Picking up your phone and actually making a phone call to order tonight's dinner is old school. Way old school. Apps are the future — they give you a convenient menu for all your favourite restaurants or cafes, and let you either order ahead if you're picking up a coffee or a snack, or include cheap and fast delivery. We seem to order a lot of fast food, so we've put together a very quick guide to some our our favourites.
AU Editor's Note: To the best of our knowledge, these apps all have a pretty decent coverage of Australia's capital city metro areas at the very least. If you're in Sydney and Melbourne, at least, these services should be just right for you. If you're in another area that's well served, let us know. — Cam
Menulog is the food delivery service that everyone seems to use. It has a massive catalogue of local restaurants, ranging from the small corner Thai takeaways to the larger venues that also offer sit-down dining. Menulog also encourages restaurants to offer loyalty discounts and first-time freebies, so if you eat at a lot of different places regularly you can stack up free food quickly.
Hey You is a godsend for the morning coffee fiend. It does an extremely good job of tracking your previous orders and making it easy to order them again, so it takes literally seconds to stab in your coffee and/or toast order as you're stumbling off the train towards your favourite cafe near your office. Plenty of places seem to use Hey You for both food and drinks ordering, although there's no delivery.
Foodora — previously known as Suppertime, if you've used the app before — sells itself on the fact that it isn't like Menulog and doesn't take a scattergun approach to food ordering and delivery. Its curated list of actual proper restaurants includes some pretty damn reputable names, and is responsible for the best delivered food that I've ever personally had — Mahjong Room in Newtown, if you were interested.
Skip is another one for coffee fiends. It's a Hey You competitor and its hook is that it makes ordering every bit as easy — even down to the super-simplified interface. If there's a cafe near you that always has long lines out the door when you're walking past, it's genuinely worth checking to see whether they have a listing in Skip that lets you duck past the unwashed masses and pick up some hot caffeine.
Delivery Hero is all about popular lunch and dinner choices — it's where you'd go to order from your local pizza place or that great Chinese down the road. Importantly, you can use Delivery Hero to order food which you can then pay for with cash at your doorstep, so especially if you're ordering for a large group or don't have a credit card, it's a little easier to manage than competitors.
Deliveroo lets you track your food in real time, and for the most part the app promises sub-30-minute delivery times, which helps it fit into tight lunch breaks and for you to time it closely with your commute home after a long day. Deliveroo's restaurant range is good, and its scooter and bike couriers are great at cutting through otherwise busy city traffic if you're stuck in the CBD.
We're always open to hearing about more interesting and useful food apps — we're very hungry people — so if you have a favourite, feel free to jump into the comments and let us know!