Food delivery is absolutely everywhere. Where it used to only be pizza and Chinese food, now there is a delivery option for just about everything. Restaurant food-delivery services are a growing business, transforming the way people receive their meals. How much so? In 2018, UBS found that on average, food delivery platforms were in the top 40 most-downloaded apps in major markets. “We think it’s possible that by 2030 most meals currently cooked at home will instead be ordered online and delivered from restaurants or central kitchens,” according to UBS. UberEats alone is reportedly on pace to do $10 billion in business this year, up from $6 billion last year.
With such a rapidly-growing industry rising up to be a major player in how people consume food, US Foods, which supplies food to restaurants, gathered information from about 500 food delivery drivers and more than 1,500 customers in America who order through apps such as DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub and UberEats. Respondents ranged from 18 to 77 years old, with a median age of 31. Drivers who reported working for at least one food delivery app had a median age of 30. In an effort to better understand the process of ordering and delivering meals, the company asked both groups about their “habits and pain points.”
You will be amazed at what they found
Of the drivers surveyed, 54% admitted to being tempted by the smell of a customer’s food, and 28% of food delivery drivers admit to eating some of the food they deliver. “We’re sorry to report that sometimes, impulse gets the best of deliverers, and they violate their sacred duty by taking some of the food,” US Foods says in the survey findings.
Customers were understandably unhappy at the prospect of a deliverer snagging a few of their fries. When asked, on a scale from 1 (“no big deal”) to 10 (“absolutely unacceptable”), how miffed they’d be if their driver had tampered with their food, the average customer responded with an 8.4. Nearly 9 of 10 also said they’d like restaurants to use tamper-evident labels to ensure their food arrives untouched.
Other customer complaints included
- Food not warm and/or fresh (17%)
- Food delivered late (16%)
- Incorrect orders (12%)
- Restaurants ignoring notes/instructions (12%)
- Inconsistent prices (11%)
- Food gets shaken or messed up during delivery (10%)
- Menus are inconsistent or limited (9%)
Some delivery services already have strategies in place. Postmates told NPR that food-tampering cases account for less than 0.06% of the reports it receives. The delivery service, however, still requires “each person who completes a delivery using Postmates to expressly agree that all food and goods delivered will arrive in a tamper-free form and in compliance with all applicable food health and safety laws.”
In an online chat, a Grubhub representative said if a customer suspects that some of the food is missing, the company will potentially open an investigation and make a refund.
UberEats and DoorDash haven’t responded to requests for comment
In its delivery guidelines, UberEats said it will deactivate any account with fraudulent activity or misuse, including “claiming to complete a delivery without ever picking up the delivery item; and picking up a delivery item but not delivering it in full.”
DoorDash directs its drivers to not open food containers or tamper with the order in any way. If a customer suspects food tampering, the company states it will deactivate the driver’s account.
Before we dismiss the food-swiping delivery drivers as evil, there are some factors that might drive them to give in to the temptation to dabble in your order.
One reason some delivers might steal food — they’re hungry. Delivery jobs pay an average of roughly $13 an hour, according to PayScale. As a full-time job, that’s right around the federal poverty line of $25,750 a year for a family of four, while delivery jobs also typically don’t include health care and other benefits. Further, drivers reported that too often, they receive no or low tips, according to the survey. Some 63% of customers now tip through a food-ordering app, while 27% give cash, the company found.
As is usually the case, when a problem is discovered, there are usually multiple guilty parties, and multiple solutions to solve the problem. In this case, customers need to ensure they are tipping the driver well, which will help them have enough money for food. This will leave them far less tempted to take some of your meal for themselves. The tamper-proof packaging is another excellent solution.