Picking Up the Tab While Social Distancing

Delivery apps are making it easier to send food and drinks to friends and loved ones from afar.

It’s tough being sociable these days. Zoom has helped a bit, and now that the weather’s picking up, people are getting out and paying responsibly distanced porch visits to those with porches. But one thing that’s taken a real hit is hospitality. It’s tough to be hospitable when you can’t invite anyone in, or out.

But you can still treat them to a meal, as it happens, or even buy them a drink. And with so many ties withering these days, it’s important to nurture those we can, in any way we can, whether they’re social or professional.

Though it may not be intuitive, the delivery apps make it easy to pick up the tab for someone, buy them a round, or even get flirty by sending someone a fancy drink.

All the apps let you enter more than one delivery address while keeping the same billing information, so all you have to do is enter a friend or colleague’s address, place the order, and you’re set.

See a list of 400+ restaurants offering delivery and takeout across Toronto.

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Since everyone’s home pretty much all the time, you could even make it a surprise if you want, like sending flowers or a gift basket in the olden days (which of course you can still do as well).

But thanks to Zoom, or more secure alternatives like Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, you can also invite someone, you in your place, they in theirs, to have a communal meal on you.

Thanks to the loosening of the liquor laws, you can also send people drinks, which opens up all sorts of other possibilities, from buying a round of beer for you and your buddies, to ordering the same cocktail kit for your whole book club, or, if you’re feeling especially retro, simply sending a drink to their home, like folks have been doing at least since Mad Men days, as a way to say hi.

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Since the apps come with Note fields, you can always tell the delivery person what’s going on, and if you raise the tip some, maybe even ask them to announce who it’s from through the door.

If you prefer not to use the apps, you can find places that are doing their own deliveries or pick things up and deliver them yourself.

Many Toronto restaurants remain open. Support local restaurants by ordering delivery or takeout.

About the Author

Bert Archer lives in Toronto, writes about travel and cities and things that tourists like him like. He also teaches food writing at George Brown College and his next online course begins June 30. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter, and read stories he’s written about places he doesn’t live in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CNN, the BBC, and about a dozen others.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.

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