Food delivery from the phone has benefits and pitfalls

Jack Neal

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant business has undergone a major shift.  Governor Prizker’s order on March 15 that all bars and restaurants must be closed for sit-down service has certainly rocked the industry in Illinois, threatening to push restaurants out of business.

However, according to an article on, delivery apps(GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.) are “essential for restaurants to survive during the pandemic.”

“In the middle of a pandemic, restaurants are practically forced to use delivery apps for visibility and the delivery workers that the apps bring with them,” the article stated.

For some Oakton students however, the use of these services has been both a blessing and a curse.

“Oh yeah, it’s definitely helpful when you can’t go anywhere to eat,” said Taylor Meer.

Pete Seyring, another Oakton student, remarked that his use of Uber Eats increased significantly during lockdown. “It was really the only way to get the food you would normally drive to get.”

The increased use of food delivery apps due to the pandemic has been a widespread phenomenon.  Since the beginning of shelter-in-place orders across the country, the sales of food delivery services has more than doubled according to an analysis by the company Second Measure.

However, the frequent use of food delivery services have had pitfalls for students.  Both Meer, Seyring and student Charlie Prizker admit to using Uber Eats or DoorDash one to three times a week.  This has not changed despite the easing of certain restrictions regarding restaurant patronage.  “It’s just really convenient when I don’t really want to go anywhere or make anything,” said Meer.

“Honestly, sometimes I’m lazy,” said Seyring regarding his use of Uber Eats.

The ease at which food from favorite restaurants is available makes its frequent use appealing.  For students living on a tight budget, using services like DoorDash and Uber Eats on a regular basis can be a drain on already limited funds. “The delivery fees are really expensive,” said Meer, “as someone who is already pretty broke, it can eat away at my wallet.”

Charlie Prizker, a frequent user of Uber Eats, also finds himself ordering food when he is already low on money. “I do it sometimes when I know I shouldn’t.  It’s a really strong temptation.”

Student Taylor Meer is aware that the convenience of getting food delivered at the touch of a button can be detrimental in other ways. “It can prevent me from spending quality time in the kitchen.”

With contactless delivery available for groceries through services like Instacart, home cooked meals are just as available as takeout and delivery during this pandemic.  These too have large delivery fees, and some students who are also juggling work have difficulty finding time for cooking meals.  “I usually don’t have the time or the energy to cook for myself, unless it’s like a microwaved meal,” said Pritzker.

Pritzker admits that microwavable meals or ready to eat snacks are his go-to, but he regularly orders food through Uber Eats when he wants something more substantial.

Food delivery services offer convenience when it comes to good food.  But for Oakton students, convenience could come at price.  Use of food delivery services may also take a toll on the restaurant industry.  “All of these delivery services take almost 30 percent of the total sale for themselves,” Restaurant Owner Kristian Bawcom told “You’re already operating on such thin margins and then you throw that in the mix and it’s brutal.”  Ultimately, long term use of food delivery apps could be detrimental to the restaurant industry.