In a restaurant that shall remain unidentified, chefs have to keep a close eye on which packaged meals end up where. Did the DoorDash driver get his order? What about UberEats? And GrubHub?
And is that piping hot soup you dished up 30 minutes ago getting cold?
Restaurant delivery services in the Capital Region and beyond are about to get much busier. This week McDonald’s said it was joining with DoorDash to offer home delivery. That’s 10,000 restaurants, including at least 50 locally.
But delivery isn’t new. “They work with UberEats as well,” a spokeswoman for McDonald’s said Thursday.
And a visit to the DoorDash site Thursday afternoon listed 124 restaurants that would deliver to the Times Union.
So why are so many restaurants pursuing home delivery?
Fear of missing out, most likely. “People are not going out to eat as much,” said Kevin Dugan, director of government affairs for the New York Restaurant Association. “For the most part, restaurants view delivery as part of the business model.”
Where a restaurant subscribes to more than one delivery service, cost comparisons may be a challenge.
“Some use flat fees, some a percentage,” said Dugan.
Then there are the discounts and coupons, offset by service fees, delivery fees and even tips, as well as the ease of using the apps themselves.
UberEats, for example, allows you to track the progress of your order in real time, Dugan said.
Restaurateurs need “to take some ownership” of their delivery business, making sure foods are transported safely, Dugan added.
On Thursday afternoon, McDonald’s was offering free delivery with DoorDash on orders of $10 or more. It also offered a monthly subscription for $9.99 that provides unlimited zero delivery fees on orders of $12 or more.
Meanwhile, the unnamed restaurateur at the top of this story on Thursday was having second thoughts about his relationships with outside delivery services.
“When they get the wrong order or the food arrives cold, it’s the restaurant that gets the complaint and the calls,” he said. Traffic problems are another headache during busy periods. And food costs”go through the roof. You’re sharing profits with them.”
But he’s not about to drop delivery services. “People have gotten used to it,” he said.