Friday, July 22, 2016

Best food delivery mobile app opportunities for drivers

There's been a lot of attention over the past year in social and news media on mobile apps for food delivery services. You'll always find something on DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, Caviar, Seamless, and others. I've been supplementing my driver income with food delivery, and here are a few of my thoughts on why it's been taking off:

  • The business model was borrowed from Uber and Lyft -- a similar mobile app; driving directions and alliances with Waze and Google Maps; it's all on the phone, from ordering to paying; there are special offers with local and chain restaurants, juice bars, coffeehouses, and fast food brands; and all the drivers are independent contractors passing basic vehicle and driving record checks. Uber has been getting into this biz for a few years and recently launched a separate app for UberEats.
  • It's all about living with the on-demand economy. You have to schedule your driving time for peak demand and when customers are more likely to tip (if they can tip on the app). Sunday might be great between 4:00 and 9:00 p.m., but it could be an awful day due to a holiday or something else.
  • Don't buy into the high-demand text message you get. You might be told there's a blitz, or something similar, going on right now in your city. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get more rides or be paid at a higher fare. However, it is a good idea to schedule your driving time during those surge hours, as you will occasionally make more per trip.
  • Patience is key, along with texting and calling a customer. You've got to read the order carefully and pay attention for special requests that may go way off the menu; or it might have a humorous and interesting name for the meal that's only known by regular customers. Communication is the key - ask questions and don't end up frustrated later when it goes sour and you get no tip and maybe a poor rating.
  • Decide what to do with late orders. More than once, I've left the parking lot with the meal and I'm about two blocks away - when I get a text asking for something else in the order. Do you respond, or just drive and deliver - mentioning it or not mentioning it? I've found it's better to do everything the customer asks for, as it makes for a much better way to get a good rating and a tip; and not get a bad vibe if you find out you're delivering another meal to that customer days later.
  • I've found that Postmates has been the best way to go in my area - Long Beach, Calif., and the surrounding areas. The customer demand is pretty strong; the mobile app is clean and well organized; Postmates staff will come through and assist you if a snafu pops up during the trip; and the staff I've met have been pretty good folks. Thumbs up.

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