Maureen Woodman from Woodman’s of Essex talks about Uber Eats and the history of food delivery and its growing popularity in recent years thanks to the internet boom.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Maureen Woodman from Woodman’s of Essex, a restaurant and catering company in Essex, Massachusetts. And today, we’re talking about Uber Eats and the history of food delivery. Welcome, Maureen.
Maureen Woodman: Hi John. Thanks for having me.
How Has Food Delivery Changed Over the Years?
John: Sure. So Maureen, the concept of food delivery has really changed a lot recently, especially with the internet boom. How have you seen food delivery change kind of over the years?
Maureen: So at Woodman’s, even though we’re kind of probably known as a takeout restaurant, I don’t know if we’re necessarily grab-and-go. It seems like most people get their food and they don’t go much further than the tent out in the parking lot. But it’s changed tremendously where people want quick food. Everybody’s taking food home to feed their family. It’s something that’s a convenience. I think it’s a huge trend with the 20 to 30 year old kids. I don’t even think they think twice about grab-and-go food right now. I think they love the convenience that they can be at home and just call Uber and have the food delivered to them. They don’t even want to go out and pick it up anymore.
Maureen: So it’s really changed tremendously. You did have a pizza delivery guy 20 years ago probably.
John: Right. And the Chinese for delivery. Yeah.
Maureen: Chinese food delivery. I mean, now these kids, where we live in Essex, still, they’ll call the pizza guy and ask him to stop at the convenience store and pick up a six pack on his way to drop off their pizza. So I guess it’s become way more personalized and customer service driven and whatever you want, well, as long as you’re willing to pay. That’s what I guess has changed.
John: Right, right. So how has Woodman’s sort of changed along with that a trend in terms of the food delivery?
Food Delivery and Quality Control at Woodman’s
Maureen: So once again, we’re always a little bit slow on the uptake. We still pride ourselves on fried food and we kind of warn you that the food doesn’t really travel well. If you’re getting a lobster roll or clam chowder, maybe cole slaw or any of the cold sandwiches, crab meat roll, those things are going to go with no problem. But when you start getting French fries, onion rings, fried shrimp, they don’t really travel well. I think a boiled lobster would go pretty easy. We used to have these old metal containers that would pack the steamers to go right with the broth and butter inside and they used to travel really well, but there’s something about the fried food that just doesn’t handle time. You want to eat it right when it comes out.
John: Right. So are you a part of Uber Eats and some of these other services where you can call them and have somebody come and pick up food from Woodman’s and bring it to you?
Maureen: So, so far with, we’ve stayed away from signing on with Uber Eats or Grub or Lyft because we feel that we want to keep control on the quality of our food. And because of the fried food collapsing, we don’t really want to take a chance that it goes off. So we’ve yet to sign up with them. Now with that being said, we have had food go out in a cab or an Uber to go be delivered to somebody where they put the order in themselves. They pay just like a regular fare. They come, they pick up the food, and they deliver it. So it’s like Uber Eats without Uber Eats. They make their own to-go kind of deal with Woodman’s, but we’re not set up on the Uber Eats app right now to deliver food.
John: Right. So, if somebody did want to do that, they would have to give you a call at the restaurant and place their order, and then call Uber or Lyft and say, “Hey, I’ve placed an order at Woodman’s and it’ll be ready at this time. Can you go pick it up and bring it to me?” That’s the way that it would have to work. And when somebody calls you, you’re able to maybe talk to them about the situation and maybe warn them against certain food items that might not last depending on how far away they might be?
Maureen: Yeah. We want to make sure that they’re aware of how the food is going to change by the time it leaves us. We want to make sure that we get paid because we would then get paid from the customer upon the time of the order because they could refuse the food once it got to them. We also want to make sure that we give them the best service and kind of tell them what they should order, but sometimes people will just reheat the food at home, and then it’s fine.
John: Are there any ways to help if you do order some fried food, onion rings or fish and chips or something like that, is there anything you can do at home to reheat that food and make it better for you?
Maureen: I think the best way is if you had a baby fry at the house, heat that FryDaddy up, and throw the food in there, and give it one more hit before you eat it, or put it on a pretty high oven for about six minutes just to bring it back and take the collapse out of it.
John: All right, well, it’s been really interesting to talk about food delivery at Woodman’s. Thanks, Maureen.
Maureen: Okay John, thanks for having me.
John: And for more information about Woodman’s restaurant, visit the Woodman’s website at woodmans.com com or call 978-768-6057.