Food delivery services (DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, UberEats, etc.)

I ordered food for lunch yesterday from Doordash. I live in a highrise that has limited parking, but generally delivery drivers find a way. But maybe 1 out of 6 either refuses to get creative or just doesn’t feel like schlepping up to the 14th floor so they pretend the callbox isn’t working or something.

In this case, the driver found the building, found the callbox, and told me he couldn’t find parking. I say OK, I’ll come down.

I go down the elevator and he’s nowhere to be found. Check the driveway, which is a bit of an “L” shape - nada. Go around the corner, and there’s a random bag sitting on the street at the corner. Guess what’s in it? My food! The guy just dropped the bag on the street about 50ft away from the door, which he knew was the door because he called me from the callbox!

And the best part is the photo below is the one the driver took and texted to me! He literally gave no fucks.

Needless to say I complained and got a full refund plus $6.34 extra as a credit.

I wonder who gets penalized, if anyone, in this situation. Does Doordash still pay KFC for my food? Does the driver get fired?

Anyway, annoying.

That happens occasionally. You got a free meal plus six bucks, so it can’t smart too badly.

But why? Why would someone do that!? How can they possible think that’s okay.

Why would Wendy’s give you a burger at the drive-in without any burger in it? Because it’s some kid and he doesn’t give a shit. Don’t give it too much thought, he certainly didn’t.

The one is likely an accident. This that person’s job. Supposedly they survive on tips and ratings. It’s just all sort of crazy that someone would deliver that and not think it will bite them in the ass later.

I’m sure we have crazy stories like this. I think the nature of these gig economy jobs means you’re going to get people who don’t know how to have a job.

I’ve had delivery drivers get near my apartment and then apparently decide they’d rather not and drive away, telling the app that they delivered the food. Not sure what they thought would happen when I tell Doordash that no, the food was not delivered, and there’s no texted photo showing it delivered.

And as I noted about parking, I have about 1 in 6 drivers simply refuse to find a place to park. About 1 in 10 call me and tell me they can’t even find the building.

And I think three times I’ve had the totally wrong order delivered to me - not even close like a missing item, just clearly someone else’s order sitting outside my door.

My assumption is that there is very little, if any, actual vetting of the drivers going on. In my area it’s rare to have someone who speaks English very well, which is totally fine until they call you shouting about something.

That’s exactly right, they’re just kids who don’t care.

When they call me shouting I tell them to deliver the food to my doorman, and if they can’t do that then I’ll cancel the order in 10 minutes. I’ve had to do that many times and always get a $10 credit. It is what it is. I give a 20% tip, if they can’t deliver the food to my building in less than an hour then they can fuck right off.

In my experience, Doordash actually tends to be a bit better than Grubhub/Seamless.

A fiftyish year old woman came to my house and dropped off a meal, but stuck around to complain about me not cutting my bush back enough to easily see the numbers. They’re also on the sidewalk.

I have yet to see a young person deliver here. Then again, it’s supposed to be contactless delivery, but only some of them acknowledge that.

Yeah this is probably closer to what might be happening, but there are a number of people desperate for this jobs that I question really pay more than they cost. Even still, when you have someone on video literally crying because their tip is too low and then you have someone who just drops the bag… anywhere. They have no consistency with experience here.

I don’t know exactly how the apps work on the delivery side, but I kind of assume they figure that they have 5 more deliveries that they’re already late for, and if they waste any more time trying to find you, they’ll get bad feedback on all 5 instead of just fucking you over and getting bad feedback on yours.

If they are older maybe they were afraid of the contact since you had to go out to them.

Deliveroo, the UK’s equivalent of DoorDash, just posted its financials ahead of an IPO ($10bn valuation mooted). It managed to lose GBP 224m last year. It’s really hard to see how this is a viable business model if they can’t even make money when restaurants have no choice but to use them.

It isn’t a viable model, and won’t be until these services start taking an even higher percentage of the food bill, which is crazy when you consider they already take 20%+ just for the “privilege” of being listed.

I have started to message my local restaurants that do not yet have a independent online ordering system. I want to give my money to the restaurant, not to these things, but that is hard when the only ordering option is through DD/GH/etc that tack on an absurd markup (or essentially force the restaurant to mark up to cover the fees).

Implementing an in house ordering option is not hard these days, so when I hit “order online” at a restaurant and it takes me to GH, I get ornery.

It isn’t?

One that works with as slick an interface as UberEats or DoorDash, including realtime order updates and GPS tracking? One that gets orders from the customer to food prep in the kitchen seamlessly the way these services are able to?

I’m extremely dubious that there’s anything easy about it. And especially dubious that it wouldn’t be a pretty big cost outlay if they tried.

BTW, between DoorDash (which I don’t use at the moment) and UberEats, apparently I’ve ordered from them 131 times in the last 3 years.

I think I’ve had three orders in that time where I had to ask for a refund or some sort of credit. That’s a pretty good hit rate.

We’re now up to 94 orders since the pandemic forced us permanently home (first mid-pandemic order was 3/18/2020), or a bit more often than once every four days. Seven orders that warranted a refund in that time, plus one so delayed they automatically gave me a coupon, or about 8.5% of the time. Pretty dire here in Raleigh, I guess!

I bet they’re better in the really big cities. More customers, more consistent drivers, etc.

I’ve had problems ordering several times, no useful customer support on those issues at all, multiple severely late orders, including one that eventually they called and were like “yeah, the restaurant didn’t take the order because their payment processor is busted but we didn’t know until the driver got there, sorry, here’s a refund”, a driver that delivered someone else’s unidentified order to me but not mine, order mixups…basically it’s been a blazing trash fire of an experience…and that’s with Doordash, who have treated me relatively well. I quit using Bite Squad because they were worse.

Oh yeah, we did get some random person’s food once. The driver eventually came back and dropped off our actual food, but didn’t ask for the other stuff back, and our actual food was frigid by then, but we didn’t want to get the driver penalized so we didn’t complain / ask for a refund. But that brings us up to at least 9/94 with issues.

Maybe more now that I recall that night. We as a rule don’t rate gig economy drivers / shoppers / etc anything less than a 5 unless they do something actively dangerous (like the Uber driver who blew through like three red lights bringing us to a tiki bar in Indianapolis during GenCon 2019), since even a handful of 4s can massively impact their income on some of these platforms.

Which, like, hey, good self congratulations to myself there for being so magnanimous, but it does mean I don’t do anything to pull bad drivers out of the system. But I still think the vast majority of the issues I’ve run into have been on the restaurant end, not the drivers.

Absolutely. There are market regions where this seems like an idea that will work pretty well. And there are regions where maybe that’s “less well”. And then there are swathes of the country where it just cannot work at all, as currently built.

I’ve never used any of these services. Does the tip go to the delivery person or the restaurant? Or the slimy platform middlemen?

Honestly I have never had a problem with any of these services that I could clearly identify as being the driver’s fault, so I just don’t worry about it. I complain if I need to to get my food and maybe a credit for it being late and let the service sort out who caused the problem.

The delivery person, there are also unspecified fees that go to the slimy middleman, and I’m told that they driver is often paid a default rate that any tips are subtracted from. The restaurant only gets your order money and not even all of that.