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How to Find and Use the Best Food Delivery Bags 2022 (Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub)

The Tl;dr: Good delivery bags are an important part of running a profitable delivery business as an independent contractor for a food delivery service like Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub or others. We look at why they're important, what to look for, and how to use them to make more money.

Does it make sense to buy insulated bags or catering bags when delivering for Doordash or other food delivery apps? Don't they usually give you free bags? How can delivery bags actually help you make more money?

We'll look at some of the best bags out there, how to decide on what (if any) you should buy, and how to use delivery bags to increase your delivery earnings.

Assortment of delivery bags and cup holders for Grubhub Doordash Postmates Uber Eats
Assortment of delivery bags and drink holders

In this article we'll talk about:

About Food Delivery Bags (from our Podcast)

How good are the Doordash bags and other bags provided by delivery platforms?

Once upon a time you could always rely on getting free delivery bags from Grubhub and Doordash. On the other hand, in the four and a half years I've been delivering, Uber Eats has always made their contractors buy their own food carrier.

The Doordash tote bags have never been very good, in my opinion. They're flimsy, the zipper often gets stuck, they're not great at protecting the food. Really the only good thing about them is they're free. At least, the first one is free.

Doordash sends out a delivery bag once a driver has completed the signup process. They're basically not much more than cloth sided tote bags or reusable grocery bags with foil linings.

Doordash also has pizza bags that you can buy. They are similarly constructed with the soft siding and foil lining.

Grubhub also provides delivery bags once a driver has completed onboarding. The last I knew they were still sending out two bags, one smaller and a larger one that can double as a pizza bag. I've always been more impressed with the bags Grubhub gives out.

Since the video below was made, Grubhub was purchased by Just Eat Takeaway and their branding has changed. However, the current bags are similarly constructed.

Why are insulated food delivery bags important for independent contractors?

I started delivering full time in 2018. I've found over more than four years several thousand delivery orders that one of the most important tools for a successful delivery business was a good delivery bag. Here are some of the reasons:

It gets me in and out of the restaurant faster. I'll talk about this more in a bit, but the bag is a huge non-verbal communication that I'm there to pick up an order. Its presence often keeps me from having to flag down someone. Instead, they more often see me and are asking me who I'm picking up for.

An insulated food delivery bag keeps food warm (or cold). Especially in winter deliveries. When temperatures drop below freezing, food can get cold just in the time it takes to get into your car from the restaurant, or from your car to the customer.

This is a food safety issue. Bacteria grows most rapidly when food is room temperature, often doubling every 20 minutes. The more you can do to keep hot food hot, the safer the delivery.

Having a delivery bag creates a good relationship with the restaurant. The biggest fear for restaurants using third party delivery is a bad customer impression due to poor quality delivery. They have no control over the delivery process. Your delivery bag says you care about getting their food to their customer in good condition. I've found that when restaurants appreciate how I approach deliveries, they become much easier to work with themselves.

A delivery bag often puts the customer at ease. When a customer sees you get out of the car with a sealed up delivery bag, there are many positives. The bag communicates that you're taking the delivery serously, that you care about protecting their food. It also alleviates fears that you may have tampered with the food. After the recent pandemic, they can see the bag as one more precaution that prevents transmission of any disease. This can be especially valuable on platforms like Doordash when customer ratings are an important part of maintaining the ability to deliver.

What to look for in a good delivery bag

In my opinion and experience, these are the three most important qualities of a good delivery bag:

  • They protect the food well
  • The bag is sturdy
  • It's easy to load and unload food

Protecting the food: There are two things here. One, it should be well insulated, to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Two, it should hold the food in place. The cheaper bags have little if any insulation and won't do much more for maintaining food temperature than if you just didn't use a bag. The other thing I want to avoid is the food sliding around too much inside the bag.

The bag is sturdy: Try to find a delivery bag that has a solid bottom piece. Many food bags have no cardboard at the bottom, and when you put food in the bag, it all sags into the middle. Also, if you deliver frequently, you want something that is going to hold up to hundreds if not thousands of uses.

It's easy to load and unload food. I've struggled too many times trying to get food into a bag while battling with flimsy sides. If it's easy to snag zippers, that can slow you down. I lean towards delivery bags with good velcro or hook and latch closures, as you can open and close them much more quickly.

My favorite food delivery bags

Here are my personal favorites:

Rubbermaid ProServe FG9F4000RED 15 inch x 12 inch x 12 inch Food delivery bag.

This bag is my current go to. The size is just right for most small and mid size orders. It's nicely insulated, has a good solid bottom that doesn't sag, two pockets on the side that can hold drinks, and the hook and latch closures make it easy to open and close it.

The only downside to these bags is the price. They tend to cost more than similar delivery bags. Every once in awhile I see them go on sale somewhere. The price at Amazon is usually higher but also includes free shipping.

I do wish Rubbermaid had a larger version of this for catering orders.

Available from Amazon.
Available from KaTom Restaurant Supply

American Metalcraft PBSB1512 Delivery Bags

This is a more economical version of the Rubbermaid bag above. The dimensions are similar, with a 15 by 12 inch footprint, but stands 9 inches deep. It also has the hook and latch closures and side pockets.

I didn't like this one as much for a couple of reasons. The side walls don't have the thicker insulation, the handle length feels a bit awkward, and the thinner hook and latch strips don't catch quite as easily. Generally I see these about fifteen dollars cheaper than the Rubbermaid.

Catering bags

For large orders or catering trips (such as with DeliverThat) it's ideal to get a larger catering bag. A typical catering pan is about 21 by 13 inches, so you want to find a bag that has about a 22 x 14 inch footprint or a little larger. These are great for large capacity orders.

Two such bags are:

Veraciouis XXL Insulated Catering Bag. The internal dimensions are 23 x 14 x 14. It has a reinforced bottom and hook and latch and a side pocket. Insulation is pretty substantial.

Available from Amazon

Homevative XXL Insulated Catering Bag. This was the first catering bag I ever purchased. I found it to be extremely durable and a great value. The insulation is firm and thick. The bottom of the bag was not reinforced, however the insulation was firm enough that the bag didn't sag as much as many of the catering bags I've seen out there when food was in it. I felt good that they had a sturdy zipper.

Available from Amazon

Pizza Bags

Some individual size pizzas (twelve to fourteen inches) can fit into catering bags. However, larger pizzas are best delivered with a larger pizza bag. A 20 inch bag is going to work well with most pizza places. I also keep a 24 inch pizza bag, as there are a couple of pizza places in my market that sell pizzas that large.

At one time I only used a 24 inch pizza bag. That way, I covered all the bases. However, I often found that with multiple pizza boxes in a bag, they were more likely to slide around, so I decided to get a smaller bag for more standard size orders.

American Metalcraft PBDX2005 20 inch pizza delivery bag
Available at Amazon
Available at KaTom (lower price but shipping is extra)

Drink Carriers

Some of the delivery bags with pockets on the side hold individual drinks fairly well. If you have multiple drinks, you will find that the drink carriers restaurants provide are often not reliable or sturdy.

I write more about the best drink carrier options for Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and other delivery services here. I'll give you the winner here though: the best option for a drink carrier wasn't even designed as a drink carrier. It's the Art Caddy sold by Michaels (this is not an affiliate link). They're really inexpensive if you have a Michaels store in your area, and they do have the option to ship for a bit more.

Picture of my Art Caddy by Creatology that I purchased from Michaels which works perfectly as a six drink carrier.

How to use delivery bags to make more money on Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, etc.

It's really pretty simple: Carry that bag into the restaurant when you go to pick up your order. Hold it up in plain view as you walk in. It makes extra money for you because it gets you in and out of the restaurant more quickly.

Staff knows right away that you're there to pick up a delivery order. So many times, when you walk in you have to compete for attention with customers who want to place an order or who are trying to get a table, and other couriers who are trying to pick up orders themselves.

That delivery bag cuts through a lot of that and often eliminates the need to try and get someone's attention. Far more frequently you'll have someone asking much more quickly what order you're picking up.

A red spherical character with eyes and waving, standing out among a crowd of white plain spheres, illustrating how a delivery bag can make a delivery driver stand out in a restaurant.
This little guy doesn't quite look like a delivery bag, but it works the same way, getting the attention of restaurant people

You'll often find you're getting served ahead of drivers who have been waiting longer. Sometimes it's just because they notice you first. Other times it might be because they simply appreciate that you show that you care about taking care of the food. That's a big deal to a lot of restaurants.

Finally, the delivery bag can make the hand off with customers faster. If a customer is watching for their order, the bag says that an order is on the way. That bag also communicates to the customer that you're treating their food with care, and that can make a difference in customer ratings or tips.

Finally, delivery bags can make it easier and faster to transport orders from the restaurant to your car, or from your car to the customer. On larger orders, this can save time and avoid multiple trips.

The bottom line is, when deliveries happen faster, you can complete more deliveries in a given time frame. More deliveries means more money.

efficient delivery driver with a clock for a head thinking time is money.
When you can get more deliveries done in a given time period, that means time literally is money. Efficiency makes more money for you.

Frequently asked questions about using delivery bags as an independent contractor.

Can gig economy companies legally require you to use delivery bags?

A company that contracts services out to gig workers (independent contractors) can not control the means by which a contractor performs the services. They can however require that food be delivered in good condition and in a safe manner.

Does Doordash require you to use your hotbag?

The Doordash Independent Contractor Agreement does not specifically require use of hot bags, only stating that a Doordash driver must acquire their own equipment “including vehicles and food thermal bags” necessary for performing contracted services. However their deactivation policy does say that abuse (which can be cause for termination of the contract) can include “failing to maintain standards of food safety” and lists an example of “failing to use an insulated hot bag to safely transport deliveries.”

Does Doordash provide delivery bags for free?

Doordash does send out a soft sided hotbag as part of their welcome kit. Many pizza restaurants have been known to keep Doordash pizza bags on hand and give them out to drivers who do not have such a bag. Any extra bags need to be purchased.

Do you have to use Doordash's hot bag as a Dasher?

No. Doordash can not require independent contractors to use specific equipment. You are not (and can not be) required to use bags with the Doordash logo, as you are not a Doordash employee.

Can you use Grubhub bags (or other branding) on Doordash deliveries?

Yes. As an independent contractor you are free to choose which equipment you use. While using bags with branding from competing food delivery services could create confusion, that is a business decision you must make for yourself.

Does Uber Eats require you to use a delivery bag?

No. In their tips for handling orders, Uber states: “Delivery people suggest an insulated bag to promote food safety and proper handling of orders. Deliveries by bicycle may benefit from a more specialized bag to protect food from movement and weather conditions. But people delivering using the Uber Eats app are not required to use insulated delivery bags.” However, some restaurants may have preferences for use of a delivery bag.

Does Uber Eats provide delivery bags for free?

No. Uber Eats is the one major food delivery app that does not provide delivery bags for free to their drivers. This is because they do not want to create the impression of an employee relationship by providing the necessary tools to independent contractors.

Do you have to use Uber Eats branded delivery bags?

No. Uber Eats can not require you to use particular equipment such as Uber Eats branded delivery bags.

Can you use Grubhub or Doordash bags for Uber Eats deliveries?

Yes. As an independent contractor you are free to choose which equipment you use. While using bags with branding from competing food delivery services could create confusion, that is a business decision you must make for yourself.

Does Grubhub require you to use a delivery bag?

Grubhub's tips and best practices page says “Grubhub and our restaurant partners require you to bring an insulated delivery bag when picking up an order. You will receive a free Insulated Grubhub bag after your 1st delivery. Please use any insulated bag while you wait to receive your Grubhub bag.”

Does Grubhub provide delivery bags for free?

Grubhub states that “you will receive a free insulated Grubhub bag after your 1st delivery.” Once onboarding and the first delivery is completed, Grubhub will ship your bag or bags. Typically they've sent a smaller and larger thermal bag, however they may change that at any time.

Do you have to use the Grubhub bags on deliveries?

No. Grubhub can not require you to use any particular equipment nor can they require you as an independent contractor to use Grubhub branded bags. It is your responsibility to choose and obtain your own equipment and your right to choose right bag for your delivery business.

Can you use Doordash bags or other branded bags for Grubhub deliveries?

Yes. As an independent contractor you are free to choose which equipment you use. While using bags with branding from competing food delivery services could create confusion, that is a business decision you must make for yourself.

Is it better to use a gig company branded delivery bag where possible?

On one hand, having a delivery bag with the logo of delivery services like Doordash, Grubhub or Uber Eats can communicate immediately to staff at local restaurants who you're delivering for. On the other hand, if you deliver for multiple companies, keeping delivery bags for each app can create some clutter. In the end, it's a business decision you have to make for yourself.

Where can I buy food delivery bags?

You can search for delivery bags on major online retailers like Amazon and eBay. Many restaurant supply companies like KaTom and Webstaurant will sell delivery bags to drivers. You may be able to pick up a insulated food delivery bag at a local restaurant supply company or may be able to find a suitable insulated cooler bag at local retailers.

If you prefer to use branded gear, you can order from the food delivery companies online including:

Can you wash insulated delivery bags?

Depending on the quality and build, many food delivery bags may not stand up well to being washed in a washing machine. It's a good practice to keep bags clean by regularly wiping them down with disinfectant wipes at least daily. Some bags may be washed on a gentle cycle and air dried. Cheaper insulated tote bags with only foil lining may be more likely to disintegrate or break down during washing.

Is the Doordash space blanket a good alternative to food delivery bags?

The space blanket that was once included in the Doordash welcome kit may be an option for insulating larger and bulkier orders that might not normally fit in a delivery bag. I believe that the 56 x 80 inch mylar blanket was given out by Doordash in lieu of a pizza bag. However, wrapping an item can be pretty awkward and could risk disturbing the order.

Should I pay more for commercial delivery bags?

It's possible to spend hundreds of dollars on high end commercial catering and delivery bags. Those bags may be more durable. My experience after thousands of deliveries is that the middle of the line bags that you can find on Amazon (usually in the $30 to $60 range) hold up quite well if taken care of.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.


Saturday 29th of February 2020

I've been strongly considering getting the "drink carrier" from Michael' spilled pink lemonade was enough to have me looking for a better solution. My biggest question is this: how do you handle the handoff at the door? With the restaurant's drink tray, at least you can just hand them the whole thing; with your own drink caddy, do you just hand them over one by one? I'd be worried about the customer not having somewhere to set them down, but I'm weird and worry about silly things like that lol

Thanks for this article, I've been pulling my hair out for the last few days because the bags I was going to buy went out of stock and may or may not ever be restocked! I don't like the bags the companies provided, I feel like I spend half my time fighting with them for one reason or another.

Saturday 29th of February 2020

I never really have it that much thought. I guess I just end up giving the drinks to them one at a time. If it's more than a couple drinks I'm looking for if the restaurant can provide something I can hand off.

One thing I'm noticing on the Michael's one is it's best for four or fewer drinks. The spacing is ideal between cups, but the issue I'm finding is the height of the handle. If you have talk cups in the middle that are higher than the handle it can be a little tricky


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Lose the fedora and bowtie. You're kidding with that, right?

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Totally serious. Not saying it's a great fashion idea but it gets me noticed - stands out enough - and that helps me get in and out quickly.

Comments are closed.
Ron Walter of

About the Author

Ron Walter made the move from business manager at a non-profit to full time gig economy delivery in 2018 to take advantage of the flexibility of self-employment. He applied his thirty years experience managing and owning small businesses to treat his independent contractor role as the business it is.

Realizing his experience could help other drivers, he founded to encourage delivery drivers to be the boss of their own gig economy business.

Ron has been quoted in several national outlets including Business Insider, the New York Times, CNN and Market Watch.

You can read more about Ron's story,, background, and why he believes making the switch from a career as a business manager to delivering as an independent contractor was the best decision he could have made.

red button labeled read Ron's story.