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Coronavirus: More and More People Order Food Online but Delivery Can Take a Long Time

Ábrahám Vass 2020.03.20.

Voluntarily quarantined or not, concerns with coming into contact with anyone, or just having no time to cook, people still need to eat. Food delivery and online shopping are easy and obvious choices, also because the safety limitations have hit this sector hard, with many of them facing closures and lay-offs. These result in an increasing number of people turning to order food or groceries from home.

At the moment, if you want to eat out, you must do it until 3 pm, when restaurants have to close to customers and only delivery is possible after this time. Meaning the ones that are still open at all, many of them (and counting) are experiencing decreased traffic and increased safety concerns, and have decided to close completely, among them Laurel and two Michelin-starred Onyx. But not exlusively were the luxurious places forced to do so: for example, two of Győr’s biggest restaurants both serving hundreds daily for prepaid lunch menus decided to do so, due to the cancellations.

Others are trying to provide food delivery themselves. As the manager of La Perle Noire restaurant put it to tourism site Turizmus Online about a week ago, “we are now either closing or looking for alternative operation methods (…) Of course, closing is the very last option and we try to avoid that as responsible employers (…) Another one is delivery. We will be able to launch this in about a week since we are completely new to this new “business” and we will need to obtain the necessary infrastructure of administration and packaging.”

Forbes, in their article titled “Couriers keep the sector on breathing machine” showed that since the implementations of the limitations of the service, 500 new restaurants contacted one of the biggest domestic delivery companies NetPincér to join, who then seeks to speed up the entry process.

Both of the biggest domestic food delivery companies, the aforementioned NetPincér and Wolt, reported sky-rocketing demand and orders. As a consequence, they are constantly recruiting.

It’s good to know that according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), likewise to other, similar epidemics, there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

Provided that the food is handled with care after the preparation as well, the delivery itself carries the biggest danger then, notably meeting the couriers in person. ‘Wolt’ was the first and quickest company to react to the changed circumstances. The pandemic brought and introduced contactless delivery, which is already a default setting: couriers usually leave the package an the door, and the same works in restaurants too: prepared food waits for them in a window in order to avoid contacting the staff. And they have long been using online payments only. NetPincér has also caught up on this, and one can choose this option when ordering.

Evidently, both companies have implemented extra safety methods, such as providing hand sanitizers for the couriers and make them wash their hands after each delivery.

And what if you are stranded at home and want to order something? Well, supermarket chains, although they must be informed, will deliver food to those in voluntarily home quarantine too.  Yet as it is, neither Auchan, Tesco, Spar, or Príma, are taking delivery orders for March anymore, even though it is only the middle of the month. Tesco was the first to introduce limits in quantities due to panic-buying of certain products (oil, dried pasta, meat, canned food, sanitary products being the most popular goods overall). They, however, have gradually refined contactless delivery and avoid contact with customers.

featured image by MTI/Zoltán Balogh