During the current pandemic situation, online food ordering and delivery have become more important than ever. With sit-in restaurants closed to the public, delivery is now a vital source of revenue that has allowed restaurants to survive in a difficult time. But they have also faced new challenges and obstacles in order to meet the needs of the modern world.
In order to avoid unnecessary interaction with delivery workers, customers now prefer contactless delivery options, and many apps have been quick to provide this option when ordering. DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats have made it their default option, according to Consumer Reports, while Postmates provides it as an option. Additional options to receive deliveries outside or leave orders at the door can minimize risk of spreading infection and increase customer satisfaction and repeat business. The app can inform the customer when the delivery has taken place to avoid delays in getting their meals, and send a picture to the customer to prove delivery took place.
Another option that apps have enabled is curbside pickup at the store. Customers may prefer this option to either delivery or entering physical stores. However, this is dependent on the merchant’s ability to support it, and while food delivery apps have been quick to enable this feature, the store must be ready to devote resources to promptly servicing curbside pickup before they enable it. If they do, the app can provide store workers with a specified delivery timeslot when customers will arrive for pickup so they spend as little time as possible waiting.
Safety for Employees
While all delivery services have advised workers to stay home if they feel sick, many other measures have been taken to keep their necessary services functioning during the pandemic. Following government health guidelines, workers have been urged to wash hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. This reduces buildup of infectious particles that could get transferred to anything they touch. In addition, workers are now instructed to wear face coverings when out in public or in close contact with others. Any surfaces that they touch regularly, especially in their vehicles, are sprayed and wiped clean to avoid spreading disease to customers.
Both restaurants and delivery apps are working together to ensure that food is delivered in sealed, tamper-proof packaging to further assure customers of their products’ safety. Ensuring that the food is properly cared for from preparation to delivery drastically reduces the amount of human contact the food is exposed to, making it much safer. Tamper-proof containers that are closed after food preparation make it immediately obvious if they have been opened, reassuring customers that safety measures are being practiced carefully.
In the past, many customers may have ordered meals online only one or twice a month, but with massively increased usage of food delivery apps, customers may be looking for more variety in their area. Apps can meet their new tastes by providing better ways for customers to discover and try new restaurants to buy from, letting them search through geographic location data to find the most popular local stores to support. Especially with new restaurants turning to online sales, this situation provides opportunities to expose customers to new favorites in their areas. While this has been a confusing and difficult time for many, food delivery is an industry that is pushing forward in spite of unanticipated problems and working hard to meet the needs of the public. Whether they are large-scale delivery aggregation apps or apps customized for use by individual sellers, online food delivery has proved an effective solution to an unprecedented situation.