Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

weinoo

One or More Reasons Why I Loathe Delivery Apps

Recommended Posts

I confess - I loathe delivery apps.  I confess - I've never used a single delivery app for a single delivery of a meal. Years ago, when they (grub hub, seamless, door dash, uber eats, et al.) first were rearing their ugly heads, I had a friend who was an early adopter; I complained to said friend that all the apps would do would be to increase the cost to consumers, as well as to chip away at the meager profits of small restaurants. He didn't cook at home and he didn't care; case closed.

 

Oh sure - let's face it - I used delivery. But didn't we all back in simpler times, simply by calling up our local Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese/Pizza/sandwich/bodega place (A friend literally used to order Tab and cigarette delivery from her bodega - those were the days!)?  

 

I knew that when I ordered a bowl of wonton noodle soup, some stir fried pork with mixed vegetables (don't tell my rabbi) and some shrimp with black bean sauce from Tang Tang (now New Tang's Garden) on 76th and 3rd, it would arrive at our apartment practically before I'd hung up the phone,  And the guy would climb 4 flights of stairs to deliver it. We had a relationship.

 

I knew, for years after we moved downtown and started to order Saturday lunch sandwiches from Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop, that it would always be the same guy who would deliver said sandwiches to us - without getting lost trying to find our building. We had a relationship.

 

And when my delivery guy from Noodle Village arrived with a sack full of noodle soup, some sandy pot chicken and mushroom rice and a small order of stir fried greens with garlic, looking all sorts of disheveled, and I asked him if he was ok, his response was (I'll keep this clean): "Too much f*^%ing last night!" We had a relationship.

 

And those relationships now? Well, let's just say they've gone the way of rotary phones, touch-tone phones, talking on phones and black & white TV's.  I mean after all, if 95% of one's life is spent looking down at an iPhone while walking the crowded streets of NYC, or worse yet, riding on a damn electric scooter that gets dropped off and picked up via an app, what should I expect?  Delivery apps are here to stay, I guess. Doesn't mean we should like them, does it?

 

Take a look at what the grey lady had to say yesterday (my guess is it's not just limited to France):

 

Food-Delivery Couriers Exploit Desperate Migrants in France

 

Quote

These jobs have become more precarious,” said Jean-Daniel Zamor, president of the Independent Deliverymen’s Collective in Paris, a group that works on labor issues for couriers. “The fact that there is less money from the platforms has pushed poor people to outsource to people even poorer than them.

   

And The Wall St. Journal just weighed in last week, about the issues restaurants face with using the apps:

 

Some Restaurants Get Served in Delivery Boom

 

Quote

Many independent restaurants say they work with multiple online-delivery apps because they have become so pervasive; without them, they fear missing out on business. But that doesn’t mean they come cheap. Last year, Modern Restaurant Management reported that Uber Eats was charging restaurants a service fee of 30% of the bill. Similarly, a 2018 analysis by Business.com found select New York restaurants that opted for sponsored listings, in addition to delivery services, ended up paying a minimum of 30% to Grubhub.

 

Who do you think is paying that 30% folks?

 

So, let's just say I was ahead of the curve in my dislike of this particular segment of the gig economy.  And let's just say that instead of Uber Eats, why not cook a meal or two at home?

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect you may be preaching to the choir here... I'd be curious to know how many people reading this at eGullet actually use app-based delivery on any kind of regular basis. A couple of times a year I get pizza delivered, but always directly from the pizza place, never via an independent app. On a whim I once had cookies delivered to a class I was teaching, but again, direct from Insomnia, not via an outside app. Does anyone here find themselves using one of the multi-restaurant delivery services?

  • Like 1

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never used an app-based delivery for anything.  Like Chris, we do order direct from a pizza place maybe once or twice a year and that's it.  Oh, and a long time ago we would order Chinese food from a particular restaurant, also delivered by them.  I can't wrap my head around ordering a "meal" from a restaurant.  That's not to say I never will, especially when I'm older and cooking becomes difficult.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with all the above and would add that some of these Uber guys are sketchy as hell and don’t want them unsupervised around my food. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No delivery service at all here. Hardly ever go out to eat either!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

I suspect you may be preaching to the choir here... I'd be curious to know how many people reading this at eGullet actually use app-based delivery on any kind of regular basis. A couple of times a year I get pizza delivered, but always directly from the pizza place, never via an independent app. On a whim I once had cookies delivered to a class I was teaching, but again, direct from Insomnia, not via an outside app. Does anyone here find themselves using one of the multi-restaurant delivery services?

 

We used a local delivery app (not one of the big chains, though those are available, too) a good deal leading up to and right after the move, when I was to exhausted to cook and even to get out and pick up takeout. We have only two restaurant-based delivery options, a Chinese and a handfull of pizza places (including one very good local pizza parlor). It didn't take me long to get sick of it. 

 

I will, however, happily use the "clicklist" option from the supermarket, particularly as I buy very few fresh vegetables and very little meat, the two things you are most likely to want to see or touch, from the grocery. I mean, it's not a big deal to order online a bag of potatoes or a pound of bacon, but beyond that, I'm for the most part buying from farmers or at the farmers' market.

  • Like 2

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other than Chinese or pizza or maybe BBQ, I can’t get the idea of ordering a restaurant meal to be delivered in a bunch of take out containers. Fried stuff is ruined. Everything is cooled off. Yuck. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prior to the advent of those apps, the only delivery option in my area was pizza.  And not good pizza, either.  I have never used app-based delivery but I don't loathe them either.  In the days after surgery on my right hand impaired my cooking and cleaning abilities, I came close to ordering but I don't fancy the idea of paying restaurant prices for food that's been driving around in boxes for 20 or 30 min.  That said, if I'm really desperate someday, I like knowing there are some options out there.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other than pizza delivery in college* I've never used food delivery service.  Last time the deliveryman was holding a gun on the thief who had poached a piece from my pie.  And, no, I did not get a discount.

 

*and once long ago steamed clams for an event.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m no lover of these services either, however in the interests of balance I’ll throw in some thoughts on why they are so successful. 

 

As I see it apps like ubereats, deliveroo, etc address two consumer needs:

 

1. Delivery from places that don’t currently offer the service. Depending on where you live this can be a real limiting factor. 

 

2. The desire to avoid talking to strangers on the phone - like it or not, lots of people prefer an interaction with an app over calling a real person to place an order. Add in the ability to avoid the need for cash and it just removes a lot of friction that people often perceive. 

 

Until food places address these these two issues there’ll be a place for for these services. Even then there’ll be an attraction to having a single app for multiple restaurants - were probably tilting at windmills. 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 So when my granddaughter first introduced me to these delivery apps I was quite excited. Only pizza and Chinese food were available here by delivery until the advent of these new services.   But by the time I added up the fee for delivery plus the expected tip to the cost of the food, it certainly didn’t seem like it was going to show up very often  as an item on my credit/debit card. 

 

 Without going into the rather boring details of why, I do confess to using a service once.

 

I happen to like KFC.  It’s a nostalgia thing. I know I can freeze deep fried chicken and reheat it very satisfactorily in the Cuisinart Steam Oven.  And I was becoming quite sick of pizza and Chinese food.  

 

So I placed an order.

 

Being not very conversant with how the whole thing operated, my order landed up in a town some distance from me instead of from my local KFC.   The delivery person, while staring at me as though I had two heads, asked me why I had ordered it from that particular store at a higher delivery cost than I could have ordered it locally.  I could only mumble that I was new to the whole idea.

 

 In order to maximize my dollars I had ordered two buckets of chicken pieces.

 

 Aside from my  mistake on where to order it from, the operation was quite seamless. I might’ve continued using this service but only if I could maximize my order. One Big Mac was not going to cut it.

 

 But when @Kerry Bealdescribed to me how these services were hurting the small independent restaurant owner,  I swore them off for good. 

 

There are a number of family operated places where Kerry and I enjoy lunch and I would not be happy knowing that I had  in anyway harmed them. 

 

I doubt my actions will have any real impact.  But each morning when I look in the mirror I can still mostly tolerate myself.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 7

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

I suspect you may be preaching to the choir here... I'd be curious to know how many people reading this at eGullet actually use app-based delivery on any kind of regular basis. A couple of times a year I get pizza delivered, but always directly from the pizza place, never via an independent app. On a whim I once had cookies delivered to a class I was teaching, but again, direct from Insomnia, not via an outside app. Does anyone here find themselves using one of the multi-restaurant delivery services?

 

I try not to preach...I started what I believed to be an interesting topic about Food Traditions and Culture, based on this reporting:

 

Quote

84% of U.S. adults ordering delivery or takeout at least once a month

 

So that's, doing some quick back of the envelope math, about 168 million people based on the 2018 US census.

 

The second sentence of the quoted post is interesting as well, and a nice way to steer the OP away from the point it was attempting to make. Might've even been a good topic on its own.


Edited by weinoo (log)
  • Like 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Anna N said:

  But when @Kerry Bealdescribed to me how these services were hurting the small independent restaurant owner,  I swore them off for good. 

 

There are a number of family operated places where Kerry and I enjoy lunch and I would not be happy knowing that I had  in anyway harmed them. 

 

Thanks, @Anna N.  You summarized the point I was attempting to make very nicely.

  • Like 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like TdeV, we don't have anyone who delivers out here but I wouldn't use the services even if they were available for the same reason I never use take-out--the waste stream.  While our trash service includes the pick up of recyclables, no Styrofoam is allowed, nor is cardboard that has been in contact with food.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We order in quite a bit.  I wish we didn't have to, but work/time pressures are what they are... so, if I don't want to eat at 10PM and go to bed at 10:30, that's it.  Sometimes we use Caviar, which gives us access to restaurants that wouldn't normally deliver to our area.  If getting delivery from a few blocks away, personally, I like to call the restaurant and order directly, but my wife (who hates to use the telephone) usually winds up using Seamless.

 

I have noticed that some restaurants charge slightly higher prices on their Seamless menus than they would if you called directly...  but in general, I justify using the apps by saying that if I didn't order from this restaurant using the app, I'd probably order from somewhere else. So, even though they are subjected to fees, they're getting an order they might not get otherwise.  Plus, I can't imagine that any business would belong to an association like this that would cause them to lose money.  Sure, they may not make as much profit as if you called directly, but if they were losing money on each sale, why bother using the service to begin with?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2019 at 8:31 AM, KennethT said:

but if they were losing money on each sale, why bother using the service to begin with?

Many stores use what they call loss leaders, in hopes of getting customers to buy other stuff; or perhaps maybe the customer will then want to dine in at a restaurant they've ordered delivery from but hadn't tried previously?

 


Edited by weinoo (log)
  • Like 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I wouldn't use an app , or order a ' dinner ' from a restaurant.  Im App-less.

 

however , now that Im retired , I have more time than most.  and in my area , close by

 

there are 3 grocery stores that cook their own food , and have individual meals in refrigerated trays that I might

 

pick up during the day, refrigerate , and reheat at dinner time.

 

I know this is off the topic , but keep this sort of thing in mind if it fits your schedule and the food is close by.

 

the Turkey Dinner at one market  , is almost as good as mine.  well  not the gravy.  and the mashed potatoes

 

are real.   the stuffing is a bit salty

 

and there is a, no longer new, Wagmans very close by.  they have far more exotic trays of food.

 

just a thought


Edited by rotuts (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, KennethT said:

We order in quite a bit. 

Thank you.  I think we need to hear both sides. 

  • Like 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get why the majority of people on egullet don’t use delivery apps. They’re good to great cooks. I am neither. 

  I have almost two decades of experience working in restaurants; mainly in fine dining. My mother is a very good home cook so I never really had to learn how to cook. I mean I know how to in terms of temperatures and food safety and what techniques to use on various proteins and vegetables but I know that in theory, not in practice. And I enjoy reading and seeing what others can do, and envy it. 

 

  That said, I do not have an intuition when it comes to cooking. My husband’s schedule is extremely random and fluxuates despite plans due to the nature of cyber security. So I often don’t want to cook (which can be frustrating for me) when I have no clue when he will be home. 

 

   I use and have used GrubHub (they bought out Seamless which I used when I worked in Manhattan), UberEats and Postmates all within the past week, multiple times. All of these platforms provide us with meals from locally owned businesses. 

    Of course it’s costly depending on what we’re ordering— two nights ago it was pizza and tonight it was hibachi. It works for us. 

    Tomorrow we will be grilling and on Monday I will likely make a lasagna we can eat for 2-3 days. After that? Who knows.

 

  Also, while I could call local establishments and at times still do, some of them don’t speak English well so trying to spell out my address and distinguish between Bs and Ds has been problematic. These apps take that frustration factor away. Another plus is if we are paying via credit card (which is often I just never think to bother to have cash on hand) I am not giving the number, expiration date and security code to a stranger who is repeating that information back to me in front of god knows who else. 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

from the WSJ Monday , 24 A :

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/restaurants-are-arm-twisting-delivery-companies-to-lower-fees-11561282202?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=4

 

Its probably behind a payWall , but maybe someone knows a round ab0ut

 

for review purposes only :

 

""

Some of the biggest restaurant operators are pushing back against fees charged by delivery companies, turning up the heat on young businesses already wrestling with rivals in an increasingly crowded market for bringing food to people’s doors.

Restaurants were quick to sign up with delivery companies such as Grubhub Inc.GRUB -0.79% and Postmates Inc. to reach more customers. Now, growing competition in the delivery business is emboldening many restaurants to seek lower rates from such companies. McDonald’s Corp. , Applebee’s and Cousins Submarines Inc. are among chains negotiating to pay lower commissions and asking their delivery partners to spend more on marketing and promotional discounts, people familiar with the negotiations said. 

 

Restaurateurs say high fees dent their profits. They add that lower fees and more promotional spending by delivery companies could increase customer choice by enticing more establishments to offer delivery. 

Delivery has quickly emerged as one of the biggest conundrums facing the food business, from restaurants to groceries. Consumers want the convenience, but the technology and logistics required to get it right—whether in-house or through an outside provider—often are more costly, outweighing any additional revenue generated.

""

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rotuts said:

 

Delivery has quickly emerged as one of the biggest conundrums facing the food business, from restaurants to groceries. Consumers want the convenience, but the technology and logistics required to get it right—whether in-house or through an outside provider—often are more costly, outweighing any additional revenue generated.

""

Right - my main objection is just adding an additional layer of cost to, eventually, the consumer.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@weinoo

 

its always a wise idea to ' cut out the middle person ' if you can

 

App people are paying , one way or another for convenience , and over the long run

 

its overpriced.  think how much people are paying for the current fad :

 

" subscriptions "   :  Netflix , streaming audio , etc

 

convenient it seems , vastly over priced in the long run.

 

it eats up your eventual retirement , and then its too late.

 

not really wishing to rain on anyones Parade, but  please

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, rotuts said:

@weinoo

 

its always a wise idea to ' cut out the middle person ' if you can

 

App people are paying , one way or another for convenience , and over the long run

 

its overpriced.  think how much people are paying for the current fad :

 

" subscriptions "   :  Netflix , streaming audio , etc

 

convenient it seems , vastly over priced in the long run.

 

it eats up your eventual retirement , and then its too late.

 

not really wishing to rain on anyones Parade, but  please

 

 

  We wouldn’t order through various apps if we couldn’t responsibly afford it. I can imagine people younger than me living in cities, overworked and tired spending without thinking just to eat without having to really do anything. 

 

  I have a lot of worries in life (I’m a worrier) but finances are low on the list. I’m very fortunate. 

 

  Also on the flip side, people are making a living and not a bad one at that, working for UberEats, Doordash and Postmates. I tip 20% because if I’m too lazy to cook or pick up food then I think the drivers deserve compensation for my laziness. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm late to this roundup but I remember many years ago, in the early 1960s when I was growing up in Boulder, Colorado, there was a delivery service that brought fried chicken dinners to your door. I still remember the slogan: "Don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight!" I'm pretty sure they didn't have a restaurant per se, just a facility that cooked chicken to order. The delivery vehicle was a car with a lighted plastic chicken on top, so that all your neighbors could see that you were too lazy to cook. If I recall, the chicken wasn't that good, but I can't say that my parents ordered very often (we lived out in the country so probably delivery wasn't available).

 

Thanks to this discussion I can't get that damned jingle out of my head!

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  • Like 3
  • Haha 5

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the "relationship" cited in the OP is precisely what many folks wish to avoid.  

 

That piece of it -- no neighborhood resto (aka, "no neighbor") all up in my business; no judgment; no holiday-season weirdness -- has got nothing to do with morality about costs to businesses, or to consumers either. 

 

I actually think a HUGE component of this app world is about allowing people to conduct a big range of their business without having to tolerate much person-to-person interaction -- let alone the consequence of person-to-person interaction with the same person every week:  relationship.  

 

But anyway, back on topic -- I don't do a lot of takeout (it's just not usually what I'm looking for in a restaurant meal);  but for what it's worth, the delivery apps offer those of us who live in far north Manhattan a MUCH greater range of delivery options than the actual restaurants do.  I fully understand all the ways that this is costly, but I also understand how a person can make desperately poor decisions when they are hungry and tired and have some money at their disposal.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...