DoorDash vs. Uber Eats: Who wins the food delivery war?
There are countless players in the food delivery industry, from Grubhub and Postmates to unique restaurants like Domino’s Pizza. But only two have remained top contenders on the App Store and elsewhere over the past year: Uber Eats and DoorDash. Now it’s time to decide which one is better.
The two companies recently reported strong fourth-quarter results, with Uber’s delivery business — which primarily includes Uber Eats — turning a profit for the first time, and DoorDash hitting a record number of orders. But the food delivery industry has long been seen as a win-win market, where a player must offer “the best quality, the widest selection, and the most affordable price,” as Valerio Magliulo, former CEO of Facebook and Google. in 2016. The winner is the market, everyone seems to think.
The battle to be the best food delivery service is still on, as DoorDash and Uber Eats look to prove they can stay strong as COVID-19 precautions ease. But Protocol has broken down DoorDash and Uber Eats’ revenue, profit, number of restaurants supported and other factors over the past year to determine which company reigns supreme.
Grubhub, which Just Eat Takeaway acquired last summer, is the third major player in this space. We didn’t include it in our analysis because Just Eat didn’t disclose the company’s revenue and earnings for the past two quarters. Just Eat did not return Protocol’s request for comment.
The number of DoorDash orders has increased during 2021. The company started with 329 million orders in the first quarter, increased to 345 million orders in the second quarter and reached 347 million orders in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the company booked a total of 369 million orders, which pushed its shares higher.
Still, Uber Eats seems to be getting a lot more orders. The company did not disclose the number of orders for its delivery business and did not respond to Protocol’s request for comment on the information. Still, you can get a decent approximation of its order volume by dividing the company’s gross bookings over the last four quarters by its average order price. Based on these calculations, the number of orders fell from about 481 million in the first quarter to 515 million in the fourth quarter.
Revenues for both delivery companies have increased over the past year. Uber Eats brought in $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter after steadily growing $1.74 billion in the first quarter. DoorDash’s revenue also rose, but it brought in less money than Uber Eats: The company brought in $1.3 billion last quarter, down from $1.1 billion in the first quarter.
Uber’s delivery unit reported its first-ever adjusted EBITDA profit of $25 million. The business had moved in that direction during 2021, when it started with a loss of $200 million.
DoorDash made a profit in all four quarters of last year, but its most recent revenue figure is down from the previous two quarters. The company posted its highest-ever adjusted EBITDA profit of $113 million in the second quarter, then fell to $47 million in the fourth quarter. DoorDash CEO Tony Xu said he expects the company to continue to thrive over the next year, even as pandemic precautions ease.
“I think we’ve ended … this question of what happens to demand when diners come back and you haven’t named the restaurants,” Xu said in an earnings call Wednesday. “Clearly take-out and delivery… They are complementary. It is quite possible to eat inside a restaurant and have it delivered.
Rankings and other factors
DoorDash has consistently remained No. 1 on the App Store among food delivery apps, while Uber Eats has slipped from fourth to second place in recent months, according to Sensor Tower.
One thing Uber has in mind: Eats supports a lot more restaurants than DoorDash. The company supports at least 750,000 restaurants, based on the company’s second quarter results, while DoorDash supported more than 390,000 restaurants at the end of 2020.
On the face of it, Uber Eats is an undeniably bigger company in terms of the number of merchants it supports and the amount of money it takes in. But DoorDash has remained the most popular food delivery company on the App Store, and has steadily grown its revenue and customer base over the past four quarters.
Both have proven they can remain dominant companies even when pandemic-related measures come and go. The coming year will prove if food delivery can stay that strong and if either can start to pick up the slack.