Fast Food Chains Are Charging More for Delivery Items to Cover Costs


Even just a year or two ago, the idea that delivery orders from fast food restaurants would take off seemed hard to comprehend. After all, they’re all over the place, so why bother paying extra to have them come to you?

However, the past six months have clearly turned delivery into the lifeblood of many a fast food chain, with customers more than happy to pay a little extra to order their favorites to their front door. Now, however, it looks like some major players have surreptitiously raised prices for delivery of their menu items— even before factoring in fees and tips.

According to an analysis of fast food menu prices cited by Business Insider, the average list price for a fast food item is 15.3% greater for delivery than it would be for a pickup order. That markup was observed at Chick-fil-A, where a $3.75 sandwich in Atlanta became $4.85 for delivery. In New York, the difference between pickup and delivery prices was $1.56.

While Chick-fil-A’s delivery vs pickup margins were the highest, they were far from alone in setting disparate prices. Starbucks delivery items cost 20.3% more, and McDonald’s has a 19.6% delivery upcharge.

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If you’re looking for somewhere to direct your rage, blame third-party deliverers. DoorDash,GrubHub, and Uber Eats charge fees and commissions to the restaurants that add an extra cost to fulfilling an order that further erodes their margins. As the data suggests, a place like Chipotle can make less than $2 on a $20 order once costs and a delivery commission is factored in.

While there’s no real reason to feel all that sad for the major corporations who happen to be bringing in slightly less profit at a time when tens of millions of Americans are unemployed, there’s at least a certain (capitalist) logic to their thinking. On top of that, chains like Chick-fil-A with a high level of customer loyalty can get away with it because they know that chicken lovers are willing to pay a premium to get what they want.

So if you’d rather save yourself some money, just order for pickup. At the very least, it’s a decent excuse to get out of the house for a bit. 

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