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Delivery-App Smackdown

Does it matter which online or app-based delivery service you use? We conducted an experiment at our office in River West, placing three sets of simultaneous orders using three popular platforms. The results were enlightening.

 

Caviar

DoorDash

Grubhub

Saigon Sisters


Order:Hen House banh mi, beef pho
Placed at:1:05 p.m.
Timeliness: ★★★★
(out of four stars; estimated arrival: 1:30 to 1:41 p.m.; actual arrival: 1:36 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★★
A graphic on the site showed our meal’s progress, and we could track the delivery via GPS.
Order condition: ★★★★
The banh mi was crispy and the pho broth was steamy.
Timeliness: ★★★
(estimated arrival: 1:37 to 1:47 p.m.; actual arrival: 1:42 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★
Regular updates via the site were reassuring, but once you’ve enjoyed GPS tracking (see Caviar), it’s hard to do without.
Order condition: ★★★★
No issues.
Timeliness:
(estimated arrival: 1:50 to 2:00 p.m.; actual arrival: 2:15 p.m.)
Communication:
Cutesy status updates included crystal ball references and liberal use of the dancing-girl emoji. But what’s the emoji for “Your food will be late”?
Order condition:
A delay meant cold pho and two minutes of microwaving.

Union Sushi + Barbeque


Order:Cauliflower skewer, dragon roll
Placed at:1:07 p.m.
Timeliness: ★★★
(estimated arrival: 1:55 to 2:05 p.m.; actual arrival: 1:55 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★★
The driver fired off a text to tell us he was coming in record time, but he still finished second.
Order condition: ★★
The roll was banged up, as if it had flopped around in transit.
Timeliness: ★★
(estimated arrival: 1:55 to 2:05 p.m.; actual arrival: 2 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★
The driver courteously called as he was rounding the corner onto our street, giving us a head start to the building’s lobby and saving precious minutes.
Order condition: ★★★★
No issues.
Timeliness: ★★★★
(estimated arrival: 1:52 to 2:02 p.m.; actual arrival: 1:50 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★
That crystal ball’s estimate was on the money. (Insert thumbs-up emoji here.)
Order condition: ★★★★
The sauce drizzle on the roll still looked pretty, thanks to our driver’s careful bag handoff (supporting in on the top and bottom).

Curry on Fire


Order:Gobi Manchurian (fried cauliflower), butter chicken, garlic naan
Placed at:5:35 p.m.
Timeliness: ★★★★
(estimated arrival: 6:10 to 6:20 p.m.; actual arrival: 6:10 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★★
A happy and blessed moment: getting speedy delivery and a heads-up call that the food was on its way.
Order condition: ★★★★
Because the order arrived so quickly, the exterior of the fried cauliflower was as crisp as dine-in.
Timeliness: ★★★
(estimated arrival: 6:20 to 6:30 p.m.; actual arrival: 6:22 p.m.)
Communication: ★★★
No complaints, though the driver did go a little overboard with the update texts (one will do).
Order condition: ★★
The difference 12 minutes makes: The cauliflower was slightly soggy compared with Caviar’s near perfection.
Timeliness:
(estimated arrival: 6:45 to 6:55 p.m.; actual arrival: 7 p.m.)
Communication:
We got repeated texts that our food had been delivered. Thing was, it didn’t come for another 20 minutes.
Order condition:
The long wait led to depressingly steamed veggies. At least the naan was good!

The verdict? Caviar is tops in speed and communication, DoorDash mostly gets the job done, and Grubhub is, well, good with emojis.

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