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How Long Should You Wait Before Canceling Your Food Delivery Order?

When it comes to ordering from a food delivery service, it is not uncommon to cancel an order every once in a while due to delays or other factors. For those times when a cancellation is unavoidable, it’s important to know when you can cancel an order and when you’ll be charged a fee for your cancellations.

So, how long should you wait before canceling your food delivery order?

If your order takes a long time, you should cancel it before the restaurant receives or makes your order to get a refund. If the restaurant has not prepared your order yet, you can usually cancel without a charge. However, if you cancel after the restaurant prepares your order, you will not get reimbursed.

When it comes to canceling an order, it’s important not to wait too long to avoid being charged for the order. If you are canceling due to a delay, you’re better off receiving the order and requesting a refund for late delivery, as this will avoid a cancellation fee.

Although this is generally consistent across all of the food delivery services, this article will clarify how to troubleshoot issues that may arise with your online delivery order between the time you place the order and the time it gets to your door.

How Often Are Food Delivery Services Late?

Typically, delivery services are rarely late because they estimate 45 minutes to one hour for delivery, which includes a cushion to account for unexpected delays. However, factors such as traffic, busy times at restaurants, or drivers having trouble can cause deliveries to be late.

There are several factors that go into the timeframe a delivery service states as your delivery time. The biggest factors are the traffic, restaurants falling behind on orders, or drivers having car trouble.

These can all contribute to late arrival; however, with the estimated arrival times delivery services provide, they often include a cushion to account for these delays. Although this can happen, it’s uncommon for deliveries to be late.

Next, let’s take a look at the estimated delivery times for the most popular food delivery services.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats is similar in that they provide a range of delivery times that gives them about an hour from order to delivery. This greatly reduces late deliveries as an hour is generally more than enough time to make the delivery happen based on their service range.


GrubHub reports that their food deliveries are very rarely later than the time range given. This, in part, is because their time ranges allow for 45 minutes to one hour for delivery, which is almost always enough time even when there are unexpected delays.


As far as how often DoorDash has late deliveries, there is limited information but DoorDash, like the other two, provides a range for delivery time.

Unfortunately, it is hard to discern which of the top three delivery services have the highest late delivery rates because their systems are set up similarly, making it difficult to be reported as “late.”

Can You Request a Refund If Your Food Arrives Cold?

Fortunately, all of the major delivery services have feedback sections where customers can report if their food is cold or damaged in some way. While you can request a refund if your food arrives cold, none of the delivery services guarantee a refund.

Let’s further explore how you can submit a complaint if your food arrives cold.

Uber Eats

If you are ordering from Uber Eats and your food arrives cold, be sure to take the survey once your food is delivered. Here you’ll be able to provide feedback and submit the necessary details about your delivery experience.

However, if you take longer than 48 hours to make the report, the Uber Eats customer service team will not be able to provide you with a refund or any form of credit to your account.


If you’ve ordered from GrubHub and have a problem, you can submit a complaint through their website and wait to hear back from a customer service member regarding a potential refund.

Similar to Uber Eats, it is recommended to submit this complaint to Grubhub as quickly as possible after you get your food. The longer you wait, the lower the chance you’ll get a refund.


DoorDash also has an “order issues” tab on its interface where you can select “poor food quality.” The customer service team will then review your feedback and determine how to move forward. DoorDash does not promise any refunds or credits but depending on your feedback, you may be subject to a refund.

What Happens If No One Picks up Your Food Order?

As a general rule, if nobody from a delivery service picks up your order, you will be refunded. However, this is still an inconvenience as you have likely lost time while waiting for this order. Unfortunately, you will not get compensated for the wasted time while waiting for your food to arrive.

Next, let’s dive into what happens at each delivery service if no one picks up your order.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats assigns a driver when the order is put through, and if they don’t show up to collect your order, there are a few things that may happen.

First, the restaurant may throw the food away since the order has been sitting out too long. At which point, Uber Eats will cancel the order and refund you.

If the driver says they picked up the food, but you never get the order, you can submit a form to request a refund on that order. Again, you’ll want to do this as soon as possible to ensure you’re eligible for a refund.


If you’ve ordered through GrubHub and nobody comes to pick up your food, GrubHub will cancel the order and contact you to let you know that no driver accepted your delivery.

In this case, you may need to wait a few minutes and then try again. If the food has already been prepared, GrubHub will pay the restaurant 100% of the cost, and the restaurant will often throw away the order.


DoorDash is the same in that the order will be automatically canceled if there is no driver available to pick up the food.

In this case, after a certain amount of time waiting for a driver, the order will be canceled, and you will be refunded. If you have a problem with not receiving an order but you were charged, you can contact DoorDash for a refund.

Is Uber Eats Available 24 Hours?

While Uber Eats is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, each restaurant still maintains its own hours. Therefore, you can order from Uber Eats whenever you want, but if the restaurants you will order from are not open, they will not be an available option for delivery.

Although many restaurants will not be available late at night or in the morning, there are a few fast-food restaurants that Uber Eats services that can better match their 24/7 availability. Hopefully, you will always find something to order at all times, but your options may vary depending on the day and time you place the order.

How Late Does DoorDash Deliver?

Similar to Uber Eats, DoorDash delivers 24 hours and 7 days a week. Drivers generally start making deliveries at 8 am, and they will deliver until the restaurants close.

How late DoorDash delivers will vary based on what time the restaurants are open in your location. However, there are usually fast-food restaurants that offer delivery past midnight, and DoorDash will deliver those orders to you.

How Late Does GrubHub Deliver?

GrubHub offers 24-hour delivery, but still, you will run into the issue of finding a restaurant that’s open 24 hours a day.

The closer you get to midnight, the fewer options you’ll find on GrubHub. This is more difficult in certain regions, and for those who live in large cities, there still may be plenty of options after midnight.


In this article, we covered the delays and cancellations for your food delivery orders. We learned that if your order takes a long time, you should cancel before the restaurant prepares it to get a refund.

We also discovered that delivery services account for potential delays in the estimated delivery times, which are typically 45 minutes to one hour.

There are often delays and hiccups when ordering food from an online delivery service; luckily, the most popular services like Uber Eats, GrubHub, and DoorDash have policies in place to ensure both the customer and restaurant are taken care of when it comes to any delays or orders not being picked up.

If you’re interested in finding out more about food delivery services, check out the related articles below.

Related Articles:

What’s the Average Distance for Food Delivery Services?

Do Food Delivery Services Accept Cash?

Can Uber Eats Drivers Rate Customers? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Can You Order Food Delivery to a Hotel?

Is GrubHub Plus Worth It?

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of He has over a decade of experience in consumer goods and launched many products sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. Outside of work, you can find him on a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

November 9, 2022