In the 1990s, the internet began to change what people thought about delivery. Online delivery services began with the website World Wide Waiter in 1995. Over the next 15 years, online orders slowly caught up with phone orders. As smartphones became popular, pizza chains started to create their own apps.
Nowadays, there are many different apps available worldwide. Just by tapping your screen, you can order almost any food imaginable. If you want to earn a bit of money on the side, you can deliver food yourself. Some restaurants, known as “ghost kitchens,” only offer food through these apps.
Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, app-based food delivery was already very popular in Taiwan, with Uber Eats and foodpanda dominating the industry. When quarantine and stay-at-home orders were applied across Taiwan, the supply of food delivery services could hardly meet the rising demand. To cater to the customers, Uber Eats became the first to roll out the “leave at door” service so that no contact would be made during the pick-up. During this difficult time, delivery drivers, always with their masks on, were seen as heroes and were among the first people to be offered vaccines.