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Hectic orders for home-delivered food pour in at restaurants

Zubeda Hamid

— Photo: K. Pichumani

Tough job: A pizza delivery employee at Anna Nagar gets ready to deliver an order.

CHENNAI: Driving over ruts, getting splashed by motorists and wading through slush would be a nightmare for most people. But for some, it comes with their job. With the monsoon season beginning in fine fettle, many people decided to have dinner home-delivered.

Deluge of orders

And so, most restaurants that delivered food at home had to contend with a deluge of not just water on the streets, but also that of phone calls. Personnel in restaurants had to battle the flooded roads and deliver dinner to hundreds of hungry residents in the city.

“We received close to 400 calls yesterday [Sunday],” said T.K. Naseer of Crescent, a popular restaurant in Nungambakkam. The restaurant caters for customers in Nungambakkam, Choolaimedu, Chetpet and neighbouring areas. He said they received so many calls between 7 and 10 p.m. that at one point they had to switch off their phone. “All of them are regular customers. We could not even refuse.”

Most orders that were taken were delivered except a few, because of the condition of the roads, he said. Also, the usual delivery time was not adhered to. “We were up to two hours late in some cases,” he said.

Pizza Hut, too, faced several problems. A senior employee said that for a while many of the branches did not take any calls. “I was concerned about my people going out in the heavy rain. It was not safe,” he said. The 40-minute delivery time was extended, and customers were informed. “When we told customers it would take too long they said it was all right. They just wanted it delivered,” the manager of a Pizza Hut outlet said.

“It was very difficult in that rain. It took longer to deliver than usual,” said K. Mani, who delivers food for customers of Eatalica, an Italian restaurant.

Experienced persons are a huge asset. Knowing from past years which roads were likely to be inundated and where the bad condition of the roads would make it impossible to drive or ride through, they could either tell customers that it was impossible to deliver the food or inform them that it would take longer than usual. Though forced to stop taking calls at some point, most restaurants continued to deliver in all the areas they usually covered. Phone calls for food delivery nearly doubled. None of them charged extra for delivering in the rain.

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