As a single male I make quite regular use of the various delivery service - Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats and I have had a somewhat checkered experience of each of those over the pandemic.
In terms of the basic premise of delivery, a number of occasions have seen no delivery or vastly delayed delivery which largely resulted in the same outcome.
When ordering food home - one can reasonable expect :
Famously my worst delivery - a pizza from a certain sour dough specialist - arrived stone cold, charred to darkest black on the base, and with all toppings flung off and clustered in one corner of the box. I gave said pizza place multiple opportunities to come good - but for 9 orders in total they only managed to deliver a single pizza of adequate warmth - and even that was somewhat unpresentable.
In sit-down restaurants, quality control would filter out 2/3rds of what gets shipped out as home delivery. The system of assigning a driver for a pre-determined pickup is badly flawed - meaning that typically food sits overlong on the counter before it is shipped out.
Once it is shipped out it is reliant on an extremely amateurish 'workforce' which is wholly inadequately trained and equipped. I've witnessed couriers stroll down the mews pushing their bike as if out for a leisurely walk - no concern for the actual service they are providing.
In fact I feel that push-bikes or bicycles should be banned from delivery entirely - those are only really good for rapid solid mail delivery and not in the slightest equipped for delivering food in a reasonable condition.
What is more - most of the motorbikes and mopeds have totally inadequate food storage compartments / top boxes etc. Where a recent burger restaurant order had the bag on its side - so that the banana milkshake had leaked out over everything. Most food is wholly inadequately packaged - and you often see cold drinks being placed right on top or right next to their warm counterparts - which is wholly inept and inappropriate.
Most deliver services have inadequate packaging - while outfits like Wagamama and Busaba have the right formula largely, yet few have figured out how to ensure the food gets delivered properly warm and crisp. Lots of the burger restaurants - with their thin cardboard packaging are way off the pace - burgers don't retain heat at all well - and really need to be placed in some sort of foil wrapper or foil-lined box to hold their temperature.
Good packaging ensure quality and consistency of deliverables - and should help maintain the right condition for its contents. While much of the packaging out there currently is totally inadequate and in no way fit for purpose.
As I've taken to calling Just Eat - have made two disastrous deliveries recently which has pretty much ended them for me. A fortnight ago I waited for nearly 3 hours for the delivery to land - turns our the first assigned courier failed to arrive, so they summoned another much later - when the food must have been standing on the counter for the best part of an hour by then - nevertheless they still deigned to deliver said slop - which turned up 3 hours after it was ordered - cold and sloppy with the ice cream sundae melted into a puddle. Worst of the bunch were cold, slimy, soggy fries - which had no seasoning. A quick burst in the microwaves failed to have any noticeable impact on improvement and said slop was then hastily binned - a sad end to a sad affair.
My grievance with Just Eat goes deep and their customer service is pretty much non-existent - both the online and phone line support are a circle-jerk of FAQ's with no resolution. I had to take to flaming them on social media to get any sort of response.
So you would have thought they would have placed some kind of marker on my account that I had received attrocious service and would need to be better handled for the next transaction, while that ended up largely the same way.
The early process was all good - courier arrived at the restaurant in good time etc. but then proceeded to pretty much get lost in much the wrong direction, literally dropping off the map as uncontactable and then appearing again just north of the restaurant 30 minutes later. Almost an hour into the actual delivery the courier was still nowhere near my property - so I took to flaming Just Eat again on social media - they asked me to DM my details - and while the courier circled the perimeter of my street - said individual never made it into the street - and was in fact heading west again when I last looked - when Just Eat posted back then that the order had been cancelled - around 70-80 minutes after dispatch had commenced!
Basically for the food to stand any chance of arriving in decent edible condition - it typically needs to take no more than 20 minutes to arrive - also need to factor in standing time on the restaurant counter - as too much of that will badly influence the end result.
Burgers and Pizzas don't tend to hold heat well - so those are the most typically doomed within that timeline - while rice dishes fare much better generally. I believe that no quality service can rely on bicycles as those are simply not equipped to deliver food in suitable condition. Those square back-packs which are so good for branding turn out to be fairly useless for food storage - they don't really hold much heat in, and they don't adequately securely store the food - which all too frequently turns up somewhat dishevelled.
These delivery services should really be moped / motorbike only - and be equipped with proper storage facilities to convey the food in the right condition and within the optimal timeline.
Weirdly - once the order has been shipped there is no facility to cancel said delivery - where often that is the part of the service that goes most wrong. Nor are there proper facilities to report issues with the order once delivered - all those systems are silo'd and disconnected and deliberately engineered to put you off contacting anyone.
I feel that if a delivery is taking over-long to arrive then there should be some sort of fail-safe that decrees when said order is no longer going to be delivered adequately. Certainly if the delivery is taking more than an hour it should mean automatic cancellation - as there is no way that said food is going to turn up in palatable condition.
Actually probably the timeout should be only around 30 minutes!
Lots of my orders have been incomplete or wholly unsuitable for final delivery - one of the pizza boxes was so baldy mangled I was sure that it had been dropped and run-over by some sort of vehicle - and yet this was deemed fit to be delivered!
Once your order arrives and you check it for deficiencies there is then no proper means of communicating that back to the service - certainly not against the original order. In fact I've asked for refunds for items which were not delivered - and by and large those were not credited
A lot of the Gig Economies are the Wild Wild West of service - where there is wholly inadequate regulation and oversight - which it is resulting in dangerous levels of service. I believe I've twice had a food poisoning episode as a result of those deliveries - but obviously no facility to report back on any such thing - or to warrant any kind of investigation.
These courier companies are really getting away with all kinds of things that need to be clamped down on - staff need to be better trained, there need to be more quality-focused procedures - and we need a proper ombudsman for this service area as customers are getting short shrift at the moment.
Also we need proper customer service where we have a legitimate means to contact someone when things go badly wrong - rather than having to flame the company on social media in order to be invited to DM your grievance.
Two of the hardest decisions I make each day are what to watch on TV, and what to have for Dinner. You would have thought that once you had decided upon your restaurant and meal - then it would be relatively plain sailing - while I find myself more and more worrying over 'Delivery Anxiety' - for instance at the number of times I've seen the courier take a wrong turn is just staggering. And I've several times seen couriers parked up for around 30 minutes fixing some mechanical issue - like a broken or displaced gear-chain - while they still deemed it acceptable to then deliver the vastly delayed and obviously entirely cooled-down meal.
Moreover I've abandoned several restaurants in terms of their variable quality - where you're never sure what you're going to get - and you often seem to be served somewhat substandard fare. And while I'm entirely boycotting Just Eat, I'm also boycotting a number of restaurants who cannot seem to maintain an evenly consistent quality standard.
A good part of why we return to the same restaurants again and again is about the quality and consistent of that experience. And these restaurants have quite a different lassitude for their take-out fare versus what they deem suitable for sit-down guests.
We are most definitely living through a paradigm shift - and restaurants need to learn that for many customers - the default is now home service. Yet there seems to be totally different quality control for what they let out to home-based customers!
The service I use the most is Deliveroo - which rarely fails to deliver, yet often dispatches push-bikes in my direction - which take far too long to arrive. I've had several instances of missing items with little or no follow-up on those.
I also seem to suffer a lot of 'disappearing restaurant' syndrome where I order something great from an outlet which then totally disappears off the service. Occasionally - because of exclusive deals - those restaurants will appear on one of the other services - while more frequency those restaurants just seem to disappear off the apps for good.
A good case in point was an exceptional steak/frites sandwich from Le Relais De Venise - where I've never been able to make a follow-up order! Everything about that experience was perfection!
I think these courier services need to better train and equip their staff and teach them proper quality control - with proper cut-off limits - so they're not shipping something inedible to the consumer.
They need to totally ban bicycles as delivery vehicles as not a single one of those has arrived here in good or reasonable time even. I always sigh when I see a courier on a bike as I know my food is going to be cold!
And they need to provide proper food-storage equipment for those couriers and vehicles - which hold the food at the right temperature and in an appropriate presentable condition.
I'm switching away from those delivery services for Pizza and returning to the local Dominos - who always manage to deliver their orders in reasonable condition. And I'm giving burger restaurants a break now as they just cannot get the home delivery formula right.
This means shifting more towards rice-based dishes and outfits like Busaba, and Wagamama - and of course my local Ask who make a very consistent Risotto con Pollo e Funghi. Scratch that - the Risotto is off the menu! So Pollo Milanese instead then.
The truth is that ordering dinner is still far too much of a lottery and has way too many associative issues which seem rather tricky to resolve. Obviously much of this is in its infancy so surely things can and will get better over time. My overall success rate with 2-3 deliveries a week makes for rather woeful reading as the majority of those deliveries have failed on one or two points.
I've also noted that you should not order from anywhere more than 1 mile away - ideally the closer the better. Also try to figure out which route the courier would take and order from restaurants with a fairly straightforward approach path to your property.
Ideally there should be some sort of thermometer scanner for the food transport container - which should constantly monitor your food - and if it drops below a certain threshold during delivery - the order should be automatically cancelled!