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Get in, Get out, Get Paid: Spend Less Time at the Restaurants

That title sounds like a house flipping course, doesn’t it? No house flipping today. Getting in and getting out: It’s all about the restaurant today.

Our way to make up for the pay cuts: Efficiency

Folks, there’s enough talk about new pay models out there and enough wailing moaning and gnashing of teeth over these pay reductions, but here’s the thing: Most of the pay reductions are like a buck or less per delivery. Yes, if you're full time, you do a LOT of deliveries and 50 cents to a buck a delivery adds up.

That doesn't have to mean a pay cut though. Yesertday in Episode 12, we talked about setting your price by only taking the deliveries that meet your set price. The example was 40 cents, from the 40 cent rule we discuss in episode 9 – we are focusing on deliveries that pay 40 cents a minute. That is one way to help

The 40 Cent Rule and Earning More by Delivering Quicker

But here's another way to make up and even greatly overcome those reductions: Efficiency. Get more deliveries per minute. You can make up most of those pay cuts by shaving one or two minutes time off your delivery. Remember that 40 cent rule? Yes, I hammer that one a lot. If you're shaving 2 minutes off a delivery, that's about the same as adding 80 cents. No, it doesn't add money to your actual delivery but what it does do is give you 2 more minutes in which you can get another delivery, and if you did that all day, and if you're grabbing deliveries that are bringing in 40 cents a minute or better, you actually ARE bringing in more by being able to do more deliveries.

If you've listened to me in past episodes, I mentioned in episode 8 when I talked about tracking my earnings and tracking three key statistics. Because I did this, at the end of June I was able to look at my hourly profit for June this year and compare it to June last year. In June last year I had $16.98 hourly profit. This year it was $20.60. You know where the biggest improvement was to get me there? I went from 2.07 deliveries per hour to 2.34. The average payment per delivery was almost identical – I was just able to get more done in the same period of time.

Your greatest opportunity to reduce delivery time is the time spent at the restaurants.

So why are we bringing up the restaurant today? Here’s the thing I’ve noticed: that it seems like it’s the restaurant that is the biggest log jam for getting deliveries done quickly. The food’s not ready. We have to wait for restaurant staff to notice us. Parking and getting TO the restaurant can be a pain. The time at the restaurant can be the greatest opportunity for improving your efficiency.

There are things we can do to reduce our time there. Where we can get in and get out quickly. Through doing things quicker, paying attention to certain things at the restaurants, and sometimes just being courteous and professional, we can trim seconds to minutes off our delivery times.

Know the restaurants.

You want to know which restaurants are quick and which ones aren’t. If you’re working for a platform where sometimes you have to place an order, you want to know which ones that happens with more often. Which ones wait for you to arrive to start preparing? Pay careful attention to which restaurants are quick and which ones aren’t. Get to know the preferences for the restaurants. Once you know where they like you to go, you can march right in, and sometimes it’s that marching that seems to get attention.

Pay attention to the order info.

There are a couple of things you want to pay attention to. Where is the customer? Sometimes you have an address already, sometimes it’s just a point on the map. As you are pulling up to the restaurant, park strategically. This is especially true in congested areas or one way streets. When I’m downtown, there are times I’m going to park a block away from the restaurant if that puts me pointed in the direction I need to go. The extra two minutes to walk over and back is a lot less than the time in traffic getting turned around if I don’t do this.

Have your order information on your phone before entering the restaurant

The other thing here is, pull up your order information immediately. Have that up on your phone before you walk in. Sometimes just walking in kills your internet connection and if you don’t have the order already pulled up, you might have trouble getting the name info. It also allows you to get things done quickly with the restaurant, and they appreciate when you respect their time.

Look professional.

I can’t tell you how important this is. Now I don’t wear the Grubhub or Doordash shirts and hats. I do too much multi-app work and having those logos can create confusion in a restaurant that works on multiple platforms. But I do wear a uniform. I have a red dress shirt, decent slacks, usually a bow tie and a fedora. I mean, NO ONE wears a fedora, right? I’ve had people comment before that a fedora is never a good idea. But you know what? It stands out. There’s no confusion about who I am or what I’m there for. If all you do is one platform, it probably isn’t that bad an idea to wear the shirt. Wear something that shows that one, you are there for a purpose and not just another customer, and two, you are a professional. It really does make a difference.

Bring your bag in.

Even if you know by the order you’re not going to use it, bring it in anyway. Your bag is your freaking billboard that says hey guys, I’m a delivery person here to pick up your food. If the goofy outfit didn’t totally communicate who I am, the bag certainly does. In the equipment section, I talk about getting a good bag, preferably one with sturdy sides. You want something you can drop the food into easily and quickly. I have one with Velcro seals so I don’t have to mess with zipping. It has pockets that I can put single drinks into. The bag is amazing at getting me out of the restaurant.

Be Courteous, Respectful and Professional.

Seriously, you see how crazy it is in some of those restaurants. Most of these people are overworked, frazzled, and let’s be real here – there are a lot of drivers who give us a bad name. There’s a reason that a lot of restaurant staff hate us without even knowing us. Be courteous, be understanding. I know that’s hard at times, especially when there’s a long wait. Sometimes we’re sure it’s because of their incompetence. It may be, but getting angry doesn’t help anything at all. Treat the staff well, treat them with courtesy and professionalism, and that goes a long way with getting better treatment each time you go in. Especially if you’re always wearing a goofy bow tie and fedora, they kinda remember you for that kind of thing.

The waiting drivers ompetition

Have you ever pulled up to a restaurant and you see two or three other drivers who are arriving at the same time? It used to be that I was feeling like, oh crap, I’m going to have to wait for them to get their orders, I’m screwed. You know, any more I don’t feel that way. I hardly ever walk out after any of them. They’ll walk in, they’ll get in line, they’ll go to the wrong place, or they’ll dawdle around before going in.

It’s a common thing to walk in while there’s a line of drivers waiting and I’m the first one to get attention. I’m serious here – when you walk in like a professional, like you take this seriously, when you look like you take THEIR food and THEIR customer seriously, you start getting preference.

One way to overcome the long waits you know will happen

One other thing I’m going to throw in here. There are times I really love the little $3 postmates orders. Okay, that seems out of sequence, right? I’ll explain. This goes back to knowing your restaurants. It also goes to understanding the platform you’re working and when things are slow. There are those times when I get an order, I know there’s going to be a wait, and I know it’s worth the extra time. That’s cool. But sometimes I’m going to fire up the other apps I work and see if I can snag a little 1 – 2 mile delivery. At this point, I don’t even care if it’s only a $3-5 to that other order without taking any longer.

Focus on getting in and getting out. Be quick, professional and courteous. It’s a good way to give yourself a pretty good pay raise because of the additional deliveries you can get done.

What are some ways you have learned that help get you in and out of restaurants quicker?

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

About the Author

Ron Walter made the move from business manager at a non-profit to full time gig economy delivery in 2018 to take advantage of the flexibility of self-employment. He applied his thirty years experience managing and owning small businesses to treat his independent contractor role as the business it is.

Realizing his experience could help other drivers, he founded to encourage delivery drivers to be the boss of their own gig economy business.

Ron has been quoted in several national outlets including Business Insider, the New York Times, CNN and Market Watch.

You can read more about Ron's story,, background, and why he believes making the switch from a career as a business manager to delivering as an independent contractor was the best decision he could have made.

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