As gas prices continue to climb across the country, food delivery services are looking for ways to help drivers save a few dollars while restaurants must find ways to offset the added costs.
“I take less money home now, so I pay more at the pump,” said food delivery driver Charlie Chou.
Every evening after dinner, Chou spends a few hours delivering takeout.
“The last two or three days have actually been slower,” he noted.
With fuel prices rising, Chou begins to reconsider his nighttime stampede.
“If it gets closer to $5, I might have to quit,” he said.
Despite the suffering of food delivery drivers, the demand for food delivery has not necessarily diminished.
“I love it because I don’t have to go anywhere,” said Linette Tavarez, who was at the restaurant with two of her friends on Wednesday night.
They all said they liked eating out and having food delivered.
“It’s expensive,” Sera Tapia said of ordering dinner online. “I’m not going to get it, but have it delivered.”
Kaitlyn Jackson complains about continuing to order daily delivery until prices get too high.
“When a meal costs $40 to eat, it’s not worth it at all,” she said.
This is the dilemma faced by Mike Doherty at the District 118 restaurant in Newton, Massachusetts, having to incur higher operational costs while keeping their dishes on their menu at a reasonable price.
“Every week is something new,” he said. “It’s beef prices, it’s produce, it’s avocado, it’s takeout, now it’s fuel.”
Gas prices could impact nearly every product Doherty uses to keep District 118 afloat. Adaptability for him has been key since the restaurant opened four years ago.
“The first two [years] were like opening a restaurant,” he said. “The last two have been like reopening a restaurant every two months… You just keep taking the hits and hoping you get by.”
Ultimately, Chou said the onus is on the customer, who will eventually see prices for services like delivery go up at some point.
“When people have to spend more on gas, you know, they have to spend less elsewhere,” Chou said.