CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Feeling too tired to cook a meal? Food delivery apps make ordering food easy, but what service should you use and where should you order from?

Food delivery apps make ordering from a restaurant easy. However, the cost might be higher than expected, especially for small, local restaurants and their delivery drivers, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

BBB offers several tips on how to support local businesses when ordering take-out:

  • Understand how takeout apps impact restaurants. Third-party delivery apps might seem simple because you order food, the restaurant makes it, the third-party app delivers, and you pay the fees for an additional service. But the process isn’t that easy. What you don’t see is the high commission restaurants pay to use these services. Some delivery apps charge restaurants up to 20 to 30% or even more. While revenue may grow for local restaurants through these apps, their profit margin will likely shrink. It’s not a sustainable business model for most mom-and-pop eateries. Also, some companies behind these services have been called out for deceptive sign-up tactics and questionable marketing practices that cut into restaurants’ profits even more.
  • Think about delivery drivers. Delivery drivers need to be treated fairly in this situation, too. These gig-economy apps generally offer drivers a minimum payout for each delivery they take on. Plus, they get your tip, right? Maybe. In the early days, many delivery apps used tips to make up the worker’s base pay, meaning it went to line the company’s pockets instead of your driver’s. Public outcry on social media caused most companies to change that practice, but not all yielded.
  • Watch your budget. If you plan your expenses with a budget, you should have a specific amount allocated for food and eating out. Using delivery apps could cut into that budget significantly. The New York Times reports that buying a meal through a delivery app can be up to 91% more expensive than simply going to the restaurant or picking up your order.
  • Look for better delivery alternatives. Delivery apps is one way to get food from your favorite restaurant delivered to your doorstep. Many restaurants still employ delivery drivers. In this case, ordering directly from the restaurant will save you money and give that local business much-needed support. You can also search for delivery apps with more sustainable systems in place. Some new apps ask you to pay a flat fee, enabling restaurants to keep 100% of their profits on each order.
  • Support local restaurants when you can. Often, local restaurants feel pressured to use third-party delivery apps and up their prices to cover the additional expense. Supporting local restaurants by ordering directly from their website and picking your food up can make a huge difference for a small business. In the long run, it can help them keep their prices down, which saves you money too.