COVID-19’s Impact on the Food Industry

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Kattie Loniello

Coronavirus has impacted our lives in many aspects. Public places are limiting capacity and our favorite stores have us reminiscing about the experience of walking through and picking out what we want. One could argue the food industry is one of the most impacted by the pandemic. For about a year now, restaurants have been through various ups-and-downs, from seeing lower sales to limited business hours. This can put a huge strain on many people’s incomes. One aspect of the food industry that has been booming is food delivery services. Companies like GrubHub, DoorDash, and UberEats are very well established in accommodating employees with opportunities to make an income. But, what does it take to order these foods and where do all of the fees behind it actually go?

To compile some answers to this question I wrote about my experience as a DoorDash employee. I also interviewed  North Hills High School student (Macario Mahaffey) who works in the food industry for Eat ‘n Park.

How does an average day go for you?

Kattie: Well basically I leave my house around 5:30 every day after all my school work is completed. Beforehand, I make sure to take a nap from 3-5. Then I use that last half-hour to get ready for my night of work. I leave my house, head for the gas station, fuel up, grab a snack, and head towards Oakland, Shadyside, and East Liberty to see what deliveries I need to make. Depending on the rates for the day, (this can vary depending on weather or even the day of the week), it can be very busy or very slow. Prices of an order can range from $8.00 to  $19.95.

Macario Mahaffey: I start my day by arriving at my job around 3:30 and start setting up my station. I make sure to get prepared for my night by checking for some extra pens & paper for taking down orders. After that, depending on the day it can get very busy. I typically just tend to my side work if I am not busy so I do not have to do it before leaving for the night. Tips can range from $5.00 to $10.00 dollars depending on the meal and the percentages of the meal’s price. Sometimes people are very generous with tipping and leave up to $20.00.

What is your opinion on food delivery prices? Do you think they are overcharging?

Kattie: Whenever I am ordering my own food from a delivery service, I’m not really happy with the prices. I could just get up and go to a drive-through or walk into a restaurant and place a take-out order and it would cost me less. For example, my usual $8.00 meal from Chick-fil-A inflates to $22.00 (plus a tip). I feel if I want something that badly I will go out and get it. That is just me but, at the same time whenever I am working, those the prices that are how I am paid. I kind of have a love/hate relationship when it comes to the cost of ordering food.

Macario Mahaffey: I think that they are sometimes a waste of money due to the fact that items on DoorDash cost more than they do on the menu at the physical restaurant, while also charging high delivery and service fees.

Overall, in the food industry, there is money to be made. It is all preference and what is convenient for us seeing as we all have different incomes.