Why pick up your food when you can get it delivered? Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to prepare your own meals. And if you’re throwing a party or planning a work lunch, you would definitely be in a bind if you had to make all that food yourself. Luckily, food delivery is a convenient and affordable solution, especially if you need to feed a lot of people.
Food delivery isn’t going anywhere either. In fact, it’s a growing industry that likely won’t let up anytime soon.
In 2017, U.S. food and drink sales of mobile caterers (like for office lunches) reached $967 million while social caterers (birthday parties, weddings, etc.) reached $8.6 billion.
According to the NPD Group, one of the largest market research companies in the world, there are 1.7 billion food delivery service visits annually. Not surprisingly, young adults are the heaviest users of food service delivery, representing 56 percent of delivery orders.
We’re not only talking about dinner, either. Breakfast and lunch delivery is perfect for everything from a fun brunch event with friends at home to a brainstorm session at the office. In the workplace, food delivery helps companies in several ways: It can save employees time, boost office productivity and collaboration, and do wonders for team morale.
How to Do Food Delivery Right
Ordering food, whether its lunch for yourself or catering for a group, isn’t as simple as placing an order and picking it up. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most out of your food delivery order.
Respect delivery people
A little kindness goes a long way. Be nice to the person who comes to your door, especially if they’re carrying a lot of food. And if the food comes a few minutes later than predicted, try not to take it out on them; unforeseen factors like traffic can easily delay your delivery. When in doubt, order your food to arrive a bit earlier than needed.
Double check your order
It’s always a good idea to make sure everything you ordered is in your possession before the delivery person takes off. A helpful way to avoid mistakes is to make sure the person you talk to on the phone repeats your order before hanging up, or, if you order online, review what you selected before you complete your transaction.
Know when and how to tip
Tipping can sometimes be confusing. Is tip included? Do you give cash in person? Can you add a few bucks onto a receipt when the food comes? Can you tip online? Tipping varies company to company, so it’s best to be upfront and simply ask the best way to tip, especially if it’s not clear. And while the amount to tip is hotly debated, many sources settle on 10%, and a bit more if your food is delivered in bad weather or you have a large order (for instance in the case of a private party).
Skip the fried food
This tip isn’t just for health reasons. While we’re not going to tell you to skip the fries in your daily life, it might be a good idea when you order delivery. Why? Fried food can easily morph from crispy to soggy by the time it gets to you. Some other foods that get cold easily—such as eggs and soup—may not be a great option if you don’t have a way to reheat or keep warm nearby.
Sort delivery options by distance and price
Depending on what service you use to place an order (even if that’s simply a Google Map search of nearby restaurants), make sure you filter details such as delivery distance and price point, so you find a place that’s not too far away and out of your budget.
Consider ratings and reviews
If a picture tells a thousand words, a rating can often tell a million. Sort through delivery options by ratings and reviews, and stay away from anything that has only one or two stars. Check for reviews about timeliness and condition of the delivered food. (Nobody wants a smooshed pizza or spilled smoothie!)
Order at an off time
If you order a large lunch for a lot of people, try to place your order earlier in the morning so you can be first in line or shoot for later in the day. Try to avoid ordering right at noon if you’re looking for a midday meal, or you may face long delivery times.
Nowadays, you can order virtually anything and have it delivered to your door—including a great meal just about any time of the day. With these tips, you can make the most out of your food delivery order whether you’re at home or at work.