Delivery driver robberies cause reaction by Columbia restaurants
COLUMBIA - Restaurants that deliver are taking a hard look at driver safety after two recent robberies.
"Whenever there's been an incident when a delivery driver of some company has been robbed or something unfortunate has happened, internally we've talked about getting rid of cash as an option for deliveries," said Shakespeare's downtown General Manager Toby Epstein.
On October 8, a delivery driver was robbed by a group of four to five suspects on Pleasant Way in East Columbia, according to a Columbia Police Department press release. One of the suspects was armed and an undisclosed amount of money was taken from the driver.
Just over a month later, it happened again, this time on the west side of town on Jackson Street. CPD reported that a single armed suspect robbed a Papa John's driver.
Neither driver was injured.
Epstein said Shakespeare's is in the process of implementing an 8 p.m. cut-off time for cash deliveries, emphasizing safety over profits.
Safety is also a top concern at Wingin Out, where drivers deliver until at least 2 a.m. every night.
Manager Blaine Ellis said drivers carry $20 maximum, so they are not immediately set up to be taken advantage of. They are also restricted to a two and a half mile delivery area.
He said he thinks those things are, in part, why he's never seen a driver be taken advantage of in his career with Wingin Out.
Ellis also makes his drivers watch an educational video before they ever make their first delivery. The video emphasizes the importance of never entering a customer's home.
"Money is not worth anybody's life," Ellis said.
Ellis and Epstein said they make sure drivers know they won't be yelled at for leaving an uncomfortable situation, even if it means the food doesn't get delivered, or the driver doesn't get paid.
"We'd rather the delivery driver come back. We wouldn't hold them accountable for making a mistake like that, because their safety really is the most important thing," Epstein said.