Since the start of the pandemic, accessibility to groceries and restaurants has been hindered for my students. Students reached out to share how they have been hindered, whether due to quarantine or simply the new shuttle schedule, and how delivery services like instacart and DoorDash helped overcome these hindrances.
Sophomore Annika Britton had favorable experiences with Instacart, a grocery delivery service. “I see it as a good service that I would recommend if a person is quarantined or unable to go to the store.” Britton also explained that she prefers the service from Postmates, which delivers both food and groceries. “I have a car this year, so now I’ll usually just drive to get food, but before, with no car, it was just easier to have food delivered to campus.”
For Jenae McInnes, food deliveries through services like Doordash and UberEats was not a common occurrence until she was quarantined in her dorm room for two weeks with COVID-19. “That was when I first started … My roommate and I were sick, and, sorry to the D.C., but the food they brought us was the absolute worst from the D.C. and we needed actual food.”
Sophomore Halle Booher regularly orders food through DoorDash because of the accessibility and the more flexible hours compared to the limited hours of the Dining Commons and the shuttle. “If I want to eat food at 8:30 p.m. at night, DoorDash makes it possible,” Booher stated.
Students like Booher have to take into account the additional fees attached to these delivery services. In response, Booher recently purchased DoorDash’s “DoorDash pass,” allowing her to “pay about 10 dollars a month in exchange for no shipping fees when I order.” For McInnes, the additional fees became noticeable after her recovery from COVID-19. “When I had [COVID-19], my parents were the ones paying, and once I started paying for it, it was really expensive, especially in Santa Barbara. It is convenient, but it’s definitely not good for the wallet, so I’ve been trying to do it less.”
Although Britton, Booher and McInnes appreciate these delivery services, they all see room for improvement. Both Booher and McInnes stated how the DoorDash app is difficult to order from. Britton felt that Instacart should have alternatives to its communication process. “When a lot of products weren’t available, the person [from Instacart] would send a text saying, ‘There’s no raw chicken, do you want sausage instead?’ and because they’re already standing in the aisle, it is kind of hard to make a decision on the spot,” Britton stated.
Booher also wished more food options were accessible. “I wish more restaurants included DoorDash, then I could order Chick-Fil-A if I wanted.”
Fast food seemed to be a favorite when picking a restaurant through the delivery services. Booher, Britton and McInnes all shared how Chipotle was usually their go-to order, and Booher and McInnes described Chipotle as reliable. “I’m not really a fan of healthy foods, so I’ll get Chipotle’s or my roommate and I will sometimes share a pizza,” Booher stated. “I also really like Luna Grill … a Greek restaurant,” McInnes elaborated.
Britton and McInnes both felt that recommending delivery services as an option to other students would depend on a student’s needs. “If they had a need, like a dietary restriction, then I feel that delivery services would be a good recommendation,” Britton stated.
McInnes explained why she used these services and when she believes others should. “I’ve been a vegetarian for five years, and I just kind of started eating meat again, which has partially been why the D.C is hard as it doesn’t offer a lot for me. So I think if you have dietary restrictions … it’s an option, but it is expensive.” Although McInnes often uses delivery services, she would not recommend them for those trying to save money. “For college students, I don’t know how sustainable DoorDash is. Honestly, I would recommend just trying to get the D.C to work for you and actually grocery shopping, that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
While deciding if ordering from a delivery service is worth the extra cost comes down to the personal needs of each student, Britton, McInnes, and Booher show how these services are a reliable option for anybody who chooses to use them.