It used to be that mail-order food didn’t have a great reputation — but that’s changing. No longer are orders limited to candy or fruit baskets or beef jerky. Nowadays you can order gourmet fare with just a click of your computer's mouse or with a brief phone call.
The menus aren't limited, either. Pretty much no matter where in the country you live, you can order high-end cuts of beef, lobster, scallops, or your favorite far-away restaurant’s clam chowder. You can also try out new side dishes and tempting desserts at those favorite restaurants, too.
If you’re a cook, these sites can be your pantry — the place to stock up on all your culinary essentials, everything from poultry and spices to cooking tools, that aren’t readily available at the store down the street.
And even if you don’t like to cook, many of these sites are still a match. Here’s why: you can get quality, healthy precooked foods delivered right to your door. All you have to do is reheat them — no shopping, chopping, or additional prep required.
Consumers love these mail order sites, and consequently, so do business people. To some, the business platform of mail-order food is becoming more appealing than, say, finance. Take a look at co-founder and former finance maven Brad Koenig. After spending more than 20 years in the finance industry at Goldman Sachs and as a private consultant, Koenig said goodbye to Wall Street and took on the mail-order food world by starting a business with his brother called FoodyDirect.
The Koenigs' reasons for starting their company, which allows you to order food from iconic restaurants anywhere in the country, were specific to them — they missed the East Coast food that wasn’t available to them in California — but the idea behind the venture is simple. People use the Internet a lot for shopping, so why not use it for shopping for food, too?
FoodyDirect is just one of many mail-order food businesses, and there’s a whole menu of options out there to try out. We’ve done some research and have found 16 of our favorite mail-order food companies online. Not only did we gather a list of our favorites, but we ranked them based on their originality, appeal and practicality, and ease of use. We tried our best not to be biased about whether or not the sites encouraged you to cook or not, but it's only fair to admit that it factored into our ratings, as well.
Whether you’re looking to try Oprah’s favorite Key lime Bundt cake from We Take The Cake in Florida, or just need some help with appetizers for your upcoming party, there’s a mail-order website that makes online shopping all the more appealing. Take a look and bring your appetites — a whole world of food is just a click of a mouse away.