TECH ROUNDUP: NOT ENOUGH DELIVERY DRIVERS

As restaurants struggle to find enough workers, food delivery companies are having hiring issues of their own.

Growing demand for delivery over the past year combined with renewed hiring in other sectors is putting pressure on companies such as Uber Eats to keep enough people driving.

“As more people are vaccinated, demand from customers has increased. We’re working to bring more drivers and delivery people onto the road, and for anyone interested, now is a great chance to earn money flexibly on your own schedule,” said Meghan Casserly, Uber Eats’ head of communications, in an email.

Uber last week unveiled a $250 million recruiting push aimed at ride-share drivers, which could take driver share from its delivery business.

Meanwhile, both DoorDash and Uber Eats are ramping up service to other segments such as grocery, convenience and pharmaceuticals, which could be another factor stretching networks thin.

A DoorDash spokeswoman said it had added 2 million drivers since September 2020, but did not comment on shortages. A Grubhub spokesperson declined to share specifics about the company’s driver levels, but said it is always keeping an eye on operations in each market to make sure it has the right number of drivers.

Restaurants, however, have seen driver deficits reflected in longer wait times and spotty service, according to participants in Restaurant Business’ ongoing Restaurant Community event last week.

California Fish Grill, for instance, has noticed too many delivery orders stretching to the 40-minute mark, said Paul Potvin, CFO of the 40-unit chain. And Firehouse Subs has had delivery services temporarily stop accepting orders due to driver shortages in some areas, said Risa Rappaport, the chain’s director of off-premise operations.

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