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Culture News Opinion What's New

Food Delivery Services Offer Customers Incentives During Covid-19 Concerns, But What About Their Drivers?

Yesterday, Postmates announced that it would be slashing delivery fees in half for orders worth more than $10 between the hours of 10am-2pm, capitalizing on the recent wave of social isolation due to COVID-19. 

This comes only two days after the company made a dual announcement, stating that it planned to waive commission fees for restaurants, therefore allowing them to join and use the app for free, as well as pay for any COVID-19 medical expenses their drivers accrued. 

The two announcements serve as a microcosm of the juxtaposition delivery services currently lie in: with business surging due to the increased number of people staying home,  what’s the proper response to their workers, who lie at the frontline of exposure, and their struggling restaurant partners?

There appears to be no clear cut answer. 

Postmates took some of the first action in early March by introducing non-contact deliveries, allowing customers to choose a drop off location for their food. But, with most companies working from home, American cities beginning to shut down entirely, and most delivery services remaining tight-lipped about the issues, drivers felt left in the dust.

As lawmakers pressed companies like DoorDash and Uber to improve situations for their workers, food delivery services scrambled to distance themselves from the issue. DoorDash and InstaCart quickly announced paid sick leave for workers diagnosed with COVID-19, and Postmates took the aforementioned measures.

This still doesn’t leave drivers with much room to breath, though. If one is infected, money will be lost regardless, either in the form of time spent going to the doctors or time spent quarantined.

Grubhub took effort to help only restaurants, with a similar strategy to Postmates, by slashing their marketing fees. No word, however, was said about the affected Grubhub delivery drivers.

Though, certainly, these companies seem to be trying to help their associated restaurants and individuals, business is still going on as usual.

And we’ve seen, in multiple countries, what will happen if business goes on as usual, and what happens when it doesn’t.

Delivery services can’t come to terms with the scale of the virus, and the measures it’s going to take to prevent widespread infection. There’s too much money to be lost. And, with no one wanting to leave the house, and drivers relying on the wage they earn for sustenance, the money will continue to roll in.

As long as delivery companies are delivering, and drivers are still dependent on work, ordering delivery with timely promotions doesn’t offer much of an ethical issue. Though, the privilege of being able to put another human at-risk to allow oneself to self-isolate should be noted, and also warrant a hell of a tip.

But, if these companies are as serious as they say they are about preventing infection, that would mean halting business for a week or two, since their entire business plans revolve around sending drivers through different cities to interact with others. This, in turn, would probably harm already struggling restaurants, as well. 

It’s hard to see a right answer with how our gastronomic economy is set up. It’s an ecosystem that runs out of necessity, one that won’t stop turning until it’s forced to.

Categories
Feel Good Food Policy Food Waste Restaurants

Postmates’ FoodFight! Initiative Aims To Combat Hunger And Reduce Food Waste

Every night in the city of Los Angeles, there’s an estimated 53,000 homeless people that suffer from hunger. Some other disheartening facts about homelessness in LA are that 15% are family units often headed by a single mother and 25% suffer from mental illness.

Further research reveals it to be an epidemic plaguing the second most populous city in the United States. Faced with these staggering statistics, it’s easy to feel helpless. Rent is skyrocketing and neighborhoods are being gentrified as longtime residents are pushed out. With only 1,270 missions and 24 emergency shelters in Los Angeles County, solutions to the homeless equation seem akin to trying to solve time travel.

Despite these facts, I’m of the belief that it’s better to try than to succumb to hopelessness. One brand that shares that sentiment is Postmates. In partnership with Working Not Working and Vice, FoodFight! was launched in February of 2018. FoodFight! is a new initiative started by Postmates to combat hunger amongst America’s homeless population and reduce food waste in the restaurant industry. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance conducted a study in 2014 that found 84.3% of unused food in American restaurants is disposed of, 14.3% is recycled, and only 1.4% is donated.

Los Angeles has fast become one of the most generous contributors to the initiative with 4 of the top 5 restaurants being based within the city. This year, Postmates introduced 41 new cities nationwide to deliver food from participating restaurants to those in need. Emily Slade, Working Not Working’s Head of Growth & FoodFight! Ambassador had this to say:

“If we can eliminate the friction in the donation process by making it as easy as calling Postmates to make the food donation delivery, then we can really make an impact.”

While still in it’s pilot phase, FoodFight! is rapidly expanding as more restaurants are participating nationwide. Although it may not be the end all be all in the fight against homelessness and hunger, FoodFight!’s focus on waste reduction within the restaurant industry is a great step towards improving how we manage our leftover food. As FoodFight! continues to grow, restaurants and non-profits are invited to join the initiative by emailing foodfight@postmates.com.

Categories
Technology What's New

You Can Now Use Postmates To Order Food At Dodger Stadium

If standing in line at a ballgame sounds like a drag, the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to make your in-game eating experience a little easier through “Postmates Live.”

Starting Wednesday, August 7, through the rest of the Dodger season (And into the postseason), Dodger Stadium will be testing in-seat ordering from their “Top Deck” section, with plans of a full stadium release in the 2020 season.

That means that you no longer have to stand in lines for a hot dog, wait for the machine to process your card, wait for it to spit out the receipt, then wait for the cashier to shuffle to the back to get your food.

You just select what you want through the Postmates app, place the order and pay on your phone, then pick it up once a notification pops up to let you know it’s ready. Even better news, there are no pesky fees attached to the service.

Postmates tested a similar activation at Dodger Stadium during 2018’s Camp Flog Gnaw Festival. A couple handfuls of vendors at the festival teamed with Postmates, having the menu items on the app for your to order. A few minutes after punching in your order, a notification would alert you that it’s ready to be picked up.

Festival lines can get pretty crazy, and the feature worked great at the time, so long as you had decent reception, which can prove to be difficult at a music festival.

Still, the fact that this is being tested at a sports stadium is pretty groundbreaking, and could prove to be the answer to long concession lines and missing a bulk of the game.

It’d be even nicer to have it delivered to your seat, but that takes a whole different infrastructure with extra bodies to deliver, a system that allows you to input your seat, and the ever-uncomfortable tipping process that gets muddled unless each individual delivery person is inputted in the system.

If you’ve ever waited 25 minutes in line, missing an inning of the game just for food, this new Postmates collab is a life saver, and could easily be the future of in-game dining.

Categories
News The Katchup

Foodbeast CEO Boycotts Food Delivery Apps Amid Controversies

 

Quotes used in this article have been transcribed from the Foodbeast Katchup podcast episode “#87: Snoop Dogg Headlining A Noodle Festival.”

After a heated podcast discussion involving food delivery apps, and their continuous questionable practices over the years, Foodbeast CEO and The Katchup co-host Geoffrey Kutnick vowed to boycott all food delivery apps.

A lot of the conversation was centered around the recent news of food delivery apps such as Door Dash using its driver’s tips to cover a promised base pay, instead of adding on top of it, as most tipping systems usually do.

“I’m not going to use delivery service apps,” Kutnick proclaimed. “I’ll take a stand right here. I do not like what’s happening. And the only way I can contribute to ‘I don’t like that,’ is ‘Cool, I won’t use it.'”

While DoorDash CEO Tony Xu promised to make changes to its pay model, the controversy might still haunt them for a little while, as a class action lawsuit has been filed against DoorDash, with it reading:

“DoorDash financed its growth by taking tips paid by its users and meant for hard-working delivery workers. Mr. Arkin and all other class members that used DoorDash should recover, at a minimum, all tips that were never paid to the delivery workers.”

While DoorDash has been the company under fire of late, the other digital food delivery services don’t exactly get a pass, as the podcast episode also delved into a past lawsuit accusing Postmates’ delivering In-N-Out without the restaurant’s consent, Grubhub’s alleged tactic of creating tens of thousands of restaurant websites without consent, and how all these apps prey on cash-strapped people with promises of high payouts.

Only time will tell where the future of these delivery services goes from here. From the possibility of self-driving cars taking over to threats of workers unionizing, it’s an interesting wrinkle in the industry that is having its bumps at the moment.

Categories
Technology

Postmates Launches Delivery Bot That Fits 50 LBS Of Food

Not even delivery drivers are safe from the robot revolution, and Postmates‘ latest revelation is living proof.

Its name is “Serve,” can fit up to 50 pounds of food, and will be able to travel up to 30 miles on a single charge.

“We realized we are in a unique position to create an autonomous delivery vehicle with socially aware navigation that understands how to navigate cities while meeting specific customer needs,” Bastian Lehmann, Postmates co-founder and CEO, said. “We took a design-first approach with Serve that walks alongside people and fits into our communities.”

If the concept of a delivery bot doesn’t give you the heebie jeebies, maybe the fact that Postmates developed a “language for rovers and humans to understand each other’s intentions,” will give you some goosebumps.

Serve is so refined, that it has sensors that tell it when to change direction, when to communicate, and how to make its way through sidewalks.

Over the next 12 months, the delivery bot of the future will be tested in the Los Angeles area, as Postmates continues to look for additional cities to work with.

In that time, Angelenos can order their Salt & Straw, Shake Shack, or anything else on Postmates, while a cute little robot drops it off.

Hopefully it doesn’t turn all Terminator on me when I “forget” my wallet and don’t tip.

Categories
Hacks Restaurants

7 Food Delivery Hacks That Will Come Through In The Clutch

Food delivery has taken the country by storm without question, but it comes with plenty of tradeoffs. On the one hand, there’s a lot that being in the restaurant has to offer, including the freshness of the food, that you lose out on. However, being at home and getting the food to come straight to you also provides its conveniences.

By looking at what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to delivery, it’s possible to mitigate the cons and transform the food delivery experience into the jack-of-all-trades we can lifehack it to be. From using our stovetops to saving on water for dishes, there’s plenty of small changes we can make when ordering in that’ll take the experience up to a whole new level.

Here’s a few quick hacks that you can easily pull off the next time you’re ordering delivery.

Reboil Your Broths

When ordering pho or ramen, you want that broth to be piping hot to get the maximum enjoyment out of it. Since it usually arrives at your door slightly cooled down, reheating is the best option here. Microwaves can be pretty uneven with bringing every part of your container to temperature, so bringing it up to a boil on your stove is the way to go. Your tastebuds and stomach will be thanking you.

The Perfectly Timed Delivery

Photo: Lok Shesa // Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0

It may take a while to master this, but if you can time your delivery order so it arrives at home the same time you do, there’s no need to wait. It requires knowing how long your commute home is and how long the delivery will take, but that extra attention to detail will be worth the result.

Keep Rice On Deck

Photo: Aaron Goodwin // Flickr CC 2.0

One of the biggest gripes with delivery is the extra charge all of that rice can stack on. Why pay a huge markup for the starch when you’ve got bags of it in your apartment? Whether you make a couple of cups in the rice cooker or have a microwaveable pouch on standby, it’ll help save a bit of money in the long run.

Take Advantage Of Your Toaster Oven/Air Fryer

Nothing’s worse than when the fries, fried chicken, or other crispy foods show up having lost their crunch. A quick blast in a toaster oven or air fryer, however, is all they need to be revitalized and to enjoy that eruptive texture.

Buying Your Favorite Mains In Bulk

If you’re skipping the rice deliveries as mentioned above, why just get a single order of orange chicken or spicy wings? Stock up on a few, and you won’t have to get delivery so much, reducing those additional fee costs. A few orders at a time means you can save some in the fridge and appropriately reheat them to get your favorite meals on repeat at a better overall price.

Know Who’s Got The Best Deals

Every food delivery app has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to know when to use which for each situation. Chief amongst that is keeping tabs on deals and discounts, which can be ordered via coupon or code. Grubhub and Doordash are your spots for coupons, while Postmates and Ubereats tend to have some helpful codes dropping weekly.

Any Container Can Be A Plate, Too

Dishwashing can always be a chore with delivery, but remember that the serving vessels also make for great plates, too. Even a standard vertical takeout box can be broken down into a functional bowl if you know how to hack it right. Check the above video for clutch a step-by-step guide.

Categories
Features

Online Food Ordering At Music Festivals Is The Future

Any music festival-goer knows that in the midst of planning out the weekend, you have to set aside at least an hour to actually eat something. The typical weekend music festival runs from noon to midnight, so a meal break is a must.

Postmates is trying to make that dining experience a little easier with its in-festival pick-up service.

The food lines at music festivals can get pretty insane, with tens of thousands of people attending, and each has to eat at some point. Even with the typical 20-plus food booths, long lines are inevitable.

At this year’s Camp Flog Gnaw Festival at Dodger Stadium, Postmates teamed with a handful of the participating food booths and added the option to order online.

That potentially means significantly reducing the inconvenience of having to wait in line only to miss a musical act.

Postmates ran this same service at the Panorama Music Festival in New York and said they plan to keep incorporating it at future festivals.

I took them up on the new app feature and actually spent the whole Flog Gnaw festival weekend skipping the lines — not missing a single musical performance.

There is a downside however, which I will highlight later on, but here is the breakdown of how it worked:

Ordering

If you did have the Postmates app during Camp Flog Gnaw, the first thing you saw upon opening it was an alert for the new “Pick-up” option.

The app did a good job of displaying the booths that were within the festival and showed the available menu items for those restaurants.

For Camp Flog Gnaw, there were quite a few L.A.-based restaurants that teamed up with the ordering app, such as Kogi BBQ, Trejo’s Tacos, Hawkins House of Burgers, and Fat Dragon.

I went with Kogi first to test it out.

Perusing the menu, I ordered a short rib burrito, and it even let me customize it without green onions. Because f*ck onions in burritos.

I got a notification that my order would be ready in 15 minutes, and at that point, I was in the system.

Pickup

In less than 15 minutes, I received another notification that my order was ready, so I walked toward the food area and looked for the Kogi booth.

THE LINE WAS INSANE. I’m talking about 50 yards in length, at least.

 

I asked a fellow near the front how long he’d been in line, and he said about 35 minutes. Of course, anyone who’s ever been to Kogi BBQ is no stranger to the long lines, but it’s not exactly optimal for festivals.

I walked past everyone in line, towards a sign that read “Postmates pick-up” and told them my order number. I was handed my burrito, and was on my merry way.

That was it. I skipped the infamous Kogi hype line and was able to get ready to watch Raphael Saadiq’s set.

The Downside

While the Postmates feature is cool, anyone who has been to a music festival knows how tough it can be to get internet reception around thousands of people who are all trying to use their phones.

Full disclosure, the only reason I had a seamless experience with the feature was because there was WiFi in the media tent. I didn’t have the same fortune away from the tent. There were others who were lucky enough to find cell service and use the feature.

The Middle Ground

Postmates pick-up probably can’t work if everyone has the same access to WiFi, and can all order. If everyone in attendance were ordering through Postmates, you’d end up with the same wait time issues.

It’ll be interesting how this will be incorporated in the future, but if I can put in an order while watching Post Malone, then run over to pick it up after the set, one of the biggest inconveniences at music festivals would be solved.

Categories
#foodbeast Cravings Culture Deals Fast Food Features FOODBEAST Products

Breaking Bad Fans, Get A Free ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ Meal Delivered To Your Door

Your first reaction to the headline of this article was probably: What?! And yeah, we’re serious. No click bait here, friend.

Through the partnership of AMC and Postmates, folks in NYC and LA can get your hands on a mini meal from Los Pollos Hermanos (the iconic restaurant from the Netflix-binge-worthy shows “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad“). Gus Fring’s fried chicken and curly fries can be yours for FREE. As long as you order from Monday, August 2o through Wednesday, August 22.

On the allotted dates, simply open the Postmates app, search for the Los Pollos Hermanos store and place your order. With only a few taps and scrolls, you can get your hands on this limited supply of mini-meals with no delivery fee, too (But you gotta tip though. Don’t be that guy).

So relax, wait for your food, and maybe tune into season 4, episode 3 of “Better Call Saul” while you wait.

Then while chowing down on the mini-meal: wear the shirt, and now, finally claim you tried the food. A dream come true for you “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” fans.