Photo by Xander Lord
Durham-born Elliot Webster withdraws from his parking lot
It’s 9:30 p.m. and after a long day of class, you finally have a chance to make yourself some food. You just check the refrigerator to see that you should have been at the grocery store today. Or you burn the midnight oil late and try to finish your project but suddenly have a craving for cookout. How are you?
For many college students, the solution is simple, as apps like Doordash, Uber Eats, and Postmates make it easy to have a wide variety of groceries delivered right to your doorstep. This convenience has become an essential business during the pandemic as the service keeps users in the safety of their home through contactless delivery. In Sophmore Garland Schumann’s case, having a wide variety of foods is a matter of life or death as many restaurants still do not host restaurants with special dietary restrictions such as celiac disease.
“Celiac disease makes it difficult to find good quality food that is safe and accessible, but Door Dash allows me to make that a little go away. With the app, I can not only obtain a variety of foods from my surroundings without having to leave the comfort of my home, but I can also search for and buy special gluten-free foods without risk, ”said Schumann.
With in-app features like gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, everyone can find something if they need it.
“It completely revolutionized my diet because I no longer have to cook for myself every time I want to eat safely. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with celiac disease or dietary restrictions, ”said Schumann.
On the other hand, especially on their hands on the steering wheel, everyone sits with a unique record, a legal driver’s license, and a means of transport. This feature really sets these services apart from a normal restaurant job, as the driver simply checks in when they want deliveries and signs out whenever they want. The flexibility and ease, as well as the feature that allows drivers to get their revenue in the same day and generate quick turnover, make it a desirable position.
All of this makes a near-perfect source of income for a college student, especially during a pandemic. The ability to easily check in and out with no limitation or commitment of a schedule allows students to skip work when a last minute project or assignment is due and make extra cash when you have unexpected free time. Even the problem of running a grocery store while money is tight can be resolved in just a few deliveries.
This has been the reality for Will Hall for almost three years. What started out as a fun way to make extra money over the summer in his hometown of Charlotte went into high gear when the first year brought him to Asheville. Hall has worked with both Postmates and DoorDash.
“Just moving to Asheville and not being familiar with the city was good driving around just to familiarize myself. Only having to go downtown for the first time was an experience, ”said Hall.
Downtown Asheville is the hub of the delivery business, according to Hall.
“I remember 90 percent of my Postmates business was downtown,” Hall said.
The application is not only open to nationwide restaurant chains, but also enables local companies to be part of the booming market. This is extremely important as many restaurants are struggling to stay afloat during a turbulent pandemic economy. For many, delivery has become the main source of profit.
For others, college was their first opportunity to try their hand at the other side of the delivery service.
“I was afraid at first that it would be unreliable or unrealistic as the main source of income. But since the strange hours of the semester course are scattered between online and in person, I thought I would give it a try, ”said sophomore Griffin Arquette.
Arquette just started Uber Eats this year and was almost immediately pleased with the freedom the job brought.
“I liked the freedom to be an Uber driver and spend my own hours, but I didn’t want to risk having people in my car during the pandemic or in general, to be honest. So the idea of just leaving food on the doorstep sounded like moving, ”said Arquette.
Postmates, Doordash, and Uber Eats provide a viable alternative not only for college students in need of money, but also for those facing the time constraints of a challenging hybrid plan.
“For me it fits perfectly. I just love driving around and seeing new places in my spare time. So why not make money from it? The best thing is, I decide when to open the app, ”said Hall.