Person holding glass cup of food.
Unsplash/Aneta Pawlik

Regardless of how and when they deliver, there needs to be a high level of driver trust.

The Cultural Shift of a ‘Driver Nation,’ and Why it Matters for Catering

Drivers are happiest working for companies that value their services and appreciate their hard work.

When you look at the proliferation of people available for any third-party service—whether on-demand or for more specific services such as restaurant catering or retail—it’s clear an employment shift has occurred. Whether this is a true cultural change remains to be seen. However, one thing is clear: the power of the gig economy is having a tremendous impact on the restaurant industry. 

While some believe that the gig economy is on the decline—driven by the lack of profits generated from restaurants’ use of these services—it is my view that our success is directly related to driver, customer, and restaurant client partnerships. We build and expect the same level of professionalism with our drivers that we have with our restaurant associates. And we know this is important to our restaurant clients and their customers. 

When customers are treated right and feel they are informed in terms of delivery timing, they are more inclined to forgive when mistakes happen. And mistakes do happen. It’s inevitable. However, by creating a culture based on transparency in this new “driver nation,” we have created a platform where everyone feels heard and valued.

Drivers are happiest working for companies that value their services and appreciate their hard work. This also must be accompanied by timely order submissions and volume consistency from our partners, which equates to consistent financial compensation for our drivers.

When you work within an industry based on hospitality, a partnership mindset has to apply to everyone involved. For third-party restaurant catering delivery drivers, who have the ability to provide a key service—how they are treated by their restaurant partners and their customers are equally as important as how they’re treated by companies for which they work. The best partnerships have been built with that in mind and we believe the industry is better served when all parties win. 

By following this new model of work, restaurant clients have better access to what they need out of delivery services, and drivers have the ability to provide extra services and hospitality through convenience and speed. Some of our drivers provide delivery services all around the world, while others look to subsidize their finances. In the end, they all want to provide the best service possible.

Regardless of how and when they deliver, there needs to be a high level of driver trust. This is because, as drivers ourselves when first we launched our company, we learned the value of trust and compensation. We also learned the value of good customer service and put a lot of thought into how we would want to be treated as drivers. We also put a lot of thought into how we wanted our drivers to represent our restaurant partners and then present their catering brands to their clients. 

Most of us know that if a restaurant has to pull an employee from their line to make a catering delivery, this can wreak havoc on a lunchtime rush. And that’s where third-party delivery services for restaurant catering can help. By easing operational pressures for restaurants and staff, catering orders can be delivered on time, while in-store diners still get the customer care and service they require.

In this way, third-party delivery services are reshaping the way restaurants and retailers operate. And in this way, the rise of the gig economy is making it easier for restaurant brands to promote and provide the best of their offerings. 

A July 2019 article in Forbes highlights the pros and cons of this changing workforce mentality, but if you look at the nuances of the gig economy, businesses are thriving on the underlying issue tied to its popularity: the change in family and cultural dynamics. With this change, third-party delivery services are making it easier for restaurants to provide catering delivery services without losing their core value proposition or line-level employees. In this way, restaurant operators have a huge opportunity to build their catering business without compromising on their brand promise or food integrity. 

John Zinno is co-founder and chief people officer of DeliverThat, a third-party delivery service provider that is the industry leader in restaurant catering delivery and setup. As chief people officer, Zinno has been responsible for driving DeliverThat’s expansion into 40+ major metros across the United States and Canada. In addition, he has grown the DeliverThat’s international roster of contracted drivers to more than 2,000, and has built an internal and driver-based company culture based on commitment, transparency, and trust.

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