I lived on Deliveroo for a year. This is what happened...
With Coronavirus causing chaos, here's how I lived on Deliveroo for a year and didn't die
They’re everywhere. There is no hiding from them anymore. Zipping through traffic day and night without a care in the world. More common than commonplace and growing larger daily, they’re taking over the streets of the city and your town could be next. There isn’t a corner in London safe from swarms of huddled heavily branded metallic bees, ridden by wide eyed men and women who seem constantly lost or late; all with agitated eagle-eyed stares forever fixed on their chirping phones commanding their next mission objective.
I am of course talking about the rise of the ‘Take-Away Delivery Drivers’ and their Masters; Deliveroo, UberEats and JustEat.
Bountiful boxes full of delights are sent from West to East, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Boxes of steaming gyozas, handmade vegan cakes, extra sides of fries, enough Pho to sink a small country, endless paper-wrapped double-patty cheese drenched burgers; an infinite plethora of options all commanded by the consumer from the comfort of their own home. With this new technology and a workforce (despairingly) willing to do the rounds and the average household lazy enough to abuse the service - will there be any need to leave the house ever again?
Born lazy (and living in Central London) I jumped on the delivery market from the inception.
It all started way back in 2005...
The love affair all started back in 2005, I was an early adopter of Deliverance, the O.G. of London food delivery - where you could order half a dozen different cuisines all from one handy website. Which meant the informal end to the standard Saturday night family arguments, finally there would be no need to draw straws or swords when choosing the weekend take away treat – you could have a Indian and a Chinese at the same if you desired, with a bonus of American starters and even British desserts to finish. It was heaven; until the quality dropped due to rising company costs and everything started to taste the exactly the same. Whether it was a pad-thai or ‘special fried’ vermicelli noodles, or worse still no difference between a green curry or chicken korma. It got bad, quick.
Fast forward to 2013, and say hello to Deliveroo
Fast forward to 2013 and a little-known app was just starting out, with their Founder even driving one of the bikes. Enter: Deliveroo
Flying the flag from the very beginning I was hooked from my first order with Deliveroo. From being able to see the cute graphics with the little bike man on the map, to the fun and informative live texts – the selection of options always seemed like there were actually good restaurants, and decent local ones at that. One’s you probably wouldn’t mind visiting on a slow week one day. It all felt shiny, sparkling and new - but in a good way. And a giant leap from a late-night Dominos, Red Planet Pizza and chicken shop orders that used to haunt my weekends.
But the best thing was; the food was good. Consistently good, and if was anything less than good, you could complain and nine times out of ten you’d get your money back. I’m not saying every dish was brilliant, there is no comparing a fresh burger being plonked in front of you in the restaurant the food was born in. The plumped meat swelling and sizzling in its own fats. Cooling on the fresh lettuce and soft, sweet dough of a freshly toasted brioche bun, the steaming cheese drooling out of the sides and pooling greasily around the base of your plate. There is nothing finer. The pop and crackle of kung pow chicken dropping on your plate joining the hundreds of half eaten dishes already on your table, food spilling over and sharing bowls bringing you all together round the big table at the local Chinese over a beer or two. Or the elation of an excellent service team and brilliant kitchen, working seamlessly together as you, their humble guest, enjoy their well-crafted dining experience. A restaurant can be harmonious symphony of endless stories and memories that could last forever, with good food you can create explosions of conversations and resounding happiness. When a restaurant is run well, the experience speaks beyond the just the dish in front of you, it can influence the mind, body and soul.
But alas, with all that in mind I still could not help but rip through the Deliveroo app like there was no tomorrow.
Original by Stevie Thomas
I started using countless excuses to order from the app; such as being too busy to cook let alone discover the ingredients or do a ‘big shop.’ I would make the whole process a fun digital game, quick fired multiple orders of the finest treats and sweets to entice and entertain guests would deliver on the hour every hour on the weekends. I would find myself stating openly that the kaleidoscope of readily made options made the whole game wholesome, promising the idealism of eating healthier than the normal fried goods, so why not do it every day. Poké can’t be bad for you right? It’s just fish, rice and vegetables. You can’t get a piggy face from Poké. Well, it might happen if you order a bowl of the Hawaiian dish five days in a row. For three weeks. All these optional extras, upgrades, buns, bowls and wraps lead you deep down a dark path of false hope. You aren’t feeding your appetite; you’re feeding an addiction.
Looking through my orders is like reading a diary of someone who clearly has some form of agoraphobia or feeding a slovenly family of twelve. Or a likely scenario based on the data; is a forty-two stone prehistoric land mammal, lost in time and only found in a small corner of west London or in shallow waters or unpopulated land for fear of eating a whole postcodes supply of chicken wings and their countries culinary Gross Domestic Product in one foul gulp. Or the truest reality, the subject almost certainly can’t or won’t cook.
From 1 December 2018 - 31 December 2019, I ordered more than 350 Deliveroos...
In just one year, from 1st of December 2018 to end of December 2019 I ordered over 350 individual times on Deliveroo.
That is an average 0.94 deliveries per day.
What was I eating?
The breakdown is loosely as follows:
Patty & Bun 62
Drinks Delivery 32
Five Guys 25
Chelsea Gourmet Oriental 18
Joe and the Juice 17
Other Burger & Shake Joints 10
Other Chinese 3
BP Petrol Station 5
Other unmentionable decisions 10-15
I’m not sure if I should be proud or horrified. In total I have over 650 since 2015. Is this the first case of Deliveroo-Addiction. (I’ll think of something catchier later) The sad thing is, I still have eaten out in restaurants on top of these stats, a good few times a week. I have no idea how I’m fitting it all into my six-foot six body. There are some days I have ordered over four different items on one day; I have taken it to a whole new level. The most we have (collectively) ordered to one household in one day is seventeen deliveries. Seventeen. Seventeen Deliveroo’s in one day. That’s seventeen new meals, seventeen empty boxes and wrappers, seventeen new delivery dudes ringing the bell, seventeen different times we had to get up and answer the door for a single side, can of drink or single slice of pizza.
The experiment is now thankfully over, just call me “Deliveroo Dude”. Having now completed the app and secretly created an ass groove in my sofa so deep it’ll take months to beat back into shape, I have now sworn to curb the habit for a while. Plus, I have so many wooden forks and knives I should probably plan to spend a good while outside and go camping making use of all my recyclable cutlery.
And with that final statement, I’m going for a long walk. And whilst I trudge off the last year of takeaways, the following is the knowledge I have learnt in twelve months being “Deliveroodicted.”
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Whichever way you play it, the old wives’ tale is true, even on Deliveroo. If you mainline chicken or burgers you will end up looking like one of the animals you’ve just been devouring. A Barrell shaped chest, big bottoms with arms like chicken things and a belly busting gut are in your future if the meaty, sauce lined path is the one you choose. Your mind will dumb with all the greasy goodness and you will become dopy and ruined from all the wheat and salt. Turn it around and only go for the healthy places, choosing eggs or lighter bites will soon catch up with you. Too much of anything is a bad thing and often finding new favourites and binging them until I’m bored meant my diet never changed for any better.
BURGERS ARE THE BEST. BUT PATTY & BUN IS GOD.
If you’ve never had one stop everything and go there now. Patty & Bun’s beef patties are undeniable the best in the country. Always, always brilliant, the Ari Gold is a classic burger which will go down in history. Now with unreal vegan and vegetarian options, and sites almost everywhere in London there is no excuse but to try this sloppy brilliance of a bun.
Burgers have been a ‘go to’ choice using Deliveroo; Five Guys is another huge favourite. It is almost the perfect burger. Just imagine if McDonalds made a real burger, like the adverts - Five Guys pulls this off plus all the trimmings.
THERE IS NO NEED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. EVER.
Deliveroo has it all. From the little things like unique sweet selections, to weird mac and cheese side combinations, to the big things like emergency toilet roll – the countless restaurants and shops that are on the platform is incredible. You can almost get anything, at any time of day, even Joe & the Juice.
MIXING IT UP IS A GOOD THING.
Deliveroo plus is now a modern necessity up there with Netflix account and having an iCloud account; if you’re planning on ordering more than a few times a week, the service pays for itself. With free delivery you can forget the extra charges and order from anywhere freely. Mixing it up with a dessert from here, and your mains from there can be quite fun. And for the small orders like a couple of tons of cheeky chocolate bars at one in the morning, it’s helping the local economy in a way. Maybe not the environment though.
THE BEST CHICKEN BURGER IN THE WORLD
The original Eggbreak burger was hands down the best in the world and I discovered it through Deliveroo. The hot, spicy sauce kicked through this huge piece of beautifully crisp chicken in a light batter than still had this crunch but kept the punch of the spice. The best in the world.
ORDERING ANYTHING PAST MIDNIGHT IS NEEDLESS
Just don’t do it. Unless you’re hammered and need to guzzle pizza to sober up, then go for it - but if you’ve been rolling around on the sofa all day - you don’t need to order in that ice cream at midnight. Although that does sound quite good right now.
A NEW WAY TO CHECK OUT NEW RESTAURANTS IN THE AREA
I’ve been casually using Deliveroo as a great way of spotting new places pop up in my corner of the world; I had no idea there was a pub down the road until I found out it delivered pizza; or that there’s a new high-rise street food stall slash office-party-bar is stumbling distance from my home. This also works when you’re abroad. I was hungover to sin in Amsterdam and instead of roaming the streets, peering through shutters and waving arms at the stoned locals for the nearest edible food joint. I just sat back and ordered pizza and bitterballen to our apartment, all with one eye open, I didn’t need to move.
THE END IS NIGH?
This could be the beginning of the end of the world. Deliveroo, along with the juggernauts UberEats and JustEat mark the dawn of a new age of laziness. And it’s not looking good for the human race. With the big three fighting for our attention on buses, television broadcasts and newsprint – there is no escape from their message. They want us to stay in, watch tv and stay put. Eat our days away in front of mind-numbing soap dramas, docuseries, and exclusive content – to binge series on the weekend, to have us fill our heads and conversations with the drama of films and gossip about emotional celebrities, to eat our emotions rather than discuss them. To be distracted from the important things in life, and to continue to be a consistent consumer.
These apps are meant to be money making machines. Built to be easy and addictive. Daily notifications on the different deals and discounts hark a sense of back street dealer talk. Tempting you into their seedy deals every Friday or Saturday night with a well-timed text message; the email campaigns and slogans slyly whispering in your ear like a fat parrot, persuading you to be lightheaded and foolhardy, jumping in for another hit. Why not, the simple subliminal message says, ‘no one will ever know’. It’s just you and the app. Your saucy little secret.
With the rise of entrepreneurialism, the digital creative industries, especially in graphic design and writing; working from home is now seen as an acceptable workplace for modern day bosses, gifting trust to both employee and employer. There will be a new wave of lunch time traffic as this trend becomes more popular across the country, which should be good for the hospitality industry and local restaurants. We all win, the consumers will have more options than ever, and each place will have to step up their standards set by the apps. And the Big Dog Companies win by taking a heavy cut off the restaurants and of course, selling our data. My warning to you all after a year of using Deliveroo is take it slow and choose wisely. Don’t order too big or too often. Learn to cook some simple meals you’re over-ordering on the app and take control. It’s fun to try and make a burrito, and if you can’t, it’s a great excuse to get someone round to help you make one – Plus, it’s all fun and games until you can’t fit into your favourite pair of jeans! Know your limits and get your ass outside.
What’s the most you’ve ordered in one day?