The way I see it, there are basically four main areas of concern that each delivery app should have. In no particular order, these are customer experience, driver experience, restaurant staff/management experience, and profitability. It seems pretty clear that the existing apps focus a lot more on customer experience and profitability than anything else (though I haven’t seen the restaurant side of things, I assume it’s just good enough to be functional, if the restaurants see it at all). But what might an app look like if it focused mainly on driver experience?
Some caveats before we start here. Number one, this is not some kind of petition to get DoorDash and all the other companies to implement these changes. Quite frankly, some of them are completely unrealistic for various reasons. This is more of a thought experiment than a list of potentially profitable ideas. Number two, we all want more money, but I’m just gonna avoid any “pay me more” type ideas. It’s so obviously a thing we all want that it’s almost not worth talking about. Number three, these are just things I would want.
Maybe you’ll hate all my ideas, maybe you’ll have better ones. That’s what the comment section is for, so please feel free to use it and have fun.
Now, on to the features I wish delivery apps would implement.
1. Customer ratings
Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually leave ratings and comments for the customers that other drivers could see? “This guy has a mean dog,” “this woman was super rude to me,” “this person’s front door is difficult to find, go down the side street by the gas station,” etc. Then when that customer orders something again, drivers would be able to see those comments before accepting the order. Not only that, but the customer would be able to see these as well.
I mean they’re not gonna change their poor behavior if they aren’t told it’s a problem, right? If they want to keep getting their orders accepted, they have to (gasp) consider the driver’s perspective and not be terrible. Also, this could go the other way. “This person tips in cash,” “this family leaves out snacks for delivery drivers,” etc. We could be encouraging awesome customers to remain awesome, even thanking them for it in a real way by making it more likely that their future orders will be accepted and delivered promptly.
2. Restaurant ratings
This is pretty similar. “This restaurant has rude staff,” “parking is extremely difficult here,” “gives free drinks to waiting drivers,” “consistently has food ready to go when I get there,” etc. And again, not only the drivers but the customers and the restaurant managers would be able to see these things. I mean I’d avoid ordering from that particular pizza place if I knew it caused problems for drivers, or at the very least I would tip more.
And I would hope the manager of a restaurant with consistently poor ratings would do something to step up their game and be a better experience for the people delivering their food.
3. Actually show the whole reward
I’m not sure why, but DoorDash seems hell-bent lately on bamboozling drivers. An order will say $7.50 on it, but then have a bigger tip after delivery. That’s great, but why not just tell me in the first place how much the order is going to pay? I have also recently seen some orders that say “you will receive $8 plus 100% of the tip,” which of course turns out to be a complete lie because the full total, with tip, is $8.
My theory on these practices is that they’re meant to condition drivers into thinking every order will pay more than it says, which means we’ll theoretically decline fewer orders for offering low pay. Maybe this is just DoorDash, or maybe other apps do it as well. Either way, this is incredibly shady, I hate it, and I would much rather have all the delivery apps just tell us how much each order is going to pay before we accept.
4. Improved in-app navigation
I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit sick of having to use Google maps and swap between screens when making deliveries. It would be great if the delivery app actually helped me deliver the orders to the customers. And not only street navigation, I mean actually finding some people’s front doors. Apartment complexes are the worst, and some subdivisions are difficult to navigate, as well. It would also be absolutely wonderful if the app could avoid navigating me to turn left onto busy streets, as that's usually a chore in itself.
5. Easy accepting & declining
Some apps are already better at this than others, but it’s annoying and unsafe when driving down the road to have to click three small buttons to decline an order. Just make it one button. Done. And make the timer longer, give drivers ten minutes to accept an order so there’s time to pull over if necessary. Also, it would be great if drivers could just have personal settings for auto-declines.
Don’t want to take any order that’s less than $7? Mark that in your settings. Don’t want to take any orders that go to a certain area of town? Mark that in your settings. There could even be auto-accept settings, like if you know you will always be fine with orders from a certain restaurant, you could set yourself to always accept them.
It is fun to fantasize about how much better these apps could be for us as their primary users. Hopefully one of these days we’ll get to give some kind of meaningful feedback to our corporate overlords. What would you suggest?