mike Pomranz
November 16, 2017

For as much as online food delivery services feed into our primal desires to not have to hunt for our food, the added convenience of using a few clicks to get dinner sent to your couch comes with an unfortunate inconvenience… you’re never quite sure how long that delivery is going to take. And occasionally, it can take a frustratingly long time. So if you’re looking to prioritize speed, who should you turn to?

With that idea in mind, SeeLevel HX, one of the largest mystery shopping agencies in the country, had 1,400 of its sleuth shoppers order from four different delivery services – UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates – in five major cities (Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Dallas) in what the company calls a “first-of-its-kind national study.” Beyond just speed, the research looked at over 20 other aspects of delivery “including driver attentiveness, whether the hot food was still hot and much more.”

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So who came out on top? UberEats, which turned in a time nearly five minutes faster than the rest of the competition: 35 minutes, 31 seconds. Postmates came in second at 40 minutes, 12 seconds. DoorDash had an average delivery time of 42 minutes, 1 second. And Grubhub finished last at 50 minutes, 22 seconds. Of course, between UberEats in first and Grubhub in last, one huge difference exists: UberEats provides the restaurants with drivers and Grubhub typically does not. As a result, technically, it’s hard to blame Grubhub for its tardiness: Most of the onus falls on the restaurants themselves. Still, on the customer side, you don’t care who brings your food; you’d just prefer to get it as fast as possible.

Another interesting finding, however, is that despite being the fastest service, UberEats was actually late more than any other service: 29 percent of the time the driver showed up after the predicted time. Meanwhile, DoorDash was early or on time for 92 percent of orders. Postmates was late 24 percent of the time; Grubhub was late 18 percent of the time. The moral: If you don’t care how long your meal takes as long as it doesn’t take longer than they say, then apparently Postmates is your squad.