10 Things I Learned Doing Uber Eats on Foot in Toronto

Some background, I’m a mid-40s guy, and I’ve been doing Uber Eats walker for about a month now. These are some of the things I’ve learned from doing it and reading out from it.

There’s a lot of information out there, one of the most useful places was on Reddit and a few YouTube videos.

The Uber App

  • It does glitch occasionally. I’ve had one case where it wouldn’t let me validate the Covid-19 checklist, after speaking with support, their advice was 1) to restart your phone or reinstall the app. Fortunately just restarting the phone fixed it.
  • The navigation is designed for drivers, usually, you can use it as a guide, but again if you know the area, you can save time by taking short cuts. Again, do know the area, if there’s road construction (one of the two seasons in Toronto as they say) you can waste time trying to navigate sidewalks. You can cut through a park (not recommended with a car) or down a one-way street to save time.
  • Follow the destinations it tells you to go. The app seems to gets confused if you have two deliveries and you go to the other one first. Just follow where it tells you to go.
  • Cancel Oversized orders. If you get an order that is too big (like a large pizza than doesn’t fit into your bag), you can open the order, select “Report issue” and pick “oversized.” You do lose the pay, but better than carrying a pizza box 15 minutes outside in the winter so that it arrives cold and the customer gives you a bad rating.

General

  • Know your area, where the restaurants are and what the major streets are ideally. If you’re walking one thing that’s going to slow you down are intersections and construction. So know where the sidewalks are blocked and which intersections take a while to cross. Speaking of crossing the street, It’s good to know which side your destination is on, generally, the even street numbers are on the north or west side, but not always.
  • Exercise (stretch) before you head out. Realise that you’re going to be walking probably several kilometres a day, and most of us (especially since the covid lockdowns) aren’t used to that. And you’re also carrying a few pounds of food in a bag likely. So do a few leg stretches before heading out and maybe when you get back in. You’re probably going to be sore the first couple of time you do a five-hour shift, know your limits, no point in getting injured and having to take a day or two off because you’re too sore.
  • Hydrate and try to keep warm (or cool once summer hits), so know places you can rest in. Most downtown areas have some kind of mall you can cut into when you get a break between orders.
  • Consider going out at night. Generally, Toronto is pretty safe and there are a lot less traffic and people strolling on the sidewalks, meaning you can move faster on your route.
  • Decide what your goal for the day is. Try to have an idea of what you want to accomplish in a day. Maybe it’s $50 or eight trips. Because it takes time for you to start getting orders once you go online, you might waste a lot of time just waiting around for that first ping. Some days there just won’t be many orders, so decide when you want to take a break. Say, no orders for 45 minutes? Are you going to keep waiting (because you know as soon as you pack it in, you’ll start getting orders)
    There will be slow days, there will be days nobody is tipping much. There will be days when the weather is just terrible. Decide at what point you to just call it a day.

Equipment

  • Get proper footwear. That includes shoes with treads. invest in some. Your job is to deliver food orders accurately and safely. Walking on sidewalks in Toronto in winter you need something with grip, last thing you want to do is either slip and drop the food (a bowl of Ramen soup can make quite a mess), slip and ended up bruised and taking time off, or well both.
  • Speaking of winter, running shoes aren’t bad as long as you have heavy socks and can keep the snow out of your shoes.
  • Dress for the weather, and know when not to go out. get some cheap gloves from Walmart. Your gloves just need to keep your hands warm and still let you pick up food. They’re going to end up smelling of, most likely deep-fried food. So these just work gloves, not fashion accessories.
  • Get a good phone case. You’re going to be walking on the pavement and taking your phone out all the time to check updates and directions. The last thing you want to do is drop it. Personally, I splurged on an Otter case, it gives good protection and is easy to grip, so it doesn’t feel like it could slide out of my hand. These cost around $50 but if think that your phone is probably worth around a grand or more, spending another $50 on a case to protect it doesn’t seem like that much of an expense.

 

 

Photo by Arturo Castaneyra on Unsplash