Photo: Smith Collection/Gado (Getty Images), Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio
The Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.  

Dear Salty: Recently while in between jobs I started working as a delivery driver for DoorDash and about 80% of the time, no matter how polite and professional I was (and I made great effort to be both) it seemed like the staff of these restaurants just absolutely despised me for being there. I don’t know if it’s something about me or if a lot of gig delivery folks are unprofessional and weird and it would always leave me wondering if I’d done something to offend them or if it was just my red DoorDash bag. I did realize after a short while that DoorDash cuts the restaurants out of the the tipping process so maybe that’s it? Maybe I just have an asshole face? I’d love your input.

Sincerely,
Insecure Gig Driver

Dear Insecure,

Well, I don’t know you, so there’s a chance you’re a giant SOB! But I like to give my letter writers the benefit of the doubt. For the purposes of answering your question, let’s assume restaurant employees’ attitude isn’t due to your horrid personality or “asshole face.”

You say you’re making an effort to be polite and professional—good step! But have you examined whether anything else you’re doing could have been pissing off the staff? If you’ve never worked in a restaurant, you might forget not to hover near the pass—that area where servers pick up orders from the kitchen—or camp out near the servers’ station. I’ve seen some restaurants with designated areas for delivery drivers to get their orders, which seems like something more places could benefit from. Don’t be a traffic hazard, please.

But in my heart of hearts, I don’t think that’s the issue. I think the problem is probably that you’re A) disrupting front-of-house servers’ work flow a little bit and B) that a lot of restaurants generally view those third-party delivery apps as a necessary evil. Neither of these is your fault. Restaurants who sign up for these services need to address the delivery-app process with not just the kitchen but front-of-house, too. The kitchen has to prepare the orders, but FOH staff are usually the ones to pack up the forks and napkins, double-check the order, make sure it goes to the right driver, blah blah. They also have to shoo the drivers if they’re hovering weirdly near tables.

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And then there’s the reality that for some restaurants, these delivery apps don’t help the bottom line—or worse. There’s this lawsuit pending against GrubHub. There are claims restaurants lose money via the apps, or even close because of them. That’s not your fault as the individual driver, it’s the apps’ business model. Take the restaurants’ side-eye with a grain of salt, keep being friendly, stay out of the way, and you’re going to be just fine. Like you said, the gig is probably temporary anyway.


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com

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