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Food Fight

Story: Sagar Amrania, Images: Moyu Konishi, Online Design: Madi Cano

Everybody loves food. Ask anyone and they’ll say food is what keeps them alive. In today’s world, restaurant choices are nearly endless and just as numerous are the ways in which that food can end up in your mouth. While the tried and true methods of walking into an eatery or calling your order in over the phone are still available, it is no longer 1982. With a bountiful number of food ordering apps available, consumers are no longer relegated to primitive ordering options. So, the questions arise: which of these is the best at getting food-stuffs into my stomach and, more importantly, are they worth my hard earned dollar? I decided to find out.

There are currently dozens of food ordering apps on the market, with appetizing names ranging from foodpanda to Foodler— after all whose mouth doesn’t water at the mention of delicious panda? Regardless of the creativity of the app names, many of them seem to share a great deal of functionality, in terms of restaurant choice and price. So I decided to take a look at three distinct options, which each provide a diverse array of options for the modern college student. Grubhub, UberEATS and Tapingo all look to serve a different segment of the ever-growing ‘refuses to move for food’ market by offering a wide variety of food options and price ranges.

First up, Grubhub, which offers a fairly decent mix of charming local eateries, such as Apollos, and soulless fast food corporations, like Subway. Delivery fees depend on the restaurant, which average at around $1.50 to $2.50, but can go as high as $5. To test out the service I decided to place an order at everyone’s favorite spot to forget about as soon as you walk past it, Pita Pit. The food arrived after about 20 minutes (19 minutes and 56 seconds to be precise) and was cold to the touch. But then again, it was cold when it was made, so in retrospect I probably should have ordered something hot for the sake of this article. Nevertheless, even though the delivery was fast and the prices were reasonable, I felt a strange coldness after the whole experience as if my soul had been put into the vacuum of space. I really should have ordered something warm.

Next, there’s the new kid on the block, UberEATS. Users are most likely familiar with Uber as the ridesharing company that gives lifts home after a night of hard studying. UberEATS provides a fair selection of restaurants most people likely never heard of, allowing one to indulge their inner hipster to their heart’s content. With a flat delivery fee of $4.99, UberEATS encourages experimentation among their roster of options. However, after my experience with Pita Pit, I opted for a restaurant that goes by the delightful name of Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken. The time from order to ingestion was just over 38 minutes; although, most of that period was spent watching the apps real time driver tracking, which gives the user a chance to satisfy their voyeuristic urges without feeling like a creep. When it did arrive, the food felt as if it come straight out of the fryer and needless to say, Uncle Nick did not disappoint.

Finally, there is Tapingo (pronounces tó-ping-o), an interesting hybrid app that allows users the option of ordering food for delivery or pickup. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the app is the food options, which includes on-campus food for pickup, and users can even add their BuckID as a method of payment if they are so inclined. Not wanting to relive the glory days of on campus eating, I opted to use their delivery service, the selection of which is limited, but it includes highlights such as Chipotle and Waffle House, for a $2.99 fee. Going with Chipotle, I was surprised at the delivery speed, which was seemingly faster than standing in line at the restaurant, after the food arrived in 31 minutes. There’s nothing really new I can say about my Chipotle experience, except I’m tired of being charged extra for guacamole.

At the end of the day, the almost overwhelming number of options and convenience of these apps make them a viable option for anyone. As for the question of value, it depends; for example, would one want to burden themselves with the delivery fee on a lovely summer’s eve? Not likely. But would one want delicious Greek fried chicken delivered to their doorstep in the midst of a snow storm? Absolutely.

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