Recently I started doing deliveries for some of the delivery apps, specifically Uber Eats and Doordash, to make some extra money. It's really interesting to me seeing how things work from the other side. I never really thought about how the whole thing comes together. I just assumed I ordered my food and when it was ready someone brought it to me, but it's not really that simple.
As none of the companies are transparent about how it works either, here's some of my theories. It all starts when you place your order through the app. It differs between restaurants. Some restaurants you have to place the order when you get there and pay with a credit card provided by the service. I will 100% decline every one of these orders. Mostly they are fast food places, and I accidentally accepted one for Wendy's - it was just a pain. People who order fast food rarely tip or tip minimally, so it's just extra work for less pay. On top of that, if the order is messed up it's your fault, so big fat no thanks.
The rest of the restaurants receive their orders via a tablet or phone call from the service placing the order. Again, depending on the restaurant there is either an algorithm in place to decide when to contact a driver for pickup, or they hit a button on the app indicating the food is ready. At this point, it either sends a notification to the closest driver or based on the algorithm, the closest driver will arrive when the food is ready. If all goes well, your food gets picked up in a timely manner and delivered to you quickly. If the offer is really low though, a majority of drivers are going to decline it, and the more it gets declined, the more they up the offer to pick it up until someone does. It can also go to drivers further and further away.
One thing I found really fascinating when I first started was that I got a McDonalds order for $15 which is pretty uncommon because they're usually 3-5$. After delivery, I can see when it was ordered and when I delivered it. This one had been ordered over an hour before I even accepted it. So order fast food for delivery at your own risk.
In the recent past there were lots of drivers saying that tipping in cash was the way to go, but this isn't necessarily true anymore. If you're ordering through Uber Eats, yes absolutely tip in cash. We can't see if you've tipped us until an hour after the delivery, which is why I'll only do them if they have a high boost or surge in effect, the 3-5$ base pay isn't worth it if the customer doesn't tip. With Doordash though, you should absolutely tip in app. Base pay for deliveries is on average 2-5$. In Doordash we see the total amount, so I'm declining anything under 5$ and most under 7$. But it's really based on how far it is - it's not worth it to me to accept anything under 1$ per mile.
Something else to keep in mind when ordering is where the restaurant located. Is it in the middle of a mall where finding parking and walking in is going to take a significant amount of time? Is it a holiday and that mall parking lot is going to be a shit show? Is it a restaurant that's on a busy street that rarely has parking and the restaurant has no parking of their own? These are all the reasons you don't want to go there yourself or just don't think about when ordering delivery.
Some tips I can give you to make your delivery go smoother!
- If you are ordering delivery while at work or staying at a hotel, please put the name of the business in the delivery address or notes.
- If you want the restaurant to put utensils in the bag or the receipt, anything to that effect, you have to put that in the "add special instructions" while still in the ordering screen. If you put it in the delivery instruction notes for your driver, they don't see it until they have swiped that they've picked up your order. I usually do this when I'm already in my car.
- If it's nighttime, please turn on your porch light so I can see the number of your building! If there isn't a number on the building or it's hard to see, simple instructions are great! "5th house on left from intersection of main and south" for instance;is helpful.
- Stop putting your phone number in the notes for me to call you when I arrive. I can call you from in app. I don't need your phone number and I don't want you having my personal number, no offense but I'm not dealing with a call from you because said restaurant didn't include your sauce.
- I've been told iphone auto declines calls from us and I've had a couple deliveries where I'm guessing that's what happened. So iphone users beware. That being said, you get notifications from the app every step of the way. It tells you when we've picked up your food, when we're getting close, and when we have arrived. If it has been five minutes since I arrived and you haven't got a call, maybe pop your head outside to see if I'm not able to contact you. If I can't contact you I've got an 8 minute timer that starts after I've called you and got no answer. When that runs out I'm leaving your food on your steps / porch and moving on.
- If something is missing you should contact the delivery service, they will either refund you or dispatch another driver to deliver it. I will not get paid to go back to the restaurant and pick it up for you. My job is to take food from point A to point B. Most of the time the restaurants give me the food in a sealed bag which I'm not ripping open to check as then it definitely looks tampered with. I have ordered delivery enough myself to know I do not want most of these people digging through my food.
- Think about the mechanics of something you order. I read about someone who accepted a drink order from starbucks for 19 drinks. How do you safely transport that? I recently had an order for six drinks. The restaurant thankfully had drink trays, but one of them was a large root beer float which was foaming out the top and trying to tip over constantly. On top of that, this guy ordered a pizza, two dinners, and four ice creams. Two bags, plus pizza box and two drink trays. Thankfully he met me in the parking lot, because there was no way one person was carrying all that!
After you have received your delivery and everything went well you can rate your drivers. Uber Eats offers a simple thumbs up / thumbs down. While Doordash has a 5 star system. The problem with this is your account can get deactivated if your customer rating is under 4.20 which sucks because most people think giving you a rating of 4 is good. Unless the driver is very rude or unprofessional, I give everyone 5 stars.
Tipping is a whole other story. In restaurants it's standard 20% which doesn't really carry over here. Lots of things you should consider. I see lots of people saying 5$ or 20% whichever is more and that's probably better than most people tip in my experience. But also keep in mind the driver also has to drive back to somewhere they will get more orders, so if you're out in the middle of nowhere, consider $1 a mile to and from. I know it's completely up to you as to if you tip or not. But really it's the same as in restaurants, if you can't afford to tip you can't afford to eat out. Same here, I refuse to deliver to college campuses because in my experience the tips are rare.