If you don’t fancy yourself a home-chef and dinnertime is looming, ordering restaurant delivery can feel like the safest way to get a quality meal on the table. Ordering in, however, comes with its own set of variables that can put your dinner in jeopardy. Here are the three T’s—temperature, transparency, and timing—to consider when ordering in (and how we diligently handle each one).
A properly warm meal is not only tastier than its room temperature incarnation (unless we’re talking pizza, of course), it’s also quite a bit safer. Bacteria grow in what’s called the ‘danger zone’ (between 40°F and 140°F) and can nearly double their population in 20 minutes—the time it takes most meals to go from the restaurant to your home. Although some restaurants pride themselves on delivering food hot and ready, the only way to reliably stay out of that ‘danger zone’ is by going cold—insulated bags simply try to maintain heat, meaning that the temperature of the food is always moving towards that bacteria-growing zone.
Mobile refrigeration, on the other hand, constantly chills the food, keeping it at a safe temperature. In addition, our cook and chill method ensures that each meal goes immediately from piping hot to fresh and cool—we load our cooked meals into blast chillers right after they finishing cooking to quickly take them from well above 140°F to below 40°F. That way, when dinner comes knocking, you’ve got a bag full of delicious, healthy food, guaranteed.
Knowing exactly what has gone into your meal is just as important as knowing what has been safely kept out. In fact, studies show that people eat healthier when nutritional information is present, choosing lower-calorie options when caloric values are posted on the menu. Despite encouragement from delivery services like GrubHub to promote menu transparency, however, restaurants have remained fairly opaque with their ingredient and nutritional information. Lawmakers have begun to push for menu transparency—a 2016 law mandated that restaurant chains nationwide with over 20 locations must post caloric information next to menu items. These chain restaurants, unfortunately, aren’t the only ones delivering (and calories aren’t the only thing to be worried about). Restaurants still aren’t required to provide ingredient lists to consumers, an issue that has resulted in allergic reactions and hospitalizations.
On our menu, nutritional information and ingredient lists are passed directly from our Registered Dietitian to you, so that nothing is a mystery. Allergens are diligently marked and calories are carefully counted to ensure that your meal is exactly what you expect. That way—whether you are looking for a certain number of calories, trying to avoid a certain ingredient, or switching to, say, a paleo diet—you can pick the perfect dinner that suits both your taste buds and your tummy.
Transparency also involves knowing where your food is coming from. We’ve cultivated personal relationships with local farmers and producers so that each meal we produce can come with a healthy serving of farm-to-table traceability. Wondering where we get our chicken, for example? Simply check out out the labels on each menu item and you’ll see precisely where your dinner came from.
Knowing what you’ll be eating, though, is pointless if you don’t know when you’ll be eating. Although restaurant delivery is considered convenient, ordering out means your dinner is no longer on your schedule. You can call whenever you’d like, but an influx of orders to the same restaurant or a lack of personnel could turn a quick meal into a long, frustrating wait. A comparison of four top delivery services in five major US cities showed that the fastest service came in at an average delivery time of 35 minutes and 31 seconds. The title of ‘fastest’, however, came along with ‘most unreliable’, posting a late delivery rate of 29%. Just last week, in our four cities combined, we only registered 14% late deliveries (with an astounding .05% late in Seattle and no late deliveries from our bikers in blizzarding New York!).
The slowest delivery service of the four in the study clocked in at an average of 50 minutes and 22 seconds—longer than it would take you to make an elaborate meal yourself. We let you pick a delivery window that works for you so there’s no need to hungrily await a knock at the door. In fact, feel free to take an evening walk—that fresh dinner will be waiting for you when you get home.