Although cooking or eating out will always is the best way to eat, they’ve been relegated to luxuries for those with time—or energy—after a hard day at work in this day and age. Food delivery has changed our lives in a variety of ways, allowing us to enjoy a fresh, full dinner from the comfort of our own homes.
The concept of ordering meals from a restaurant dates back to Ancient Rome, when Romans who didn’t have access to a kitchen might purchase ready-to-eat food from thermopolia, or street kitchens. Meanwhile, in ancient Aztec markets, merchants would sell food that could be consumed on the move, such as tamales.
The first pizza delivery took place in 1889, when King Umberto I of Italy and Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples and chose to replace their largely French diet with more local fare: pizza.
They had Raffaele Esposito, a Napoli pizza chef, prepare their pie, and he went above and beyond by making not one, not two, but three different pies (one of which had white mozzarella, green basil, and red tomatoes, and would soon be known as Margherita pizza), as well as personally delivering the pizzas to them.
The dabbawala food delivery method was invented by Indians around 1890. With increasing city employees lacking the time to have lunch at home, many turned to these lunchboxes (dabba) containing home-cooked food brought to people’s workplaces by dabbawalas.
Mahadeo Havaji Bachche is reported to have come up with the concept when a Parasi banker requested home-cooked meals at his workplace. He then began a delivery service with around a hundred workers at the time, before attempting to organize them in 1930. At least 5,000 dabbawalas are reported to be carrying on the practice in Mumbai to this day.
Introduction of Internet
By the 1950s, the rising middle class in the United States preferred to stay at home and watch television. Restaurants, in turn, responded to this shift by advertising take-out and delivery options on television.
In the 1990s, the advent of the Internet shook up the globe—and, by implication, the world of food delivery. Several companies began posting their menus on websites in 1997, despite the fact that many customers still placed their orders over the phone. Seamless, an online meal delivery service was founded in 1999, allowing consumers to get whatever they wanted with only a few mouse clicks.
Grubhub, a meal ordering and delivery marketplace founded in 2004, connects consumers with takeaway restaurants around the United States. From there, the world of online meal delivery services exploded, fueled by the growing use of smartphones and ride-sharing services like Uber.
Today, almost any restaurant can now be ordered with a few taps on a phone app, or even through Twitter, Facebook Messenger, or a wristwatch. Despite the fact that most restaurants have had a direct, in-house delivery system in place for several decades, no one has stopped inventing new services to make the procedure more convenient for us.
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