A food delivery service is not just for college students or parents who are rushed to put food on the table after a busy day at the office. It can be very useful for seniors too!
Seniors often find themselves homebound due to failing eyesight, difficulty maneuvering a vehicle or other issues. They have to rely on relatives, friends, or taxi services to get where they are going. When combined with other health and mobility issues, this can make things that were once very simple, such as going to the grocery store, more difficult. It can be almost impossible to make a quick run to the store or to get carry-out, too. Seniors who discover that they are missing an ingredient may have to change their dinner plans, and some may even have to discard food they have already started cooking because they can’t complete the meal.
That is why many seniors are now taking advantage of home food delivery programs. These delivery services deliver food from local restaurants, so all you have to do is decide what you want, place the order, and answer the door when the service arrives.
If you are a senior who finds it difficult to go grocery shopping or have a relative who may benefit from this type of service, you might be surprised how many local home food delivery services are in your area. Each one is a little bit different, so figuring out which home food delivery service is right for you can take some time. To help you make this decision, here are the pros and cons of some of the most popular delivery services.
A review of food delivery service options
Grubhub is currently available in more than 400 different cities, and it’s expanding. This service works with hundreds of different restaurants, delivering fresh food directly to your door. You can order via an app on either your Android or iOS device. It is very easy to use, and you can quickly search restaurants, look at menus, and make your order without needing to be a computer expert. If you are not smartphone-savvy, Grubhub also offers customer service via phone. If you are out and want to grab dinner, you can also place an order for take-out through the service. The app includes coupons and discounts, too, plus an order tracker lets you see where your order is at any given time.
If you want dinner, but also need to stop by the store for tissues, shampoo, and a few other necessities, Postmates has you covered. This service will purchase anything you need from any store. Your Postmate can go to the auto store for oil, the grocery store for food, the pharmacy for your prescription, and the restaurant for your meal. No senior should be without this service since it covers so much. They deliver at all hours of the day and night, too. Simply put what you want on your Postmates shopping list and pay the small delivery fee. If there is an issue with your order, your Postmate will text or call you for additional information. Postmates operates in a growing number of cities.
Delivery Dudes is another great food delivery service, but they do have one major downside: currently, they only operate in cities in Florida, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Nashville, Tennessee. While the service does hope to expand in the future, it is currently not an option for everyone. Delivery Dudes does not have an app, either–the service is only available through their website. There is a delivery fee, although it is less if you pay in cash rather than by debit or credit card.
Seamless, which was originally called SeamlessWeb, offers food delivery services in several dozen U.S. cities and London. The service mainly operates in large cities and metro areas, and it has over 7,000 partner restaurants. These restaurants typically don’t offer their own delivery services or want to be able to offer delivery to larger areas. The Seamless app is available for Android, iOS, and Blackberry. It offers a number of nice features, including a favorite restaurant list and the option to save your orders for quick order later.
Foodler connects customers with partner restaurants for quick and easy food delivery. What sets Foodler apart from other services is its list of restaurants. While many of the other apps work with chains or big-name restaurants, Foodler primarily partners with bistros, cafes, and other small restaurants that don’t offer delivery. Foodler also does not add any delivery fees and can often offer discounts that make it a more attractive service than the competition. If you frequently order from Foodler, you can also join their rewards program and earn points towards a free meal.
Hungry at 3 am? Many seniors do find themselves sleeping less as they age. Eat24Hours can be perfect for those who have a craving late at night when most other delivery services have stopped running. With more than 400 cities in their network, Eat24Hours is also available in areas where many other food delivery services are not. If you have any problems with your meals, you can contact their live customer support service. The mobile app is available for Android, Blackberry, and iOS. This app allows you to pay via PayPal, too, so there is no need to even enter a credit card number.
Delivery.com is another well-known option that is available in more than 50 cities in the U.S. It’s also available in some other countries as well. The service has a catalog of almost 10,000 restaurants you can order from, so you will have a great selection of different meals. You can search by restaurant name, rating, cuisine type, distance, or even the minimum delivery amount. You can include special instructions for the restaurant, plus save your meals to quickly re-order later. You earn rewards points for every order, too, that can be redeemed for gift cards.
DoorDash promises to have your delivery to you within 45 minutes at the most, so it’s good if you are hungry and want to eat quickly. The service is available in a limited number of areas, though, including California, Chicago, and Boston. You can schedule your order for the future, so you can order your dinner early in the day and the service will submit it to the restaurant at the time you specify. You can track your order and contact a live customer service representative at any time. The service does support ApplePay, too, for those who have the iPhone 6 or above.
Amazon Prime Now
If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you may want to take advantage of their new Amazon Prime Now service. While it is only available in about a dozen metro areas, it does promise to deliver your food within an hour, and delivery is free. Like Postmates, Amazon Prime Now also lets customers order groceries, household items, and other essentials. While delivery for these items is still free, there is a two-hour guaranteed delivery window rather than an hour.
The biggest downside to Amazon Prime Now, besides its limited availability, is that you do have to have an Amazon Prime account, which currently is $99 a year. This account does include a number of other benefits, though, including free shipping on all Amazon.com orders.
The Munchery app is a bit different in that it is more of a meal-prep delivery service than a restaurant delivery service. However, unlike services such as Blue Apron, there is nothing you have to prepare. All you need to do is put one of the Munchery meals in your oven or microwave, set it for the correct time, and your dinner is done. You can order meals on-demand or subscribe for scheduled deliveries. All of the meals offered through Munchery are healthy and made with fresh ingredients. Everything is fully cooked and then chilled so it is as fresh as it can be.
Munchery is a nice option for seniors who don’t want to have to make an order daily but still need to have their meals delivered. Unlike other services, these meals are delivered fresh the day you order them or have them scheduled for delivery. You can even set a recurring order, which is great for seniors who want fresh meals daily, but may not be able to cook like they used to.
Tapingo lets you create food orders, customize them, and then submit them to a number of local restaurants for fast delivery. It also offers a pickup service, so seniors who have relatives on the way can submit orders and have their family member pick up dinner before they arrive. The app provides users with a number of different ways to pay, has a quick re-order feature, and has a number of filters to make it very easy to find the food you want. The app also has a PIN feature for additional security that prevents accidental ordering.
Snapfinger provides delivery from a number of popular restaurant chains. The service is available in more than 2,500 cities across the U.S. Your orders go directly to the restaurant and the service at the same time, so your food can begin being prepared as soon as possible. Snapfinger provides a number of discounts and other promotions, too, plus ordering is free. You can save your favorite meals for quick re-order, choose your delivery time, and pick up meals as well as have them delivered.
Restaurant finding apps
There are some services out there that help users find restaurants that they may not necessarily know about. However, they don’t offer delivery. What these apps do help with is finding new places to order from that do offer delivery or that are included in other apps. These products include Crave.ly and Flavorit.
Crave.ly prides itself on showcasing hole-in-the-wall restaurants and other local eateries that you may not otherwise know about. Flavorit, on the other hand, offers ratings and helps users decide if a place sounds good or if they should avoid it due to low ratings. For those who are just looking for delivery services, these apps and others like them won’t help that much. However, if you are looking for somewhere new to eat, you may want to give them a try. The places you find may even have delivery options.
Alternatives outside of the U.S.
While the above options are mainly aimed at seniors living in the united states, there are a number of home food delivery options in other countries. Just Eat, for example, is a great food delivery service in the UK. Hungryhouse is another UK food delivery service. Menulog offers a similar service for those in Australia (and, in fact, is owned by Just Eat). Knowing that there are options out there for seniors who enjoy traveling can be very helpful.
Foodpanda is an international food delivery company that works with hundreds of different restaurants. It’s available in 28 different countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, Jordan, and more. In some countries, Foodpanda is promoted as Hellofood, but it is the same overall service.
How to get started
Getting started using one of these services is very simple, although there are a few things you do need to have that some seniors may not. Most of these services do require an internet connection of some sort or a smartphone with a data plan. Some of the services can be accessed via their webpage, but some of them are app-only.
This means that you or the senior in your life will need to have a smartphone. Some older individuals may be a bit hesitant to learn a new type of technology at their age, but they may be quite surprised at how easy it can be. Others may need to stick to options they can order online from a computer or laptop. For those whose eyesight makes it difficult to use a phone, a tablet may be a better option.
There are a few services that do have the option to call in orders, but it does help to be able to view menus and potential restaurant options before calling and placing an order.
If you have a smartphone or computer access, getting started using a home food delivery service (or even several services) is very simple. For smartphones or tablets, all you need to do is download and install the app. For computer users, you can visit the service’s website.
Most services give you the option to save the debit or credit card information you have used if you chose to pay by one of those methods. This will make it much easier when placing future orders because you won’t have to type in the information again. This is especially helpful for seniors who do not have steady hands and may need help tapping the small numbers on the phone’s screen.
Ready to start using a home food delivery service? Here are a few tips to get you started.
* Try a few of the apps to see which one you like the best. Some have interfaces that are easier for seniors to use.
* Look at the restaurant options for the apps. If you find that one doesn’t offer delivery from your favorite places, try another.
* Don’t hesitate to contact the service’s customer support if your order is wrong, cold, or otherwise not what you wanted. You would tell the waiter about such issues if you were dining in, so don’t let the fact that it was delivered dissuade you from pointing out problems.
* Ask other people for their opinions on these services. You may find that other seniors have found one service fits their needs better than others.
* Take full advantage of coupons, discounts, and loyalty rewards. Many of these services offer these discounts.
Our next post will deal with:
* Services that deliver the ingredients for cooking at home
* Grocery delivery services
More about food and nutrition: