Students who deliver: behind the scenes

An insulated UberEats bag commonly used by couriers to deliver food. Drivers for various companies are often sent merchandise to complete their job. // Photo courtesy of Financialpanther

Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub are food services that many Tech students can attest to using after a long night of studying or when they simply want something captivating for their palette for the night.  

However, many food drivers in Atlanta can attest to how demanding the job can be at times.  

A few of those delivery drivers are your fellow classmates, who have managed to find a way to effectively manage their busy life as a Tech student, while delivering food and bringing joy to hundreds across the city.  

“I started doing DoorDash largely after being bored at home during the pandemic in 2020 and simply wanted to make some extra money,” stated Naomi Davis, fourth-year BA.  

For some students, doing food delivery allows them to have “some sense of disposable income as a college student,” stated Ryan Cooper, a fourth-year IE. 

DoorDash was a more flexible, lucrative way of supplying some of his wants as a college student, Cooper mentions. 

As a delivery driver, one’s job transcends far beyond simply picking up and dropping off food. Delivery drivers’ communication skills are often utilized and put to the test nearly every minute during the job.

Taj Lowe, fourth-year CE, can attest to the importance of communicating within the job.

“When you go into establishments you have to oftentimes talk to the workers and clarify the customer’s order, even after picking up the food you have to greet customers with a positive attitude.. so the job goes far beyond delivering food,” Lowe said.    

 Delivering a customer’s food could bring a smile and a sense of joy to a customer in ways that one might not ever anticipate. Good customer service is critical.

“Once the pandemic began, there were times where I would deliver food to nurses or to those in the hospital … I could only imagine the amount of stress that they were going through during such a stressful time … I would make sure their order was warm and accurate to ease their mind,” Davis stated. “Something as simple as delivering food could brighten a customer’s day.”   

“Something I really enjoy is getting to meet new people and doing DoorDash allowed me to do that,” stated Davis in regards to what she enjoyed about the job as a delivery driver. 

Cooper, who has been a DoorDash driver since 2019, has utilized his expressive personality to his benefit on the job. Cooper mentioned that one cannot be “bashful or shy on the job” because communicating to workers at restaurants that an order is incorrect or changes the customer might want can be necessary.   

“In my experience as a DoorDash driver I have learned decision making … because you simply can’t agree to pick up every order and there’s some orders you just have to realize aren’t worth the price for the hassle,” stated Davis. The decision making aspect of the job allows student delivery drivers to truly set their expectations not just during the job but in everyday life. 

“You learn that time is money,” Lowe explained in regards to how his work as a food delivery driver has helped him with time management. 

Lowe mentioned how he might only have had two hours between classes but was able to be productive and pick up some orders within those two hours.   

On busy school weeks, drivers typically have to tailor their delivery schedule to fit their busy student schedule. Davis mentioned how she would occasionally deliver on Fridays during her off day of classes and simply “listen to the music” as her friends would join her. 

“Oftentimes, Friday or Saturday nights are typically the most profitable time to do deliveries,” stated Cooper. “Those are also the days many college students like to go out and have fun, so it’s all about prioritizing.” 

Food delivery is a great way for students to earn extra income, something many drivers can agree on. 

“Remember it’s important to stick to areas you are familiar with,” Davis stated as she advised students who are interested in working as a food delivery driver.  Cooper mentioned how, when delivering at night, it may be helpful to “deliver with a friend” to help watch your surroundings.