NJ schools face challenge as students order food on delivery apps
WEST DEPTFORD — After explosive growth among food delivery apps during the height of the pandemic, more teenagers than ever are used to ordering up food using DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats and more.
That’s become a security issue at schools, including in West Deptford.
After 17 deliveries were placed by students in the month of January alone, according to West Deptford Schools Superintendent Greg Cappello, the district is now reworking its procedures in handling such deliveries during the school day.
“Safety is extremely important to us. Our terms of service require customers to be of legal age, and we’re proud that many teachers, administrators, and parents can access DoorDash during the busy school day,” a DoorDash spokesperson said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5.
“We provide options for customers to note delivery instructions for their Dasher, and we enable no-contact delivery, in which deliveries are placed in an agreed upon location and communicated to the customer. We’re always eager to hear ways we can improve our platform, and welcome feedback through our 24/7 Support team.”
Messages to several other school districts — including Woodbridge, Freehold Regional, Edison, Toms River Regional, Trenton and Lawrence Township — were not immediately returned Wednesday, on policies involving food delivery app use by students.
The number of food delivery app users was estimated at 45.6 million users in 2020, up from 36.4 million users in 2019, largely due to shutdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Statista.
While those using such food delivery apps are supposed to be 18 and older, a minor with an authorized payment card generally can get food delivered, according to online forums.
A parent or legal guardian can easily agree on a child’s behalf and set up an account for use.
Among exceptions would be if an order includes alcohol.
Doordash had the most sales in 2021, reaching total revenue of $2.9 billion — followed by Uber Eats at $2.51 billion and GrubHub at $1.31 billion.
It was an increase of 241% within a year for Doordash, as 2020 revenue was $850 million.