Growth in the restaurant delivery industry is offering more opportunities to drivers and restaurants throughout the country; drivers are offered full autonomy with their work schedule, and delivery is now more affordable for many restaurants. But, are there more severe consequences?
The growth in the industry has created more demand for delivery services. People have more access to variety and quality of delivery food that was previously unavailable. As a result, restaurants that did not previously offer delivery are now over-saturated with outgoing orders. Assuming the time it takes to prepare food for delivery and for patrons of the restaurant is the same, increased demand for delivery results in a decline of customer service.
As a result of the decline in internal customer service, drivers are experiencing unfair expectations from restaurants to help fill orders. As one driver describes, restaurant employees are asking drivers to spend their wait times preparing drinks for delivery customers, to compensate for their increased workload. Likewise, customers are expecting door-step delivery service, despite certain protocols requesting their exchange at the curb-side.
Many are concerned as well about the environmental and economic impacts of this rising industry; what with more demand for drivers, is traffic seeing any impact? Are fuel prices rising? Is this industry helping or hurting the environment? It is hard to know. On the one hand, assuming a customer would not drive themselves for take-out or dine-in, the delivery driver is solving a problem at the cost of contributing to higher emissions; but on the other, assuming the customer would take it upon themselves to patronize a restaurant instead, the driver is simply replacing what would have been one customer on the road already. Consider that the customer would have parked, and the driver might continue to take orders; the length of the shift the driver is working, and what quality of fuel the car burns would also factor in.
Due to how young the industry is, there’s no way to measure yet what significant effects these delivery services will have on the economy and the environment. We can only hope that carpooling and delivery apps can address problems with the same diligence as public transportation systems.