Delivery drivers expecting surge in orders following restaurant shutdown

Applicants hoping to become delivery drivers facing wait lists
Delivery drivers preparing for boom in business
Updated: Mar. 16, 2020 at 10:53 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - With Tri-State bars and restaurants now restricted to only takeout and delivery services, delivery drivers are preparing for a burst in orders.

Understandably, people now temporarily unemployed are turning to delivery companies for job, but there is a wait.

Ethan Bastian says he’s been a DoorDash delivery driver for almost a year. He recently graduated college and is hunting for a job in his field.

In the meantime, he says delivering food is a great way to make money.

“It’s perfect for me while I just try to get my job going and get side money for me to have in my pocket," Bastian said.

Now that bars and restaurants have been forced to close up shop in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, limited to only carryout and delivery because of the coronavirus, Bastian says he is expecting a surge in orders.

“DoorDash has pretty much said that there’s going to be an increased rate," Bastian said.

On Monday, Bastian received multiple delivery requests in a matter of minutes.

He says COVID-19 has changed the way both he and restaurants do business.

“Even people at like the Outback place I went to are wearing gloves now and stuff, so that they don’t get their germs on the bags as well, so I think people are trying to make a concerted effort to not spread around germs," Bastian said.

DoorDash sent out notes to drivers and customers encouraging them to have “no contact” as much as possible.

“You can contact them [customers] beforehand, or they might tell you to drop it off at a neutral location so they can get it,” Bastian said. "They’re just trying to limit the exposure and contact with customers and employees of restaurants as much as possible.”

Bastian is not the only one pursuing food delivery. Many in the food service industry are now temporarily unemployed, leaving them looking for another source of income.

Some have turned to delivery apps, like DoorDash, to apply to become a driver. However, applicants said the apps tell them that there is a waitlist.

“I know a lot of friends that want to get in DoorDash or GrubHub," Bastian said. "They can’t.”

GrubHub and Uber Eats reps were not available for comment when asked about the wait lists and the impact of the coronavirus.

A DoorDash spokesperson released a statement that read:

"DoorDash’s task force is actively working to develop and implement a strategy to protect the health and safety of our community in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, including introducing a program to assist Dashers financially if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under quarantine by a public health agency. This program will provide up to two weeks of assistance to Dashers and Caviar couriers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are subject to quarantine at the direction of public health officials. The program will be available globally in all of the markets we serve in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Further details on the program, including how to request financial assistance, will be made available to Dashers and Caviar couriers in the coming days.

We have provided and will continue to share the latest public health guidance to consumers, Dashers, and merchants. We are also closely monitoring city and state mandated closures and will continue to operate in areas where local officials have deemed safe to do so.

To reduce the risk of transmission, we are reminding our community in affected areas of the delivery instruction feature, enabling requests for food to be left at the door along with a photo of where the food should be left through the app—and we are testing enhanced drop-off options for contactless delivery to be rolled out shortly. We have also distributed much-needed supplies to Dashers in affected areas, such as hand sanitizers and gloves—in over 400 cities and counting.

We are working closely with our merchant community to share best practices on how they can adjust their in-store and off-premise operations, such as removing items in open packaging, taping over straw holes, having food handlers place all items in bags and offering new and innovative packaging options.

We will continue to closely monitor and take action in response to this developing situation."

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