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Ordering delivery? Compare fees, delivery times from different services with these apps

FoodBoss and MealMe can help you find which local restaurants are offering delivery and compare delivery times without opening different apps.

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Getty/Alexander Spatari

When you're ordering delivery, you might find yourself playing a familiar game: Toggling between apps such as Postmates, Uber Eats and others to figure out which has your favorite local restaurants, and which has the lowest delivery fee or special deal. But two apps called FoodBoss (for Android and iOS) and MealMe (for iOS) want to put an end to that cycle by acting like Kayak does for travel --letting you compare the different delivery time estimates and costs from multiple services side-by-side, without constantly switching between all of the apps. 

The FoodBoss app (and its browser version) launched in 2017, and aggregates third-party delivery services UberEats, Postmates, Caviar and Delivery.com into one place. More delivery apps will be added in the future, said CEO and co-founder Michael DiBenedetto. It's currently available in 55 metro areas across the US. 

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The FoodBoss interface.

FoodBoss

Meanwhile, the MealMe app just launched in March. It compares prices across DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, Postmates, Caviar, Waitr, Delivery.com and Eatstreet. Though it's currently only available on iOS, the company plans to roll it out on Android and the web later this year, according to co-founder Matt Bouchner. MealMe is available in every US city. 

Read more: Food and grocery delivery and take-out: Three meal-order rules for a pandemic

When you go to the web version of Food Boss, type in your address, and you'll see a list of restaurants and the delivery services they work with, along with estimated total fees (including delivery fees, surge pricing, service fees and taxes), and delivery time estimates. From there, you can filter results based on cuisine type, fastest delivery time or least expensive total fees. 

MealMe's app operates somewhat differently: Create an account, and the app will find restaurants near you, or let you search for the one you want. When you tap on one, you'll see which third-party delivery services work with that restaurant, and which is less expensive. When you tap on the option you want (say, Uber Eats) it will take you directly into that app. The app compares prices based on menu price inflation, delivery fees, service fees and surge fees, and simply tells you which delivery app will be the cheapest for you -- but doesn't include estimated delivery time or offer estimated fees. 

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The MealMe interface.

MealMe

Both apps have partnerships with the delivery services, so customers don't get charged anything extra for using the apps -- they're purely aggregators, the founders of each said. Which should you use? It depends: FoodBoss operates in fewer cities and has fewer delivery services to compare, but gives you more information in terms of fees and delivery time estimates, and is available on more platforms. MealMe includes all of the major food delivery service apps, and is available in more cities, but is only on iOS at the moment, and also gives you less information before sending you to the delivery app. Bottom line? It probably depends on where you live and what device you use. 

Both apps saw an uptick in traffic over the last two weeks, as more people began practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, and have been trying to learn what local restaurants are offering delivery, DiBenedetto and Boucher both said. 

"From our standpoint, it's about making sure consumers know the options for delivery or pickup, and can see what they want to order from their local restaurants," DiBenedetto said. "That's the best thing we can do right now in the cities we operate in to help local restaurants."

Minimizing contact with others is also key for reducing the spread of COVID-19 during this time, Boucher said. "This means getting food delivered to avoid going to restaurants," he added. "We help you to make an informed decision about which food delivery service to use." 

For more, check out CNET's Best food delivery service: DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and more compared, and The best meat delivery and subscription services in 2020