Food delivery has been pretty popular lately. All sorts of third-party services and restaurants let people enjoy their favorite food without leaving their homes, and since establishments have been working with state-mandated restrictions, delivery has become a much more viable option. Personally, I’ve been delivering food on the side to make some extra money, and I’ve noticed a few things I think people could do to make the process a bit more efficient for everyone involved.

Be specific in delivery instructions

Most of my deliveries are to apartments. Customers will provide the apartment number and sometimes the gate code but not much else. Telling your delivery person where in the complex your apartment is located, preferred stairs to take, and so on can save a lot of time when they get there. This one is huge, in my experience. Some complexes are massive. Or the specific apartment you’re looking for isn’t visible from the main walkway. Less confusion upon arrival means fresher food for the customer, after all.

“Always explain whatever you can,” says Click Virtual Food Hall co-founder and business partner Steven Salazar. Click, based in Rice Military, was established in 2019 as a non-dine-in, delivery-first service with in-house concepts operated by its kitchen team. “Don’t leave the delivery instructions blank.” If there are multiple entrances, mention the one that gets them closest to the drop-off point. Navigation apps tend to route people to the front entrance of apartment complexes.

Similarly, if you’re having an order sent to a business, try to be as detailed as possible. For example, “if it’s in a strip center, specify which business it is, more than the address and unit number,” Salazar says. 

With contactless deliveries becoming more common, per CDC guidelines, providing as much necessary information ahead of time can make things easier on both the recipient and the driver. “More communication is better than less,” Salazar says.

Have someone ready to receive the order

If a delivery is going to a business instead of a residential address, make sure there is someone near the drop-off point ready to accept the food. This could include giving directions to call when the driver is almost there. Letting the driver get in and out quickly saves time for everyone. “Waiting 10 minutes to have someone come down is not optimal when we have other customers waiting,” Salazar says.

Similar logic applies to home deliveries. Keep your phone on hand as the delivery order gets closer to your address. That way you’ll be ready to open whatever gate or door necessary to help speed things along.

Take necessary precautions

Those contactless deliveries aren’t just about when the order is being dropped off. When picking up your order, use your shoulder, hip, elbow or other non-hand body part to open your door—if you can. CDC standards for sealed food containers and bags are pretty common among restaurants now, but there’s no harm in limiting unnecessary exposure.

Most deliveries are pretty straightforward, but as we’re trying to limit contact and stay safe, we can always find ways to improve. 

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