KT Photo: Shihab
Unpredictable and rainy weather have left many residents unable to rely on online food delivery services, pushing them to don their aprons and cook meals at home. Many have said that their deliveries were cancelled or that restaurants were not accepting food orders.
Abdul Hai, a Sudani residing in Sharjah, only ate lunch around 5pm on Sunday. “My wife is travelling and I am bad at cooking. I’ve been relying on nearby restaurants and food delivery apps for lunch and dinner,” he said. “As it was a rainy and lazy day, I ordered food from an app at around 2pm, and waited until 3.30pm. The order was delayed and later cancelled by the restaurant.”
Mohammed Athar, a resident of Deira, had also ordered lunch from a restaurant based in Hor Al Ainz. He too had to cancel his order due to long delays in delivery. “I kept calling the restaurant, but they were kind enough to make me understand the situation,” said Athar. “Finally, I had to go to a nearby cafeteria for lunch around 2pm.”
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Restaurateurs told Khaleej Times that they reported a significant increase in the number of delivery requests as people opted to stay indoors during the rainy weather.
“We have been receiving excessive delivery orders during the rain. Usually during weekends, we have many dine-in guests. However, [on Sunday] people preferred to dine at home,” said Mohsin, owner of Shahran Restaurant located in Al Nahda 2 Dubai.
Understanding the risks, restaurateurs advised their delivery drivers to prioritise safety and take necessary precautions. This included adjusting their speed, being extra vigilant on wet roads, and avoiding risky manoeuvrers.
“A few of our orders were delayed due to water-clogged roads, and we informed our clients to expect delays. We advised all our riders to be safe and cautious because of the bad weather… their safety is our priority,” added Mohsin.
Jugal Parekh, owner of Yummy Dosa said, “Due to rains there is a delay in the arrival of the delivery rider [at the restaurant]. We prepare the order only when the rider arrives so that the customer will get hot and fresh food even after the delay.”
“We make sure we don’t pressurise the delivery rider to deliver the order fast, and guide them to drive slowly and safely in the rain,” said Parekh.
Eti Bhasin, owner of Dhaba Lane, said that they have shortened their delivery radius temporarily, taking into consideration the unstable weather conditions. “Delivery apps have reduced their delivery radius from over 10km to 3km with the ongoing rain,” said Bhasin. “Morever, we are taking our own precautions for self-delivery by checking road blockages and updating our guests on delays. Yesterday, we had delays that went up to 1 and half hours.”
Delivery apps issue advisories
Noon Food Delivery has issued a notice on their app, cautioning users about possible delays and longer wait times caused by rain.
Despite the obstacles, delivery riders have continued to work diligently, ensuring that the food orders reached customers in the best possible condition. “It was a bit of chaos yesterday. I had to wait at a bus stop and under a flyover for the rain to decrease. A few orders were delivered late, but they were still fresh. I am very thankful to the residents for understanding and for the extra tips,” said Mohammed Ansar, a delivery rider with Noon.
A Careem spokesperson said that their riders’ safety is a top priority. They have the flexibility to set their schedules, which allows the riders to work when it suits them best throughout the day. “We never pressure any Captain to ride if they’re uncomfortable and we don’t impose scheduled shifts. They aren’t obligated to make a delivery at a certain time if they prefer not to,” said the spokesperson.
“We also enhance Captain safety during inclement weather by limiting the delivery radii for restaurants and grocery stores. We are also implementing a location-specific approach to pausing and resuming deliveries based on the weather conditions and Captain availability in each area.”
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