Platforms like UberEats and Deliveroo have highly impacted the food industry. It has brought restaurants and cafes closer to customers, and it helped create more job posts and businesses. It has also pushed restaurants and small food businesses to better adapt to today's demand.
In this thread, the slogging community discusses their thoughts on food delivery services, their impact on the food industry, and the main perks and drawbacks of this trade.
This Slogging thread by Mónica Freitas, Jack Boreham, Rohan Dominic, Favour Amadi, Sara Pinto, Limarc Ambalina, and Amy Shah occurred in slogging's official #technology channel, and has been edited for readability.
Platforms like UberEats, Deliveroo and others, have highly impacted the food industry. It has brought restaurants and cafes closer to customers. It has also pushed restaurants and small food businesses to better adapt to today's demand. Do you think these platforms represent a way to level the plane between big food chains and small restaurants?
I definitely think so. A lot of small businesses in the UK have managed to survive during covid due to these delivery services. Here, if you fail to go digital, you go bust. Along our high streets, the ones that survive have an online presence. What we do have to watch out for, though, is worker protection in these industries. Workers are often underpaid, mistreated and lack essential protection from delivery companies.
Jack Boreham, just took a look at the significant risks happening with food delivery. It appears that there is a considerable amount of crime on delivery drivers: http://www.qsrweb.com/blogs/delivery-driver-crime-the-restaurant-industry-problem-nobody-talks-about/
Data shows that being a food deliverer is one of the most dangerous jobs and is likely to produce victims of violence or theft.
There are also some concerns with customer privacy and data, food safety and quality, tampering, and wage & labor issues (as you said). We never even think about the possibility of tampering with food. http://www.wasserstrom.com/blog/2018/10/12/food-delivery-risks/
There are even news on organised crime gangs using food delivery services to deal drugs across Australia: http://www.news.com.au/national/crime/organised-crime-gangs-used-food-delivery-services-to-deal-drugs-across-australia/news-story/3963b1255c03855f719f22fd745a8538
Jack Boreham, Limarc Ambalina, Rohan Dominic, petar.btc, Linh Smooke, Amy Shah: Have you ever experienced or heard about an unusual story with food delivery services involving tampering or crime? Something that caught your attention or made you lose trust in such services.
Mónica Freitas, Yes! I have heard about the Zomato (India's largest food delivery company) delivery guy eating food meant for delivery.
Rohan Dominic, WOW, caught in the act 😂 Does that make you lose trust in delivery services? And how do you think these services have impacted the food industry in your hometown and country?
Not really. I still use their service. I don't think it had any effect on the food industry as such because such things are relatively rare.
Rohan Dominic, is there something that would throw you off using food delivery services?
I've heard stories of delivery drivers eating from the food. I think what will throw me off, Mónica Freitas, will be ineffective packaging and if my food is pilfered.
Favour Amadi, I get it! You'd always be distrusting of that service in the future. However, it does happen. There's a lot of crime against food deliverers.
Mónica Freitas, these platforms increased the luxury that's receiving good food at your home without any struggle, this absolutely elevated the small restaurants. Regarding the general welfare of these workers, I don't think they have enough protection, as Jack Boreham said. They are expected to work through all kinds of weather and even deal with unpolite people. I understand that these workers may also do some uncivil actions, but don't you think that it might be an outcome of the poor conditions?
Sara Pinto, I agree that it has made it simpler to have food delivered, and it helped small businesses that didn't have the means to have this service to expand. As for the misconduct, I'm not sure we should justify some breaches with the lack of work conditions/protection. Of course, it can affect morale, and some workers may see such actions as harmless. Nevertheless, it violates the agreements between the customer and the delivery company, and even the restaurant. It can cause a loss of trust, especially when the issue is food tampering and food safety. This is to say, I agree that work conditions should be improved, and there should be more robust protection and insurances for delivery professionals, but "food ethics" shouldn't be at stake.
Mónica Freitas, yes, the behavior can't be justified (in the sense of absolving the situation), but I think it can be explained by those factors. On the other hand, I agree with the loss of trust. In the end, the ones who are paying for the service, even though sometimes the customers can be obnoxious, become the victims. As you said, we can't forget that it may be our health that is at risk.
Sara Pinto, it's a tricky subject, no doubt. Let hope we see improvements in work conditions for these professionals while keeping the quality and safety of the services.
"Do you think these platforms represent a way to level the plane between big food chains and small restaurants?" - Yes most definitely. In my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, when I was a kid, you could only get deliveries from pizza places, some Chinese restaurants. But now almost every place in the entire city delivers via Uber Eats.
Also, it makes it easier for me to support local. I'd rather get a burger from a local mom-and-pop shop, but if I don't want to leave the house that day and the only burger place that does delivery is McDonald's or Wendy's then those would be my only choices. But now I can support local restaurants from the comfort of my home.
Limarc Ambalina, I agree with you. Because of these services, small businesses have a fair fight. One downside that I see in my hometown is the range of delivery. They won't go further than around 10km from the city center. This distance limit makes it lose its appeal for a city like my own, where most people live in the outskirts.
Is there something that would make you lose trust in food delivery services?
Unfortunately, I don't know if the platforms level the playing field so much as respond to increasing customer demand. This push from customers to have this service is driving some innovation that could be beneficial or harmful - I think it goes either way.
Amy Shah hum...interesting. In which ways do you see this being harmful?
Mónica Freitas, not sure if it's what Amy Shah was trying to say, but it may be harmful in a way that promotes a sedentary lifestyle. Plus, if the food is not exactly healthy, it will only aggravate.
Sara Pinto, oh, that's a great point. I guess that's just the way we're heading. We want comfort, and delivery services give us just that: we no longer have to face crowds and long queues and lose time coming and going from restaurants and stores. With Covid, this became even more important, so, despite the sedentary lifestyle it can make us fall into, it is also an incredible perk and, I believe, the new reality.
Mónica Freitas, I have to agree. It gave us a lot of advantages, but like everything, it has to be well managed, so we can make the most of it, and it doesn't prejudice us.
Sara Pinto, well said.