You've seen all the news stories by now.
You know, the ones about how delivery apps are killing the restaurant industry? Or, a few months back, all the disingenuous ads by GrubHub, Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash claiming that local restaurants are the soul of America and that you're doing a great thing for your community by ordering from their apps.
To be clear, I'm as guilty as the next hypocrite of giving in to my laziness and ordering from these services. Heck, some of my favorite spots only deliver through them. But their sketchy labor practices and predatory payment structures are well documented, and thus, even before the pandemic, restaurants were begging patrons to order from them directly.
I've felt weird about it for a long time.
Here's a great explanation of the problem from the team at AJ+, but the tldr version is that these services are expensive, unnecessarily cruel, and generally reek of late capitalism:
With restaurants across the country closing so fast that there is a genuine threat of a corporate food business takeover on the post-pandemic horizon, many of us are re-evaluating the ethics of our takeout choices.
Enter the new, ethical delivery apps.
Truly ethical consumption is impossible, but there are apps out there that let you order pad Thai from the comfort of your smartphone without threatening to shutter the very businesses you're ordering from.
Platforms like ChowNow and 9Fold only charge restaurants a low monthly flat rate to work with them. Slice, which specializes in pizza delivery, uses a similar flat-rate model per every delivery. Even point of sale companies like Toast, restaurant website design site BentoBox, and high-end reservations brand Tock are offering delivery options now.
Eating pizza in bed, right from the box is a whole 2020 mood
In the delivery-focused restaurant market that's taken over since COVID-19 hit, any order is a good order. Even before everything fell apart, whispers of change had been bubbling up in the restaurant industry for years.
But I've decided that I'm going to do better for my local businesses when I can.
I'd implore you to do the same.
If you love a restaurant, double-check their website before you order to see if you can do it directly through them. Download an app that has a reputation for helping its clients stay alive.
After all, they're not called essential businesses for nothing.