Demand for delivery services have skyrocketed as the province has implemented social distancing measures and closed restaurants to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Sam Smith is the owner and driver of Dapper Delivery in Kelowna and says the situation has also created some unexpected advantages for drivers. With fewer cars on the road, Smith said he and his seven drivers are able to deliver items two to three times faster to meet the demand increase, he said.
Dapper Delivery partners with certain restaurants and delivers groceries and pharmaceuticals for grocery stories in the Central Okanagan.
Grocery store deliveries "are going nuts right now," he said. “We’ve seen a substantial uptick in the demand for our services.”
He estimated that demand has increased by 50 per cent.
With restaurants dedicating themselves to take-out and with less traffic, he’s able to be more effective so he won’t be hiring a significant amount of new people, he said.
If traffic was the same as in previous years heading into the tourist season, “there’s no way we could do it, so I want to thank all of Kelowna’s motorists for staying home during this time,” Smith said.
He said he’s very grateful that he’s able to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach Dapper Delivery, call 778-363-0466. Smith said he’s assessing new clients on a case-by-case business.
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It's the same story for NINJANow, an Okanagan delivery company, which is opening a new office in Penticton two weeks early at the end of April because of the increase in demand for its services.
The company has seen a 33 per cent increase in Okanagan deliveries in the last few weeks, Cheryl Kerik, owner of NINJANow, said.
“Restaurants are starting to contact us more and more every day,” she said. “Our team is full bore putting on new customers every single day.”
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Customers can order online at NINJAnow.com, and drivers will take, then deliver the items to the doors of their customers. The company also delivers groceries and pharmaceuticals.
“We’re getting groceries out to seniors a lot. We’re delivering to families at home, there are even some delis coming on (to our website),” she said.
“It’s important that the community still supports local, little mom and pop shops and little gems in the Okanagan,” she said.
The company currently serves customers in Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland.
NINJANow is hiring drivers in Vernon and will be hiring in the next few weeks for the Penticton location, Kerik said. Drivers are supplied with hand sanitizer and gloves and purchases are made ahead of time using e-transfers.
“As the demand increases, we definitely will be getting more drivers. We’re getting applications every day, by the hundreds,” she said.
You might think with cash being tight that drivers have been missing tips, but some delivery drivers have reported just the opposite as customers thank them for continuing to serve in an uncertain time.
Sean Martin and Mitchel Hughes are co-owners of Mitchie’s Delivery in Kamloops and say their business has also seen a massive increase in deliveries in the last month.
Martin said deliveries have grown by 400 per cent. Since opening in November, the company has increased from 10 drivers and restaurants to more than 40 restaurants and 30 drivers.
“There are some positives for some businesses as delivery becomes a lifeline but we’ve seen a lot of businesses shut down,” Martin said.
They hired six new drivers this week, Hughes said, adding they would like to thank Kamloops for supporting them and local restaurants.
Delivery orders can be completed through www.mitchiesdelivery.com.
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