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“Sorry mate, couldn’t find you”: The curse of the cold takeaway is probably your fault

Dark streets and lack of visible numbering mean vital deliveries aren’t getting through!

Brits spend billions of pounds every year on hot takeaway meals, but tens of thousands of deliveries go straight in the bin because drivers simply can’t find the right front door.

That’s the finding of a national security systems company which says that on any given night, delivery drivers are roaming the country’s streets trying to make out house numbers in the dark.

What’s worse, according to Yorkshire’s CCTV.co.uk company, these same drivers are the ones who get it in the neck because homeowners don’t have the decency to illuminate their home or display a house number.

“Let’s not beat about the bush,” says CCTV.co.uk spokesperson Jonathan Ratcliffe, “If you live in a residential street, and you’re not making it clear where you are, then it’s your fault when your pizza turns up cold, resembling a truck’s hub cap.”

As delivery drivers tell us, even decent local knowledge is no help when trying to get the right meal to the right mouths as quickly as possible – and that often leads to perfectly good food going in the bin and customers demanding their money back.

  • Richard of Basingstoke delivers pizzas: “All the houses in some estates look the same. And I mean exactly the same, and some don’t even have a number on the door. Then I get grief because I couldn’t find them on a cold rainy night on my moped. And you know – tips.”
  • Madga, delivers in the Bristol area: “Satnav’s only so good, you know? Half the time I ring up the customer to ask where they are, and suddenly a porch light comes on, and I’m like ‘Yeah, thanks for that, why didn’t you do that earlier?'”
  • Lee drives for a Chinese takeaway in Manchester: “It’s impossible some nights, and I’ve lived round here all my life and driven taxis. My theory is that they’re trying to get a freebie if they complain. In fact, I know that to be true.”
  • Arash delivers for a major food delivery app: “Look, if you don’t know your delivery patch, you’re an idiot. But honestly, some customers really make their houses impossible to find, every night a new challenge.”

Customers, however, see things differently:

  • Tommy, a takeaway enthusiast of Sunderland: “I don’t know where they find these clowns. It’s not as if my place is out of the way or anything. I’ve lost count of the number of cold dinners I’ve had.”

Estimates vary on how much we spend on takeaways every year in the UK, with some figures suggesting it’s as high as £30 billion and going through the roof as delivery apps make ordering hot food easier than ever.

And with any takeaway business worth their salt now offering home deliveries as standard, the sight of a moped or delivery van crawling along a suburban street trying to find the right house is now a familiar one most evenings.

“Like our drivers said, there’s only so much satnav can do on a dark winter’s evening, and people are loathe to move away from their sofa to give the drivers a hand,” says Ratcliffe.

“Because of the combination of dark streets, impossible to find addresses, and the odd incompetent delivery driver, millions of pounds of food is going straight into the bin. And that – to us – should be a national scandal.”

“And if your local curry house can’t find your front door, can you imagine the lost minutes if it’s emergency responders after a 999 call?”

But Jonathan’s message is simple: “You want your dinner? Why are you hiding?”

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