Food delivery apps are becoming increasingly popular, even in suburban areas of the U.S. But is convenience worth it if delivery drivers are sampling diners' dinners?
A recent survey conducted by restaurant food supplier US Foods examined consumer and delivery worker "habits and pain points" when it comes to both ordering and delivering meals.
The data revealed some unique insight as to how long people will actually wait to get their food, attitudes toward tipping and more. Unfortunately, it also revealed some unsettling stats. For example, out of nearly 500 delivery workers surveyed, more 25% said they'd munched on food from an order. Yikes.
Apparently the temptation of a delicious meal is just too hard to resist — especially when it's not yours.
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To conduct the study, US Foods surveyed 1,518 American adults who said that they have used food delivery apps. Respondents’ ages ranged from 18-77, with a median age of 31. They also surveyed 497 American adults who "identified as having worked as a deliverer for at least one food delivery app." Those respondents had a median age of 30.
US Foods found that the average American has two food delivery apps on their smartphone, from which they order about three times a month. The most popular apps included Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates — all of which are third-party delivery services that partner with restaurants and grocery stores to bring food to peoples' homes.
Emails to Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates regarding the study were not immediately returned.
An Acosta study from July 2018 showed that since 2015, "convenient meal solutions" like food delivery have spiked in every category and age group, particularly among families with children and millennials. In 2016, research conducted by McKinsey & Company estimated that the online food delivery market will grow 4% every year for the next five years.
Encouraged by big chains, fast food fans have also been prompted to download delivery apps, since using third-party drivers to promote deals has become increasingly popular.
Last summer, Burger King offered 100 chicken nuggets for $10 with free delivery through Postmates. Chick-fil-A partnered with DoorDash in November 2018 to give away free sandwiches exclusively through the app. Even coffee breaks got easier this year when Starbucks became available on the Uber Eats app in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City, a spokesperson told TODAY Food in January.
But there are some downsides to this convenience.
Not only did 28% of delivery drivers admit that they had taken a nibble from a customer's order, 17% of customers said they'd had an experience where a delivery driver simply left food outside and didn't hand it off to them.
To address this issue, a majority of customers (85%) said they'd like restaurants to invest in "tamper-evident labels" to help combat this in the future.
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: