Being the middle man
The challenges that face a delivery driver are many and varietal. From ensuring a customer’s order is correct to securing their physical safety during deliveries, it is essential to keep all aspects of the job in mind.
Part of the job of delivering food is maintaining relationships with the restaurants all the while making sure the company you are delivering for, and the customer is happy. Being a food delivery driver is the definition of being a middle man. By staying on good terms with restaurants, a delivery driver can increase the chance that customers’ orders are correct the first time and are prepared promptly. While packaging the food for delivery, it is always trying to assess how the food will move around during transport and if it will leak everywhere. Frustrating as it may be for the establishment, unpacking an order is vital to ensure it is correct and whole. Nevermind planning ahead and bringing your thermal bags to keep it warm, if necessary, as most companies do not supply you with a way to do so.
Once headed out for delivery, the driver must have a basic knowledge of the area they are delivering to be able to get the food to the customer in the fastest and the safest way possible. Successful drivers can plan a round trip route from the restaurant to sometimes multiple customers. Proper navigation requires the use of multiple maps applications simultaneously as well as the delivery application. So remembering and having access to a power source for charging your mobile device is imperative.
Having done bike delivery on the hills of a small town in California, safety was always my main concern. The biggest challenge faced by being a heavy and large steel bike on the road is you are never as big as the cars you’re merging with. Being a cyclist means always assuming that no one else on the road sees you, as you are always in their blind spot. Secondly, is finding an adequate spot to lock up the bike while you run inside to deliver the food. Never mind the grace and skill it takes to navigate the streets and retain the integrity of the food. The last thing any bike deliverer wants on a hot summer day is to have to bike back to the same place for the same reason just because the food got jumbled.
Delivering food via car is its beast. When delivering food in any city it is beyond challenging to find free parking. Sometimes a delivery driver can get lucky and park in a loading zone. Unfortunately, most times, drivers are forced to pay for parking resulting in the loss of wages that can total up to 20% per delivery. These are just some of the challenges on top of the apparent maintenance of food integrity and driving safety. I have to admit that I have taken the risk of getting a ticket more than once to make sure that delivery was not late as some food delivery companies give incentives for the on-time delivery of orders.
No matter what, when a food delivery driver shows up at the customer’s domicile they are subject to incomplete instructions on where the food should be delivered, wrong or missing apartment numbers, gate code systems, concierges, and hopefully not aggressive animals. Remembering that whether or not you work for the restaurant, you are a brand ambassador and an advertising tool, as such a food deliverer must remain cordial. Either way, getting a tip is less likely than most like to think. I can usually count on one hand how many tips I receive after a dozen deliveries due to the misconception that delivery drivers receive ample tips and a lucrative hourly wage.
About the Author
Haile Williams grew up on Hawaii island and now resides in Seattle, WA. She enjoys anything to do with food and the great outdoors.