Food delivery staff shares work life in the current pandemic


PHOTO BY Cade Spencer

ON THE MOVE: Senior Liam Spencer delivers order to a customers house. Typically Spencer makes eight to 10 deliveries in five hours.

Donna Kim, Reporter

Ever since the implementation of social distancing policies in response to COVID-19, going out to eat has not been much of an option. No one can eat out regularly, but in place sprouts a much safer option, food delivery services.

According to Market Watch, the big four food delivery services: DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and  Grubhub, have all increased in production since the beginning of April.

With many schools transitioning to remote instruction, teenagers have started to work for food delivery services as a way to earn some extra money. Senior CJ Saurez is a student who currently works for DoorDash.

“Typically I’ll go out around 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and start waiting for orders in a shopping center, and once I get one, I’m busy for the next two to three hours until orders die out,” Saurez said.

According to GridWise, over 12 percent of food delivery service drivers are 18 to 29 years old. Senior Liam Spencer shares why he started working for DoorDash.

“I wanted to start working [for DoorDash] because I had some friends that were doing it, and they said it was super fun and easy,” Spencer said. “So I started to make some extra money on the side during the pandemic. Within five hours I would make around eight to 10 deliveries.”

Unlike regular jobs, Saurez believes the growing popularity of food delivery services is based on the unique freedoms workers have within the job.

“I will usually work by myself, but sometimes I’ll invite a few friends to hang out with me while I drive around,” Saurez said.

In food delivery services, Spencer believes that although the job comes with unique freedoms, there are also common challenges workers have to face.

“The best thing is the flexibility that is offered,” Spencer said. “You can work whenever you want, and payments are once a week which is faster than other jobs. The worst part about [food delivery] is that you are alone the whole time, so it can get pretty lonely. It can also be scary or challenging if you are going to an area you don’t know, which has happened to me before.”

Although working as a driver for a food delivery service may seem easy going, Colleen Saurez, mother of CJ Saurez, believes there are  precautions workers must take seriously.

“I don’t like that CJ is working during the pandemic, but I do feel like he has minimal contact with other people with this job,” Colleen said. “He always wears his mask and when necessary, keeps his distance. He told me that most customers prefer that he drops off their food order on their doorstep instead of handing it to them. This is helpful as well.”

CJ believes that even with the many precautions that are taken within his job, the food delivery services have not faced many challenges due to COVID-19.

“It hasn’t been any trouble at all – there are almost never any crowds at restaurants when I pick up food, so I hardly have to worry about COVID-19,” CJ said.

Spencer shares similar views to CJ regarding working for a food delivery service during the pandemic, and how it affects his performance.

“It honestly has made the job better,” Spencer said. “Since we are in a pandemic there are more people that are ordering, so there are bonuses on orders. It’s different because of the little contact with people you have, which makes it a safe job during the pandemic.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of teenagers employed during the school year increased from 4.4 million to 17.5 million from April of 2020, to July of 2020.

“Some teens are very busy with a heavy school load and different types of activities,” Colleen said. “It can be difficult to find the time, but if it is possible to get a job, even if it’s just for a few hours a week, its a great way to gain experience that you can’t get in school.”

Spencer believes  there are many things to learn from working in food delivery services.

“I learned a lot about being efficient,” Spencer said. “You have to be efficient because you are on the clock. I will take away the importance of assertiveness. You have to be assertive to get orders in on time.”