Delivery services thrive amid the global pandemic

Jeffrey Mutisya making a delivery at Florida International University residential hall for Postmates. (Nimechi Ikechi-uko/SFMN)

As the world adjusts to the new normal of social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have given some businesses a boost. More Americans are ordering food delivery amid the coronavirus crisis. 

The number of people requesting delivery from restaurants and grocery store apps has steadily increased, according to CivicScience.

Parents are one of the fastest-growing groups of consumers of delivery orders. Between February and March, the percentage of parents using delivery apps increased from 16% to 20%, while non-parents increased from 27% to 28%.

“Since the pandemic started happening, I would say that more people have started using delivery apps,” said Jeffrey Mutisya, a Postmates delivery employee. “I make around eight to 10 deliveries each day, and that’s a spike compared to the two to five deliveries that I made before the pandemic.”

In March, UberEats reported seeing a 30% surge in customers signing up for the service.

“This is an uncertain time for all of us, and business-as-usual looks much different than it did just a few weeks back,” said an Uber spokeswoman in a statement. “We’re focused on being there for restaurants, delivery people and their customers to provide a safe and reliable marketplace now and in the long haul.” 

With the rise in COVID-19 cases, many Americans are beginning to fear dining out and going to the grocery store.  

“Ordering food via food apps has taken a massive load off me,” said Rodeferldine Alexis, an assistant property manager for Lucaya Delray. “I don’t feel comfortable going to the grocery stores, so I use apps like UberEats, even though I spend more.”

Employees at Green Chicken, Miami preparing an order on July 17. (Nimechi Ikechi-Uko/SFMN)

As the number of people using delivery apps has increased, so has the price of ordering, reports The New York Times. Delivery apps like DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats and Grubhub include both a delivery fee and a service fee.

“The delivery option on Postmates was like $2 and now it’s more than $6,” said Mutisya. “They are much more than before. I like the fact that I am getting paid more.”

Numerous grocery stores are also offering delivery services. Instacart, a grocery delivery and pick-up service, has seen a noticeable surge in their downloads and usage. Newly added features like the contactless delivery option have helped contribute to the sales boost. 

A contactless delivery gives the people the option to leave groceries at the customer’s door without ever making contact with the Instacart delivery person. 

Instacart reported making a net profit of about $10 million in April. In the entire year of 2019, Instacart made a net profit of $620 million- but so far in 2020, Instacart customers have bought approximately $700 million worth of goods in just the first two weeks of April. 

Delivery services have also helped create jobs for unemployed Americans. In the first weeks of April alone, Instacart hired 300,000 workers.

Layra Gonzalez is an FIU alumni in Journalism. She enjoys creating multimedia elements and using her photography for storytelling. After graduating from FIU, she will go on to receive her Master's degree in Speech pathology.

Nimechi Ikechi-Uko is a senior studying Journalism at FIU. She has an interest in writing. Her goals are to work for the Washington Post and get a book published.