These services are helping the economy and need support
COVID-19 has caused a variety of preparation-free meal services and delivery apps to gain popularity, as visiting restaurants, grocery stores and public places has become more of a risk. These delivery services, once seen as excess, are now essential for our economy. They create jobs and many restaurants need these services to stay in business.
According to the Los Angeles Times, delivery orders in the average restaurant have increased from 15 percent to 50 percent of sales since the COVID-19 outbreak. Services like GrubHub, Doordash, Uber Eats and Postmates have benefited financially due to the demand increase. An alert on the Doordash site even reads: “We appreciate your patience as we are experiencing long-wait times due to COVID-19.” Long wait times are a very good sign for an industry, and growing industries that create jobs are needed right now as our economy faces one of the worst recessions in the last 10 years. Additionally, Doordash has launched a priority access program for their restaurant partners that provides restaurant employees whose hours had been cut with the expedited opportunity to work as a “Dasher.” According to the New York State Restaurant Association, 70 percent of restaurants have had to discontinue jobs, so having these job opportunities allows those who would be unemployed to sustain their monthly income and restaurants to keep their workers close when they start to grow again.
These delivery services are beginning to be seen by restaurants as a “necessary evil” in surviving the pandemic economy. Restaurant owners, like Anca Caliman co-owner of Lemon Poppy Kitchen and Parsnip in Los Angeles, feel that these apps take away from the experience of going to a restaurant and are a result of increased lethargy due to COVID-19.
The high delivery fees also contribute to the stigma among restaurant owners. Many owners used to urge customers to utilize pickup to avoid the extra cost, but when delivery became an average of 50 percent of sales due to COVID-19, restaurant owners began seeing delivery apps as a help in making a profit. I predict this will continue as restaurant delivery sales stay higher than the 15 percent seen before COVID-19 due to a transition towards eating in because of the lower risk.
The COVID-19 recession has caused a rise in unemployment that needs to be accommodated. Although these services are not the solution, they create jobs and provide job security—a step in the right direction.