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7 Secrets Food Delivery Workers Want You to Know Right Now

Two food delivery drivers share some of the struggles they face while on the job.

During the pandemic, food delivery drivers and workers have worked tirelessly to help keep restaurants in business because with the absence of dine-in services, takeout and delivery orders are all independent eateries have had to rely on.

In densely populated cities, some people have also used delivery services to order groceries to limit their exposure to coronavirus. Kuan Ren, a delivery driver for Asian food delivery app Chowbus in Chicago says, "At the start of the outbreak, I delivered groceries to a customer for four days straight because he was stocking up. There were more people like him and I could feel their panic."

With food delivery workers moving faster than ever in the U.S. to give customers their restaurant and grocery orders, we thought it was necessary to ask two such people in the field about some of the challenges they face on a daily basis that customers are likely unaware of.

Jin Quan Yin, a delivery driver at Chinese restaurant Little Alley in New York City says that he rarely has time to take a break and eat a meal while on the job. Still, he has found that the pandemic, in some ways, has made him more efficient at his job.

"Contactless delivery saves me a huge amount of time, so now I'm able to deliver more orders," he says.

Now, here are seven secrets food delivery workers want you to know, and be sure to also read 7 Things You Should Never Say to a Delivery Person.

Delivery drivers get a lot of parking tickets.

police car

While many delivery drivers become accustomed to where they can and can't park, in some neighborhoods it's not always clear. Think about it: How many times have you driven to your friend's house in the city and accidentally parked in a permit-only spot? Everyone makes mistakes!

When Ren first started driving for delivery services, he racked up $400 in tickets in just one month. Yin says that he and his colleagues know which areas of the city the police frequent the most, so they try to be extra cautious when they're making deliveries in those respective parts of town.

Delivery workers often experience racism on the job.

pizza delivery

The current events have spotlighted the prevalence of racism against the Black community in the U.S., but racism also exists for other minority groups, as well. Ren, who is Asian, has encountered racist remarks from the staff at an apartment building he was delivering food to.

"Since English is not my first language, sometimes the building front desk staff would mimic my accent," he says. "Another time I was [asked] to park my car 45 times until the staff there thought it was good enough."

Now is the perfect time to have those uncomfortable conversations with people you know who have been known to make microaggressive comments about people of color.

 5 Amazing Cookbooks Written by Black Authors

Going to the bathroom is infrequent.


Something that customers may not consider is that delivery drivers don't have access to a bathroom while they're on the job.

"Going to the bathroom is not easy since we might be on the highway to suburbs or in traffic jams, which means that we are sitting in our cars for an hour or more," says Ren.

Yin concurs and adds that a lot of food delivery workers suffer from bladder problems due to the infrequency of bathroom trips.

Delivery workers rely on tips.

grocery pick up

Delivery fees are not the same as tips, so it's important that you tip food delivery drivers and workers at least 15 percent on an order. Food delivery workers often make no money on delivery fees. In addition, most food delivery workers make minimum wage, so the tip is extremely important.

"Once a customer only tipped me $1 after I carried 70 bottles of drinks upstairs that took me three runs," says Ren. "Although I felt a little sad, I know that it happens from time to time and I just needed to smile away and carry on."

Remember this the next time you place a delivery order. Give these workers the pay they deserve by not skimping on tips!

Traffic is often the reason for delayed delivery.


Before you scold a delivery person for being past the original estimated time of arrival, know that they aren't responsible for the delay. Sometimes, the restaurant's kitchen is understaffed and the meal takes longer to make, and other times there are traffic jams on the road. Both scenarios are completely out of the food delivery worker's control.

"When we're behind schedule due to traffic jams, our customers would complain," says Ren. "I would feel helpless because I'd rather deliver the food sooner, too."

Have some empathy for the person delivering your meal.

More people order delivery when the weather is bad.

delivery man

Speaking of delayed delivery, Yin says that more people place food orders when it's raining outside, which could also be a reason why they cannot make the delivery as quickly as usual. This is especially the case if they're delivering the food via moped, bike, or scooter, as they have to drive or ride slower to avoid crashing. Bad weather conditions also mean that workers are making more deliveries than what's typical.

Working delivery can be dangerous.

delivery man

Delivery workers are constantly on the road—whether that's via bike, scooter, or car—which means they are always on high alert, having to be an attentive and defensive driver at all times.

"Delivery is a dangerous job," says Ren. "Scratched cars and flat tires are not uncommon."

Yin adds, "When you have a flat tire in Manhattan, it's hard to find a repair shop and we need to fix it ourselves."

If the person delivering your order seems stressed or tired, consider taking a moment to imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. Again, demonstrating empathy is the best thing you can do.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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