LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Bracing for another round of winter weather next week, restaurants have a challenge with more deliveries.
“Seventy-five percent of our business has been delivery and carry-out,” said Michael Wickliffe, the owner of Wick’s Pizza.
Food to go is bread and butter now for local restaurants like Wick’s. They’re dependent on drivers who can handle rough weather.
“The side streets are still covered in ice,” food service driver Thomas Ortiz said. “It’s like a skating rink.”
Delivery drivers like Ortiz said the ice storm has been a challenge.
“It’s been tough, you know, the roads are treacherous,” he said. “It’s basically like skiing the entire time.”
Tony Mellick, who’s been delivering for Wick’s Pizza for 21 years, said it takes a dependable car and common sense.
“After a while, you kind of get used to it, you know, anticipating what other people do on the road,” he said.
Wickliffe said food-delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash not only help his drivers, they’ve been financially life-saving in bad weather.
“My drivers will come in and say, ‘Mike, that last food run was really hectic,’ and immediately, I’ll stop taking deliveries and say, ‘Let’s knock out what we’ve got,’ but I’ll leave DoorDash running because those guys want to make money,” Wickliffe said.
Across town, Mercato Italiano owner and chef Peter Pagano agrees. He said if people want to stay home, they are more than happy to bring the meal to their door.
“It’s much better to have Grubhub come grab it and go,” he said. “They are prompt and on time, and it makes it easy when we can get orders out pretty quick.”
That is key for Pagano because Mercato’s delivery has picked up substantially. And with a big Valentine’s Day weekend menu and more winter weather ahead, Grubhub drivers like Ortiz add a layer of security for restaurant owners. Those like Ortiz are not intimidated by the winter road conditions.
“I’ve got kids to feed,” he said. “So I’m not concerned with the weather, you know, another day in the office. Whatever I’ve got to do is fine by me.”
Drivers said a big positive is great customers who appreciate their effort to get out and drive in bad weather by offering them better tips.