Although dairy products and cured meat have been “delivered” and traded for thousands of years, it is believed that proper food delivery didn’t begin until 1889.
In 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita, both from northern Italy, traveled south to Naples. Sick of the food cooked by court chefs, the Queen wanted to try something popular with the common people of southern Italy—pizza. Chef Raffaele Esposito, an excellent pizza-maker, delivered three pizzas as requested. The Queen loved the one made with mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes, which Esposito used to represent the colors of the Italian flag. Thus, the margherita pizza was born.
Meanwhile, in India, cities were getting crowded. For cultural and religious reasons, workers had difficulty cooking or finding suitable meals outside their homes. Therefore, delivery men called dabbawalas came to meet this demand. Dabbawala means “one who carries a box,” and they carried boxes of food by bicycle or railway train to sell to workers. Delivering food as a full-time job began with the dabbawallas.
Over time, food delivery has come to be found everywhere. In America, delivery grew as cars became common. Chinese and pizza restaurants were some of the first to offer delivery services, which continued to increase throughout the late 20th century. Then, another invention came along and made delivery even more popular.