Restaurants and businesses are trying new ways to ensure food delivery drivers' safety, according to a story in the Charlotte Observer. Robberies in that city have increased 17 percent in 2004 over the previous year.
Larger restaurant chains do not allow drivers to carry any weapon and forbid jewelry except for cheap watches and wedding rings. Many businesses now rely on caller ID databases to match customers to previous orders. First-time callers are called back to make sure the deliveries are legitimate. Drivers generally carry less than $20 and drop off payments after nearly every delivery. The increasing use of credit and debit cards also reduces the cash they handle. If anything seems suspicious a driver is told to leave without making the delivery.
Drivers say the glowing sing atop delivery cars is a magnet for criminals, the report said. One driver removes the sign after 10 pm. Many chains will simply not deliver to dangerous neighborhoods, at least at night. Some will ask customers to meet the driver at a gas station.
In 2000, Domino's settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, after complaints that its delivery policies were biased against black customers. Under the agreement, the company can deny deliveries to an area based on legitimate safety concerns, the report said.