Food Delivery Apps Are in Desperate Need of Regulation

Photo Credit/ Natalie Irula

Natalie Irula

Editor-in-Chief

I drive for Uber Eats and DoorDash.

I also order, quite a lot.

This business is truly booming, especially in the midst of a pandemic. However, there is a lot that needs to be changed in terms of the food delivery process.

As a customer, the one thing that I have an issue with is the blatant ignoring of the delivery instructions.

When you order, you have an option of choosing a no-contact delivery method. This is great! Especially seeing as you’re dealing with a stranger at your door.

There is also an option to write specific delivery instructions for your driver.

Because I am a driver, I know that they get these specific instructions in the app, as well as separate text messages that the apps send directly to their phones.

In my delivery instructions, I always choose no-contact delivery and it always says to leave it at the door and to not ring the doorbell. I make sure to add in a please and thank you in there, of course.

And yet, I still get people who wait at the door until someone comes to open it.

I have seen drivers incessantly ring the doorbell until I come down to take the food from them directly. I have had people do the same thing with knocking.

I have a dog who is a rescue and who responds very badly to the doorbell.

People could have babies that are sleeping or have someone who is immunocompromised in the house.

I truly do not understand what makes it so hard to simply read the instructions on the app.

As a driver, there are many things there are problems with.

Uber Eats, I must say, is very user freindly on the driver’s end. One of its best qualities is its built in GPS, which works great!

DoorDash, on the other hand, opens up your phone’s GPS. This would be fine if the address didn’t sometimes copy over wrong and send you to a completely wrong location.

Many restaurants also have specific guidelines drivers have to follow, which can be very long and complicated. I think this is something that should be regulated.

DoorDash also has a percentage points system, where you lose points when you don’t make it to the destination within their unrealistic time limit or when you decline or cancel a trip.

When your percentage goes down, you get less orders in the long run. If two people are currently “dashing” and one is closer to the restaurant but has a lower percentage, the trip will go to the other person instead.

The one thing I don’t like that these apps both share is the need to text and drive.

You are getting constant messages, both from the app or from the customer. In order to respond safely, you have to pull over… but remember, if you don’t get there on time, points are deducted!

In general, it is a relatively low stress job when compared with retail or food service.

However, if you drive in a city area, it can be overwhelming to be completing up to three orders at once, especially when you’re time-constrained.

These apps also don’t account for traffic, detours, accidents or even getting lost driving around unknown locations.

Speaking of unknown locations, driving around in a city you don’t know well could lead to accidently finding yourself somewhere unsafe. Because of COVID-19 precautions, they advise you drive alone.

Crime against delivery drivers has gone up since the start of these apps. However, there is no way to know which areas to avoid or to be careful around.

Seperately, most of us will have experienced a time when your order was wrong or when something was missing.

Delivery drivers are both not to open a sealed bag and to check to make sure everything is there. I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to do both.

There is no regulation of what people bought getting to their houses. If a driver wanted to take some of someone’s order that is not in a sealed bag, like drinks and small sides, they could.

The apps then recompense the customer as soon as they say something is missing. There is nothing really stopping anyone from saying that their order is incomplete when it is.

This whole system is in need of some regulation and efficiency-oriented updates. Hopefully they happen soon to help both customers and drivers.

Email Natalie at:

nirula@live.esu.edu

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