When I was growing up, a mainstay of our apartment was the gigantic folder of take-out menus next to the phone. I had working parents and cheap Chinese food at my fingertips, and not a week went by when we didn’t order delivery at least once. If you’re thinking this means my parents were horribly neglectful and that I somehow missed out on some quality family bonding time by not having every meal at the family table, please stop, eating pad thai while watching Entertainment Tonight with your mom and your cat is just what a family looks like now okay??
Anyway, at the time ordering delivery was pretty specific to a certain type of city living. It still is, but sites like Seamless and Grubhub make it really easy for a lot more people to do it, which as you may have guessed, opens everyone up to a type of interaction they may not know the rules about! It’s pretty straightforward, but here are some of my tips based on years and years of doing this.
1. If you go crazy with your order, don’t be surprised if it’s not perfect — Think about the restaurant you’re ordering from. It’s probably cheap, or just unfussy. That doesn’t mean that quality restaurants won’t deliver, but the point is to get the food to you fast, not present you a four-star dining experience in a styrofoam tub. If you have allergies or other strong preferences, obviously make them known, but the more complicated the order the greater chance the restaurant will fuck something up.
You’re likely ordering online, so there will be a place for you to type any specifications for most orders, but if you’re ordering over the phone be clear and patient, and ask them to repeat your order back to you to decrease the likeliness of screw ups!
2. If they do get something wrong, figure out whether it’s worth it to bring it up — If the waiter messes up your order in a restaurant, they can usually bring you something else pretty quickly. If the delivery guy forgets your soda, they have to run back to the restaurant to get it for you, and by the time they show up again your dinner will probably be cold. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t complain if your order is messed up, but check in to see if it’s worth the hassle to bring it up. If it is, explain it to the delivery person, and keep them there while you call the restaurant. Ideally they’ll be able to refund you something, or the delivery guy can bring you the right order soon.
I’m never one for chastising waiters in restaurants in general, but I think this goes double for delivery guys. They have brought food TO YOUR HOUSE. Already prepared! Even if the order is messed up or they forgot something, it’s still such a luxury, so just remember to be grateful it’s happening at all.
3. Tip well, especially in bad weather — Seamless sets its default tip to 10%, which frankly, I think is too low. Yes, it’s not like your delivery person is waiting on you, but they’ve carted your meal across town on an electric bike, which is a pretty rough job! You don’t have to go a full 20%, but I think 15% at least is a good tip. However, when it’s bad weather, you should be tipping 20% or more. Likely delivery demand is higher in a rain or a snowstorm because we’re all lazy sons of bitches who don’t feel like walking to the grocery store, and we should be willing to pay more for the privilege. Your delivery guy is likely going to spend all night zipping pizzas around town in a blizzard, so make sure it’s worth his time.