Who's Taking Your Money When You Order Food From Delivery Apps?

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Monday, July 6, 2020
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Exploring the Gig Economy, Labor and Delivery Apps

During the pandemic many people have turned to food delivery services like Grubhub and UberEats; however, there are problems with this business model as a way to sustain the restaurant industry through trying times, ranging from high delivery fees to drivers not earning a living wage. Watch the video, and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript, click here

  • Restaurant owner Desmond Reilly explains that these services can take up 22% to 33%  of the profits from food delivery. If restaurants were to operate based solely on delivery using those companies, they risk putting themselves out of business.
  • This business model is also hard to sustain for drivers and clients, as drivers do not earn a living wage and delivery fees tend to be high enough to drive down potential orders.
  • Venture capitalist Randy Komisar explains that the only reason that these businesses and business models continue to exist is the lure of trying to find the next big opportunity. The chance for potentially big returns outweighs the ability to discern  good from and bad investments.

 

 

Discussion Questions: Labor and Delivery Apps

  • Essential question: If this business model has a negative economic impact on restaurants, consumers and drivers, then why does it continue to exist? Who benefits?
  • Have you recently ordered food delivery? What were some aspects of the process that you liked or did not like? Explain.
  • What are some changes that can be implemented to make food delivery better for everyone during the pandemic?
  • Media literacy:  Whose perspective was missing from this story that you’d like to hear from?  

Extension Activity: Gig Economy, Labor and Delivery Apps

Have students read this NewsHour story on the expanding role of gig work in our economy and answer the following questions.

  • Delivery drivers are one aspect of the gig economy in the U.S. What other gig jobs exist?
  • Do you think there will be more gig type jobs in the future?
  • If a greater proportion of jobs are gig jobs that lack benefits or that pay a living wage, what will be the impact on American society as a whole? What problems that already exist might be exacerbated? What new problems might emerge? 

 

Reprinted with the permission of PBS NewsHour Extra.

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