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Food Delivery & The Pandemic

In the dark ages when COVID was at its peak and we essentially had to stay locked inside our houses, I blogged a lot about how technology reacted to (and came to the aid of) the pandemic.


Today, we will be looking at food delivery services and their rise during the pandemic.



Uber Eats


I am sure all of us have ordered Uber Eats for convenience sake in college or after a few frosty beverages at night before. That is certainly one usage of Uber Eats. But, during the pandemic, Uber Eats’ versatility extended far beyond this.


The food delivery service saw bookings increase by 54% year-over-year, as those in lockdown looked to deliveries both to treat themselves and access groceries.



Uber Eats also attracted a whole heap of new restaurants which turned to delivery as an outlet to keep their businesses going during the lockdown.


If there was one thing you continually read about during lockdown, it was the fact that small businesses, namely restaurants were struggling to survive.


Well, it certainly wasn’t easy. But Uber Eats and other food delivery services played a big role in restaurants getting back on their feet and re-inventing themselves.



Prior to the pandemic, it was not commonplace to find many fancy establishments on Uber Eats.


But, all of a sudden, this was their outlet to outlast the lockdown period of the pandemic.



Instacart


As I write this I am currently in Mexico, en route on a bus, to visit a friend.


In a lot of big cities across the world, inhabitants of them don’t have a car. My friend is no different. No car. It’s a luxury that just isn’t needed depending on where you live.


I have inquired with him and asked how he gets around… how does he get food or groceries?



He gets his groceries delivered to him.


Getting your groceries delivered was once thought of as a real luxury that only rich people could afford. That has largely changed, and COVID has a lot to do with it.


I would know. For I, in fact, was an Instacart employee during COVID and experienced the clientele and inner workings of the app firsthand.


During the majority of COVID, I was unemployed. The only income I made derived from working here at ATSAP writing blog posts.



I needed an outlet to make a bit more money. So, I signed up for Instacart.


I typically put in about 4-5 hours a day. At the time, I thought I was making a sizeable amount of money: $50-70 a day. It was active, I was getting out there and doing something that made me feel productive.


Now, I look back and am of the mindset that Instacart vastly underpays its employees. Especially during the pandemic. For one trip, not only do you have to drive to the store and then deliver groceries, but also constantly be in communication with the customer to ask them if they want a different item if something on their request list was not in stock. The position was not for the weak.



But, if anything, what I gained from that experience was an inside look at delivering groceries. I connected with people from all over the city, a large majority of whom were very appreciative that I saved them a trip to the store.


These customers of Instacart were largely middle-class citizens. I had in mind that most of my clients would be wealthy high rollers. But that really was not the case.


It turns out, a large and diverse demographic of people elect to have their groceries delivered. And while COVID may have inflated this stat, I think grocery services are here to stay due to the technological capabilities at hand, health concerns of individuals, relatively low cost, and general laziness of some people.


Isn’t Instacart just a more detailed version of Uber eats?



An Uber Eats driver accepts your order, drives to the food location, picks up your order, and then delivers it to you. They’re in contact with you should they have any updates to relay or issues that arise.


Instacart is the same thing. Customers can track your order and interact with you. The fact that the Instacart employee has to go in and do the dirty work just makes the mission a good bit more difficult to complete.


Another example: at the beginning of COVID, my grandfather (81) and his wife found themselves at risk of COVID with no vaccine in place. I remember asking him how he got his food and groceries.



He told me that he picked them up from Whole Foods: He simply placed his order and drove up to the store, and the items requested were loaded into his car.


This example shows that not only did Instacart evolve over the course of the pandemic, but so did grocery stores themselves. Catering to your clients, especially those who may have health issues, is a huge thing.


So, for Whole Foods and many other stores to offer these services is not only a smart idea but a morally just one.



So, now, we find ourselves in an arguably much better place with this whole COVID thing. But you can bet these food delivery services are here to stay and will only continue to evolve.


As I mentioned earlier: Some people have health issues, some people are busy, some people are rich, and some people are lazy.


Thus, these applications on our phones to bring food and groceries directly to your door are assuredly here to stay.

 

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