March 31, 2019

That Time I Was A Grubhub Driver...

Well... sort of.

So, about a year ago I was watching Shameless and there was an episode where one of the characters was fake-uber driving but more importantly he was doing it with his girlfriend in the passenger seat. And I thought "well I might be interested in Uber driving again if Husband and I could do it together in our spare time." But you can't because that seat has to be available for passengers...

The reason I wanted to write about this in my blog is because we learned so much about how the system works that I wanted to SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD EVERYONE WHO HAS GRUBHUB IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD!

But I also want to talk about the driver side briefly.

And then Grubhub came to my town. And a lot longer than it should have taken me quickly, I realized that we could do that together because the people ordering the food don't care who's in the car, as long as they get their food.

Personally, I have a fear of going to the wrong address, but Husband was okay with doing that part and we signed up.

We got two bags which have handles that can switch orientation depending on what the food is (it can go to being shopping-bag-like to a pizza bag), two shirts that you don't have to wear, a hat that I'm pretty sure no one wears, and a sign that explains why your car is somewhere it shouldn't be for when neither of us is in the car.

Usually he does the driving because he gets carsick due to my aggressive driving all the time. And I'm the "man in the chair."
No, this jacket isn't from Grubhub. Husband already owned that.

I know where things are better than he does so I help navigate, and run the app, which is helpful when a new order comes in and he's driving and you get penalized if you don't accept the order with in a couple of minutes. This is important because the order needs to be evaluated before accepting it, because no, we're not going to drive 20 minutes across town to deliver food to someone who doesn't tip.

And last, when it's not cold outside (his car has heated seats), and when it's a restaurant with enough space for both of us to wait, we both go in since there's usually some waiting. I always stay in the car when we're in a meter space or somewhere questionable because we don't want to pay a meter and I can hop in the drivers seat and move the car if need be.

It was very frustrating at first. The first two orders we did took forever and were a disaster. But the next day it was so much easier and we started learning all the tricks and how the system operates. 

Overall, we like doing it and we make a game out of it. It's especially nice that anytime we're going to a busy part of town, we can turn Grubhub on after, and make a bit of money on the way home.

Sometimes we even get some free food out of it! (see #15 below) 
Actual free food we acquired.

That's about all I need to say about being a driver, so onto my PSA about how to be a Grubhub customer.

Even just a dollar. Seriously. 

The fee that you are charged is not the driver's tip. Well, some of it is. Depending on how far away the restaurant is, the fee might be 2.99 or it could be 11.99 (maybe more, I don't really know).  
Drivers get a flat $3.25 per order, plus as-the-crow-flies mileage from the restaurant to your house. That usually means the driver's gas isn't really getting paid for, nor the depreciation of the car's value by adding miles to it. 
Driver's also don't get paid hourly. They only get the aforementioned amounts and what you tip them. Additionally, drivers get to pick which orders they accept, AND they get to pick the order in which they deliver them if they get more than one order from the same restaurant (it can be up to 4 at a time), so maybe it's worth that small bribe additional amount of money.
And, yes, they see exactly how much you chose to tip. And most probably know that you have to type in "$0," rather than just tipping at least 10% by pressing one button.

3) Prepare to wait.
As I said, drivers can get up to 4 orders from the same restaurant. And yes, they are expected to wait for all of those orders before delivering any of them. This is why it can take for-freaking-ever to get your food. 
They then have to chart a course to deliver all these orders and the destinations can be miles and miles apart. If you tip well, you're not guaranteed to be first in that order, but it will be factored into the driver's choice of route. And vice versa for someone who doesn't tip.

4) Tell tell the driver in the driver instructions if you intend to tip cash.
But be honest about it. Don't think that a driver won't remember you if you claim you'll tip cash and then don't. So, yes, if you want to tip cash, by all means, do so. But if you don't tell the driver, they will think you are a jerk and it will affect their decision making (sorry, not sorry).

5) Don't use a cash tip as bribe and not follow through
I know I already said that, but there was a dude that put in the instructions that he would tip cash if the food got to him quickly. But then we were assigned the order when it was already 45 minutes after he ordered. 
We wanted the cash so we called him to explain that we JUST got the order (can be verified in the app/on the website) and that we were heading to the restaurant and would bring it straight to him. We did just that and no, he didn't tip. I'm pretty sure he never deems his deliveries to be fast enough to warrant a tip.

6) If the reason you're ordering in is because the weather is crappy, tip more.
You're lucky there are any drivers willing to risk their life and/or car to make a bit of money by bringing you food while you stay comfy on your couch.
A string of bad tips will make a driver reject your order or even go home. Yes, we know people who have gotten into accidents when it's ice/snowy. I think Grubhub should man up and shut down when there's bad weather. But some people are risk takers I guess.
That's supposed to be a snowy car.

7) Tell the driver where you live in the driver instructions. 
This may sound obvious but if you live in an apartment building, somewhere confusing to get to, or you let the app find your location and it's wrong (it's usually wrong)... please please PLEASE add more information (like the name of your apartment building or complex, if it has one) in the driver instructions. You will get your food so much faster.
Even if your house is easy to find, the driver will love you if you give a landmark or distinguishing feature. Especially at night when most house numbers are hard to see (regardless of how visible you think yours is).
Maybe even turn your outside light on if you have one to help identify the house (this also helps your driver to identify YOUR order if they have more than one in their bag). 

8) Use the correct address.
Yup. This happens too! It's usually because someone moved or is ordering from their friends house. Your account has an address already programmed in as a default so you're not prompted to enter one at check out. If you realize your error right away, contact Grubhub to fix it. Your driver is not required to deliver your food to you if you put in the wrong address (who knows how far of a drive that could be). They can if they want, but you need to 1) answer your phone (see #14) 2) ask REALLY nice 3) hope that it's not too far out of the way 4) offer to tip extra (and actually do it). If you don't even answer the phone though, that food is mine!
Actual free food.

9) Your driver might be someone you know IRL. 
This partially goes back to tipping but is also a weird thing that happens. You expect your driver to be a stranger, but what if you don't tip and then have to face a friend or acquaintance? Yes. This has happened to Husband.
We live in a townhouse, and we once got an order for someone on the other end of our row. That was actually amazing. We parked in our parking lot, Husband delivered the food, and I kept walking home.

10) Don't put your phone number in the driver's instructions.
...Unless you want the driver to call a number that is different than the number you used to sign up for your Grubhub account. Said number is linked and your driver can/will call you through the app.

11) Don't ask your driver to deliver your food to your door if they cant get into the building.
If there is a code you can give them, then sure, they'll deliver it to your door, but put the code in the driver instructions to make the process go faster.
If you live somewhere that the driver would have to wait to follow someone into the building... no, do not even ask your driver to bring it up to you. Especially if you live somewhere like an all-girls dorm.
And if your building has multiple entrances, indicate and describe how to get to right one so they don't have to drive and/or walk extra to find it. All of this will get YOU your food faster.

12) If you order food to a hotel, include the name of the hotel.
Yeah I kind of said this already because it's similar to ordering to an apartment building. But less people think to do it in a hotel than an apartment building. It just helps your driver to get your food to you faster because they don't have to pay as much attention - or possibly no attention to the GPS. Don't just say "Marriott," say the brand. Even in our little town we have a Residence Inn and Courtyard (both Marriott) across the street from each other. If you want it brought to your room, put the room number. If you want to meet in the lobby put "call when you get here" in the driver instructions. If you work there and the driver just needs to take it to the front desk, you know it!, tell us that!

13) Don't get in the shower.

"Why would anyone do that, Lauren?" I don't freaking know! But multiple people that we have delivered to have taken forEVER to come to the door because they were in the shower. We have no idea what people are thinking. The only thing I can figure is the food is taking a while (like it does, per previous explanation) and they figure "well I might-as-well get my shower out of the way." NO! Don't even think about it. If you really need to shower before eating your greasy take-out food, get in the shower immediately after placing your order so that you will be able to come to the door when your driver knocks. And if you were wondering, the way these people discover Husband is at their door isn't because they are able to hear the doorbell or knock from shower, its because he called them 3 times from their door and they finally heard their phone ring.

15) Have your phone nearby.
Especially if you said "please call" in the driver instructions. But also even if you didn't.
90% of the time your driver won't need to call you, but if they do, it just makes your food take loner to get to you if you don't answer the call. You should expect a call either way if your apartment complex or neighborhood is confusing and it will be hard to find you.
Oh and if your driver calls you, the call will come from a Chicago area code because it goes through the app (to protect both of your identities), and Grubhub's HQ is in Chicago.
And yes, a lot of people do not answer their phones. Sometimes a voicemail can't even be left because the inbox is full or their voicemail isn't set up.

16) Don't fall asleep.
We can't prove that this is a thing that has actually happened to us, but Husband has knocked on doors and called and after 10 minutes and a call to Grubhub "driver care" we leave and then eat your food. Actually, if you order something good, go ahead and fall asleep. (If you do fall asleep, don't call Grubhub 4 hours later and ask why your food never came. Yes, this has happened.)

So there you have it. Now you know the secrets too. I hope you head my words and henceforth be a good little Grubhub customer.


  1. Interesting. I don't even like picking up my own food, so I'm not sure I would be good at this. However I find your information really interesting.

  2. I have to admit I've not heard of Grub Hub before but it sounds like things we have here under different names. I can imagine the job can be a bit overwhelming at times for sure!

  3. What a fun way to make extra money and do something together. We don't have a Grubhub here but I do have friends who have become personal shoppers for people and they have been able to make some extra money in the evenings by swinging by the grocery store for people after work. Sounds fun.

  4. I wish I had Grub Hub near me. I also like how you suggested tips for the customer. Tip...People...Tip! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This was very funny to read. I really like the ones about getting into the shower and falling asleep. Do people actually do that?

  6. These are great tips for people who use Grubhub for deliveries. I’ve seen Grubhub drivers at some restaurants but wasn’t sure how it worked.

  7. i've always wondered what it was really like to have one of those jobs! Thanks for the insight.

  8. It's shameful how many people don't tip. I'm glad you explained that the fee does not generally go to the driver so hopefully others can take note.

  9. Thanks for sharing your optics. I always tip, because I bet that it's a lot of rush going on and that it's not the driver's fault. I love when they keep me updated, I usually tip more when they are communicative and keep me on the loop.

    Candace Hampton

  10. How interesting! I love that you talk about GrubHub. It's such a lifesaver when you need a quick dish.

  11. Seems like a great side hustle alternative income. Would definitely recommend to people looking for ways to make money.

  12. Yes! My husband drives for a pizza shop and for Uber eats and people are so bad about tipping, be there when they said they would be, or even answering the door. What is up with that? I don't get it. Tipping should be a given especially when you see the driver's personal car. Be a decent human being.

  13. This post is really interesting. I think a lot of people who are in the same industry will quickly relate to this. Giving a tip regardless of the situation, big or small is worthwhile.

  14. This post was funny! Grub hub is in the next town over but not in my town, which makes no sense!! There's no one that delivers in this small town, haha so Grub hub would actually be pretty dangerous for my wallet!!