The Problem with Food Delivery Apps

December 19, 2022

In the past few weeks I have noticed the quality of service from food delivery apps is declining:

  • Items are forgotten.
  • It takes longer for food to arrive.
  • Food keeps getting stolen or marked not delivered by the driver.

Why It Matters

During the pandemic food delivery was a lifeline for restaurants. It is a convenience and occasional treat. It seemed like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber had solved this, but recently the quality of their service has declined. Using these apps makes life more frustrating, what way to burst the bubble of magic projected by Silicon Valley.

A Capitalist Outsourcing Meltdown

The biggest crime these tools commit is their layers of outsourcing. The driver is on contract with DoorDash and not empowered to provide refunds or remake a broken order. Restaurant workers at my local Chipotle did not care someone stole my order and declined to pick up the phone for GrubHub or work with my delivery driver. This would be less likely to happen if the employees were full time and drivers worked for the restaurant.

Delivery Drivers are Clogging the Streets

From Boston Globe:

Delivery apps offered a lifeline to restaurants early in the pandemic, when indoor dining was banned and al fresco wasn’t yet a thing. But the streets were mostly empty then. Today ― with traffic sometimes back to its before-times level ― parked delivery vehicles are further snarling already congested parts of Boston. That’s causing adjacent business to complain and forcing the city to take action in an effort to mitigate the problem.

What now?

I am taking a pause on using food delivery apps. Instead I will be doing more grocery shopping and takeout from local restaurants. I do not think these apps will go away, but the frustrations are not worth suffering through them.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.