A meal ordered through a takeaway app can cost over £11 more than ordering directly from the restaurant, research by the consumer charity Which has found.
The survey said that usage of the apps had surged over the past year, having been fuelled by successive coronavirus lockdowns, with seven in 10 people using them at least once a month.
Prior to March 2020, the figure was six in 10.
But Which also found markedly higher prices for menu items within the app when compared to ordering directly from the restaurant. In some cases, the app was as much as £11.62 more expensive.
Its findings echoed BritShish’s #DropTheApp campaign from the first coronavirus lockdown last year.
Which found that a chicken shish at one Lebanese restaurant cost £12.95 when ordered direct, but £13.95 on Just Eat and Uber Eats and £14.95 when ordered through Deliveroo.
This difference in cost is down to restaurants charging more to claw back some of the money they pay out in commission to the apps – up to 35% of the value of the total order, the charity said.
Restaurant and takeaway owners told BritShish last year that commission rates demanding up to a third of every pound they earned was driving them out of business.
Some restaurants said they were serving almost as much food as they were before the lockdown, but complained that nearly all of it went through the middleman, meaning their income had been sharply reduced.
It led many restaurant owners to ask regular customers to order through them directly.
“We do urge our local customers to try and call us directly rather than go through the online platforms,” said the owner of one restaurant in Highams Park, East London.
“I know that it is a little bit difficult at the moment but it is probably the best and the cheapest way for both the business and the customer to do so.”
Yet delivery firms rejected owners’ appeals to temporarily lower commission fees for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.
In separate statements to BritShish magazine, the firms said their services provided different incentives to support restaurants through the pandemic.
The Which research also found that Uber Eats and Deliveroo, which have begun grocery deliveries, are also more expensive that buying from the supermarket directly.
“Next time you fancy a takeaway you should be aware that the undoubted convenience offered by a delivery app comes with a hidden additional cost,” Which said.
“Ordering direct from local restaurants is often cheaper, the restaurant will receive all the money and if anything goes wrong, it might be easier to resolve.”