So you’re wrapping up work for the day and it is time for that age-old question: “What is for dinner?” These days the question is more complex than what’s for dinner, but rather HOW are we going to get dinner?
Rather than cook a meal or order delivery through many of the delivery services available (UberEats, Doordash, etc.), increasingly more Americans have a new option: drone delivery.
Flytrex touts itself as the first drone delivery service focused in the U.S. suburbs (read more about the state of backyard drone delivery company Flytrex here). It also claims to offer free drone delivery on most menu items — a promise it makes good on as deliveries from most restaurants are in fact $0 when ordered through the app.
Sure, having a drone deliver a banana to your backyard is a fun party trick, and a convenient perk when working at home. But I was interested in another question: Is it worth it — even with the supposed $0 Flytrex delivery fee?
What locations does Flytrex deliver to?
Flytrex currently delivers to four cities: Granbury, Texas as well as three cities in North Carolina: Durham, Holly Springs, and Raeford.
And even within those cities, the delivery zones are quite small (covering about an 8-mile radius in Durham). All the addresses within that radius also have to be pre-vetted by Flytrex to ensure there is a safe landing space.
They do have several public points within those cities such as hotels and brewing companies. Although at that point, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just go pick up the food or groceries.
How Flytrex drone delivery prices compare to ordering that food elsewhere
What are the costs compared to other delivery apps? When The Drone Girl met that guy who had ordered food via Flytrex’s free drone delivery service, my interest was piqued. He said he expected the food prices to be inflated versus ordering directly from the restaurant. I wanted to know for sure. I also wanted to know how it compares to other major drone delivery services. Time to do some detective work.
Flytrex vs. Uber Eats: which is cheaper?
My sleuthing started by comparing Flytrex vs. Uber Eats. I selected one of Flytrex’s public points in Granbury, Texas (in what seems to be an empty parking lot) and compared the food costs of four common meals from major chain restaurants to the cost of ordering those meals from Uber Eats in the exact same location.
In every single instance, Flytrex was by far the superior option.
For example, a Jimmy John’s #4 Turkey Tom Meal (with chips and medium soda) costs $12.99 through the Flytrex app and $19.35 through Uber Eats– an almost 50% markup!
On the Flytex app, the only option of those I analyzed that had any delivery fee was Raising Cane’s, which was $4.00. Maybe that’s because, as my brother always says, Raising Cane’s is supposed to be enjoyed fresh, hot, and immediately.
For every other store I tested, the Flytrex delivery fee was $0.
What are the Flytrex drone delivery costs compared to pick-up?
While Flytrex is cheaper than Uber Eats based on my analysis, picking up your food or groceries at the physical location continues to be the best financial option (assuming you’re not counting the cost to get it yourself, such as your own driving costs).
For some restaurants like Jimmy John’s and Chick-fil-a, the Flytrex cost is the exact same price as picking up the food from the physical location.
But for Starbucks, Chipotle, and others, I found significant price markups.
When I went to order my classic Starbucks order, a Grande hot Chai latte with oat milk, the cost of the drink was $7.25, but then I was hit with a small order fee and taxes making my total Starbucks order $8.66. And the in-store pickup for the same drink? $5.57
The small order fee is because there’s an $8 minimum, so your total is rounded up to reach the minimum, and tax is added afterward.
Below are popular food items and their cost if ordered through Flytrex, Uber Eats, or directly through the restaurant’s website. All prices include taxes, and delivery fees (if any), but no tip was added, and are based on pickup locations in Granbury, Texas:
|Restaurant & Meal
|Chick-fil-A Sandwich Meal With fries and medium soda
|Jimmy John’s #4 Turkey Tom Meal With chips and medium soda
|Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl With Blackberry Izze
|Starbucks Grande Chai Latte with Oat Milk
It turns out that half the time, Flytrex prices were actually the same as in-store prices. The other half the time, they were marked up anywhere from about 15 to 55%. Still, Flytrex prices were far lower than Uber Eats prices on every occasion.
Will the $0 Flytrex delivery fee last?
Right now, the Flytrex price markups are relatively small compared to those on Uber Eats. But as Flytrex grows, it could also grow that price markup in an effort to generate more revenue.
The Flytrex superfan we talked to said that the price markup is certainly worth the savings to not have to physically pick up the food from the restaurant. It’s even better on occasions (such as the Chick-fil-A and Jimmy John’s orders) where there’s no markup at all.
But in situations where the markup is 55%, that might not be so appealing. I can’t afford to be addicted to anything else, so for now, I’ll skip the cool party tricks of drone delivery and stick to the good old-fashioned way of the drive-thru.
What about you? What’s the maximum Flytrex delivery fee you’d be willing to pay? Leave your comments on how much you’d be willing to pay for drone delivery below!