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You'll Probably Never Order This Way at Restaurants Again

Embracing online delivery, some places are turning off their land-line
restaurant hostess on telphone

It's hardly a secret that the restaurant industry is facing an existential crisis of unimaginable proportions. Given industry-wide closures and the new world of social-distancing, it's clear that the fundamental business model of crowding patrons into an enclosed room and serving them food on plates has been entirely upended and likely won't return for a long time—if ever. Recent stats show that, of the 33 million Americans who've filed for unemployment, the majority of them are former restaurant workers. (Equally troubling is the trend of many of those workers refusing to return to work, because their unemployment check is more lucrative than their former paycheck.)

Right now, restaurants everywhere are diving headlong into the world of delivery to bolster their business, rethinking their menus, and scrambling to simply hold on as they're living out a business revolution in real-time. (Meanwhile, other restaurants are experimenting with some questionable and perhaps desperate methods of luring customers back, including filling their restaurants with mannequins and sitting diners in glass booths.)

But as so many eateries are embracing new online delivery options, there's one small thing you're used to doing that may fall by the wayside in the months ahead: Ordering by telephone.

With the sharp rise of DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub serving as online ordering and delivery middlemen, restaurants are finding it easier to quietly turn off their phones and move those deliveries online entirely.

"We stopped taking phone call orders and forced everyone to order online so every order is now prepaid [and] they get a curbside waitress service," wrote the owner of Tacqueria Chavez, a restaurant based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Reddit.

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According to another restaurateur, making the same decision was easy: It's simply less hassle to not have to deal with the telephone when you're churning out orders.

Given the volume of orders, this hasn't gone unnoticed for a lot of customers.

While other customers are trying to reach the delivery services directly—to no avail.

So if you're finding that your order is wrong—or you're trying to order from your favorite restaurant in the old-school way—don't be surprised when you try to call and you find that the telephone is out of service. It's likely because they want you filling out that order online. And speaking of online ordering: if you're looking to stock up on your favorite foods, be sure to check out these 5 Most Underrated Food Delivery Services You're Not Using.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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