It’s 9:30 p.m. and you finally get a chance to make yourself food after a long day of class. You check the fridge only to realize you should have hit the grocery store today. Or, you’re up late burning the midnight oil trying to finish your project but have a sudden craving for Cookout. What do you do?
For many college students, the solution is simple as apps like Doordash, Uber Eats and Postmates make it easy to have a variety of food delivered straight to your doorstep. This convenience has become an essential business during the pandemic, as the service keeps users in the safety of their home with contactless delivery. In sophmore Garland Schumann’s case, having a variety of food is a matter of life or death, as a lot of restaurants still aren’t accommodating those with special dietary restrictions such as celiac disease.
“Having celiac makes finding quality food that is safe and accessible a struggle but through Door Dash I can somewhat make that disappear. Not only does the app allow me to get a variety of food from all around my area without having to leave the comfort of my home, but I am also able to search for and purchase dedicated gluten free food without risk,” Schumann said.
Having in-app features such as gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options allows everyone to find something in a food pinch.
“It has completely revolutionized my diet as I no longer have to cook for myself every time I want to eat safely. I would definitely recommend it for anyone else with celiac or dietary restrictions,” Schumann said.
On the other hand, specifically the hands on the steering wheel, sits anyone with a clear record, a legal driver’s license and a mode of transportation. This feature truly differentiates these services from a normal restaurant job because the driver simply checks in when they want to receive deliveries and signs off whenever they choose. The flexibility and ease plus the feature that allows drivers to receive their earnings within the same day allowing them to see a quick turnover makes it a desirable position to attain.
All this adds up to create a nearly perfect source of income for a college student anytime, especially during a pandemic. The ability to simply check in and out without the restraint or commitment of a schedule allows students the ability to skip work if a last minute project or assignment is due, as well as make some extra money when you have unexpected freetime. Also, the issue of making a grocery run while being low on cash can be solved in just a few deliveries.
This has been the reality for almost three years now for sophomore Will Hall. What began in his hometown of Charlotte as a fun way to make extra money during the summer went into overdrive as freshman year brought him to Asheville. Hall has worked with both Postmates and DoorDash.
“Just moving to Asheville and not being familiar with the city, it was good to drive around like, that just to familiarize myself. Just having to go downtown for the first time was an experience,” Hall said.
In fact, downtown Asheville is the hub of the delivery business, according to Hall.
“I remember with Postmates, my business was like pretty much 90 percent downtown,” Hall said.
The application is not only open to nationwide restaurant chains, but also allows for local businesses to be a part of the booming market. This is exceptionally important as many restaurants struggle to stay afloat during a turbulent pandemic economy. For many, delivery has become the main source of profit.
For others, college was their first chance to try out being on the other side of the delivery service.
“I was worried at first that it would be unreliable or unrealistic as a main source of income. But with the weird hours of this semester’s classes being scattered between online and in-person I thought I’d give it a try,” sophomore Griffin Arquette said.
Arquette just started Uber Eats this year and was satisfied with the freedom the job entailed almost immediately.
“I liked the freedom of being an Uber driver and making my own hours, but didn’t want to risk having people in my car during the pandemic or in general to be honest. So the idea of just dropping off food at a doorstep sounded like the move,” Arquette said.
Postmates, Doordash and Uber Eats create a viable alternative for not only college students in need of funds, but those who face the time restrictions of a challenging hybrid schedule.
“For me it’s a perfect fit. I love to just drive around and see new places in my spare time so why not make money while doing it. The best part is I decide when just by opening the app,” Hall said.