Dot-com dorm delivery services hit-or-miss

by Beacon Staff • October 31, 2007

Foodler.,At seven o'clock Thursday night, three roommates decided to order dinner in from two different online delivery services. At the end of the night, two of them finished a meal from the Cheesecake Factory, and two of them dined on leftover Ramen noodles.

Foodler.com is a Web site that lists over 200 restaurants in the Boston area from which food can be delivered through the sight's delivery services. By typing in your area code, city name or college, Foodler will list all of the places that offer delivery in your area, and then send one of their own drivers to pickup and deliver the food you ordered.

By clicking a restaurant listed on the site, a full menu with prices is displayed, as is the time until which the restaurants will deliver. Payment can be made online by credit card or at the time of delivery in cash.

Nicole Levay, a sophomore sound design major, and Kristen Fritz, a sophomore marketing major, ordered from The Cheesecake Factory. They bought two sandwiches and two slices of cheesecake for a little over $50. A $6 delivery fee was included in this price, but Foodler.com states that the fee goes to the restaurant, not the site.

There is also a section where you can make a special request, such as "No tomatoes on my sandwich please," as Fritz did.

The food was ordered at 7 p.m., delivered by 7:30 p.m. and consumed happily before 8 p.m. They said their food was passable, although they were concerned with the temperature and packaging of the food.

"In terms of service, Foodler was very professional and timely, whereas The Cheesecake Factory. didn't seem like they spent enough time preparing our food," Levay said. According to Fritz, there were no tomatoes on her sandwich as requested. The fries were a bit cold.

Jessica Wickman, a sophomore writing, literature and publishing major, ordered from Delivery.com, a site that offers the same service, but from 30 restaurants in the area. She decided on a restaurant called Tavern on the Square. She ordered two sandwiches that came to a total of $24 with the five-dollar delivery fee. In the request box similar to Foodler.com's, instructions were left to "leave the dressing on the side" on one of the sandwiches.

An hour and one anxious phone call later, the Delivery.com employee on the phone said that she was in touch with the driver, and that it would only be another 10 to 15 minutes. Another half hour passed, and Wickman's hunger headache was pulsating as she called again. This time, the woman on the phone said the delay was due to both road and restaurant traffic caused by the Red Sox game.

At 8:50 p.m., close to two hours after the order was placed, the delivery woman called from the lobby. The food was warm, but as soggy as if it were thrown in the Charles River and reheated.

"My quesadillas were soggy, my sour cream was warm, it was just a really bad experience," Wickman said. "I think it was probably the service."

The request to "leave the dressing on the side" was misinterpreted as "please slather her sandwich with dressing and then give me some extra on the side thank you."

The sandwich was so waterlogged it actually went well with her limp onion rings.

The best part about the Delivery.com experience was the greeting Wickman received from the delivery woman in the Piano Row Lobby: "Your phone doesn't work. I've been waiting here for 15 minutes!"

So for all you hungry dine-in-lovers, Foodler.com is the way to go. If anyone would like to give Delivery.com an other chance order your food at least two hours in advance.