Is Delivery Food in Paris Killing French Food Traditions?

 

delivery food in Paris

The changing French food traditions

Let me start off by saying that I have nothing against delivery food. In fact, sometimes it has saved an evening’s meal after a busy workday. But something has changed in that last 13+ years I have lived in France. It used to be that the only thing that you could have delivered in Paris was pizza. When Dominos and Pizza Hut first hit the Hexagone, I am sure that the French were excited – in a way. And also disgusted at the same time, but since the arrival of these American giants, a lot has changed.

When I arrived in 2003, I didn’t even consider getting delivery. After all, part of the whole point of being in France was to experience good quality food in a lovely bistro. And frankly, after living in NYC, Parisian delivery options seemed a tad uninteresting. So it didn’t even occur to me to try. After a few years though, I jumped on board and started using Just Eat formerly under the name Just Eats (formerly Alloresto), in my mind, the first of its kind in France. After a long day at work, we were at times too lazy to either go out to eat or make dinner. We would hop online and order sushi, Indian, or even the occasional pizza. It was never spectacular.

The Wave of Change:

Then the food trucks came and one of them. Food truck pioneers, The Camion qui Fume, proposed delivering their delicious burgers to your doorstep. Where they delivered all depended on what district they were rolling around in on that particular day. Wow! It was good but can’t compare to the experience of sitting in a quaint French bistro.

delivery food in Paris

The French – well at least most of them – take their food seriously and they are can be snooty about much of it. So you would think that these changes in food culture could never happen here.
There were a few restaurants (many offering non-French food), that already had delivery guys. Indian restaurants were at the top of the list offering delivery services. You didn’t always get quality. And despite the French users’ reviews of how great it was, I, a snooty world traveler, scuffed at the whole thing. It’s not their fault, I thought, they just don’t know any better. Ok, I too can be snobby – particularly about food.
Delivery services were still limited to the usual suspects. The French were still out dining al fresco even under heated lamps in the cooler months. They were taking leisurely lunches or out for drinks with friends and being Parisian.
But with delivery, you don’t even have to get out of your PJs. Picture it:  It’s pouring outside. You are cozy at home. You don’t mind some poor chap braving the harsh conditions to get to you. As long as he brings you your chicken tikka masala hot and ready for consumption, everything is parfait!
Not everyone could afford to deliver food to its customers. This was where Alloresto missed the boat which its current competitors did not. With Alloresto you still had to rely on the delivery guy from the restaurant. Thus your choice of restaurants was pretty limited. While they more recently became known as Just Eat, they still seem to rely mainly on the restaurants who have delivery guys as well as using a service affiliated with the French postal service called Stuart, so again the restaurant selection doesn’t seem to quite be the same as with their competition but this may be very well what they think sets them apart.

delivery food in paris

Open the door to gourmet delivery services. The French may copy the American model but they will almost always give it that oh so French touch.
Now almost everyone is offering delivery. Restaurants with better food but no staff for delivery could now get their product out there. Most delivery services list of available restaurants depends on your location. So you will likely not have the same restaurants for the 14th that you would have for the 18th. And delivery times vary from restaurant to restaurant.

Who’s Delivering Food in Paris?

Deliveroo delivering throughout Paris on a bicycle (multi-lingual site), covering everything from boulangeries to brasseries with a few pizza and burger joints in between. You can even have ice-cream delivered! How in the world it remains frozen is beyond me.

delivery food in Paris
Foodora – who contacted me to include them in a post but as I have not yet tried them what could I say exactly.

delivery food in Paris

Uber Eats – who was only serving lunch in the beginning but now do evenings as well – noticed a lot of Indian, bagels & burgers and Southeast Asian restaurants. But I did spot a few restaurants that I know pretty well.

delivery food in Paris

Pop Chef – Whose idea is to deliver good wholesome food to busy workers. They provide a way to say NO to fast food and ‘le mal bouffe’ (bad food) as the French say. Only serving lunch. It looks like they change the menu every day and have offers for companies. Promises delivery in 30 minutes.

Sushi Ba, a French-style sushi shop, now handles its own delivery.

Do you think that perhaps ordering from a restaurant via a delivery service would prompt you to go to that very restaurant when you are planning a night out? I’m thinking that it may very well be why some restaurants are agreeing to join in the trend because it makes sense. And really you can’t blame a small place with only 5 tables for trying to find ways to keep costs at a minimum and still earn some euros – it’s tough being a small business owner in France.

What do the Restaurant owners think of delivery?

I asked the small restaurant owner of a taco/burrito joint in Montmartre, (Tito Burrito) about his experience using these services. He uses Deliveroo and says he is quite satisfied. He used to use another service as well but dropped them. Deliveroo offers restauranteurs an Uber-like app so they can track the delivery guys while they deliver. Clients seem to be very happy and the feedback he has gotten is that they would love to come to the restaurant. It’s hard to know who actually comes in after they used the app.
Another bonus for the delivery guys from Deliveroo is that they are paid a commission on orders. These incentives ensure they are very fast on those bikes. So don’t go getting in front of a Deliveroo biker unless you want trouble.

While I have never gone to any restaurant that I first discovered via a delivery site. In the reverse, when I see places I HAVE been to now offering delivery via these services, I’m all upon it. So while change is tough in France, Paris is always at the forefront of what’s new and trendy. While this may very well be a phase it seems that it is one that is going to hang around for a while. Parisian entrepreneurs will always try to come up with the next angle. So you can think of this as setting up new traditions. Don’t judge!


Discover French food culture with both traditional and modern cuisine in a French cooking classes in Paris. Classes are small and in English from professional chefs.


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