Delivery veterans know: Drinks are the most common missing item from orders on apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats.
Order a combo from a fast food restaurant every day for a week and your drink will probably be missing at least once.
Missing drinks highlight everything that can go wrong with the delivery experience: Careless restaurants, inattentive delivery drivers, and bad design.
So what can you do as a customer to make sure that actually receive a drink, and how can you get your money back when the inevitable happens?
- How to report a missing drink and get a refund
- How to prevent missing drinks
- Why are missing drinks such a common problem?
How to report a missing drink (And get a refund)
As soon as you notice that you didn’t receive a drink or any other item, you should report it in the delivery app.
But here’s the thing—The best outcome is a refund. You’re not going to get your missing drink.
Drivers are not required to go back to fetch your drink. And it’s unlikely that the delivery app or the restaurant will set up a new delivery for you.
All you can do is report the missing drink and ask for a refund. Better luck next time!
How to report a missing item on DoorDash
- Tap Orders in the bottom menu, then select the order
- Tap Help in the upper corner of the order page
- Select ‘Missing or incorrect item’
- Choose the missing item and tap continue
More info: What you can do about missing items on DoorDash
How to report a missing item on Uber Eats
- Tap Carts in the bottom menu
- Tap orders in the upper right
- Tap on the order
- Tap help in the upper corner
- Select ‘Wrong or missing items’
No more missing drinks! Tips to make sure you get your drink
Even though the responsibility is on restaurant workers and delivery drivers, there are a few things you can do to avoid a missing drink in future orders.
Message your drive to remind them about the drinks in your order: After you are matched with a driver, send a message asking them to make sure that the restaurant includes your drink.
Try not to blame or accuse the driver. Don’t say, ‘Please don’t forget my drink!’
Instead, put the focus on the restaurant. Try something like, “There is a fountain drink on the order. Please make sure the restaurant includes it. Thank you!”
Make sure you send it as a message to the driver, and not as a delivery drop-off note. Most drivers don’t see the delivery notes until they are well on their way to your location.
Order canned and bottled drinks. Cans and bottled drinks are less likely to be forgotten than fountain drinks. They are easier to drop into a bag, and don’t require as many extra steps as a fountain drink.
Why missing drinks are such a big problem on delivery apps
Here’s why drinks are so often missing from delivery orders. A lot can go wrong.
- The restaurant forgot to pack it in your order
- Your driver didn’t double check the items listed in the order
- Your driver couldn’t double check your order because of sealed bags or unclear receipts
- Your driver picked up your drink, but forgot it in their car/bike
But why are drinks forgotten more often than food items? All of the reasons above could apply to food too, but missing drinks are way more common than missing food.
Drinks can be an afterthought
Typically, drinks aren’t the main focus of an order. Preparing food takes priority over drinks, and it can be easy to forget about a drink when you’re preparing complicated food orders.
And it’s not just a delivery problem. Think of how many times a fast food restaurant forgot to hand you your drink cup. Drinks are easier to forget than food, and that carries over into delivery apps.
Bad ordering system design leads to skipped drinks
At many restaurants, drinks included in a combo aren’t listed as a separate line item in the ordering system, which can make them easy to overlook.
A fast food order might look like: WHOPPER CMBO, LRG FRIES LRG COKE NO MAYO NO LETTUCE
The drink wedged into the middle of the order can be easy to miss if you’re aren’t looking closely, or if you’re unfamiliar with the ordering system.
Some drivers don’t double check for drinks
Some drivers don’t closely double check to see that an order contains every listed item. Those drivers might say that it’s up to the restaurant, but drivers share the responsibility too.
Drivers can look at a list that shows all of the items that should be present in an order. If a drink is missing, they should ask the restaurant about it.
When the driver CAN’T double check for a drink
Even if delivery drivers are on top of it, they can miss out on a drink if there’s no way for them to see all of the items that are in an order.
Here’s how one driver described this problem: “Sometimes the order literally just says “Package” and I have no clue what I’m delivering, just like the walmart grocery order deliveries. Orders from 7-11 are like this a lot for me. It’ll be a pepperoni pizza, a big gulp sprite, and a big gulp coke, but it just says “Package” on my phone.”
Your driver left the drink behind
Mistakes happen. It’s easy to leave a drink behind when it’s separate from the food bag.
Like this driver on Reddit, “3 times since I started delivering, I found a drink in my cup holder on the next delivery. 3/1200 deliveries. Sorry.”
The sealed bag problem
Another issue is that many orders come in sealed bags—like McDonald’s and Starbucks—so drivers can’t open the bag to see if a drink is there.
They can look for the drink through the bag, but some orders are in paper bags. Or they can feel and listen for a drink, but that’s not always a reliable test.
They can ask the restaurant if the drink is in the bag, but they have to trust the restaurant’s word. A busy restaurant workers might say a drink is in the bag without really knowing for sure just to move onto the next thing.
Should drivers fill fountain drinks?
Restaurants are responsible for preparing the entire order, including fountain drinks. But almost every delivery driver will tell you that restaurants regularly ask drivers to fill fountain drinks.
Some drivers are offended. It’s the restaurants job, they say, and it’s not sanitary! Delivery drivers don’t have regular access to hand washing, they don’t have food prep training, and it’s simply not their responsibility to complete the order.
Other drivers don’t mind filling a drink if it means a faster, smoother delivery. Instead of arguing with restaurant staff or waiting around for them to fill the drink, why not just quickly fill the drink and be on your way?
Restaurants should be filling drinks, but the reality is that each driver will have to choose how they want to deal with this dilemma. Many will choose to fill the drinks just so they can move onto the next order. Time is money.
What drivers say about missing drinks
Here’s what real drivers have to say about missing drinks. Some blame the restaurants, others blame their fellow drivers, and others blame bad design.
“We are supposed to double check. But we are not allowed to open sealed orders. So it can be difficult sometimes.”
“I pretty consistently have to remind restaurants to get the drinks”
“All we can do is ask the restaurant and judge the sealed bags.”
“I for one HATE transporting drinks. And will look ahead in the order to cancel orders that contain drinks”
“If someone at the restaurant were to not give me a drink, and it’s not listed in the order, I would have no idea”
“There are some orders, like a combo from KFC, that will not specify in its list of items what is a part of the combo”
“I hate drinks. Uber should make it mandatory to sell drinks in cans or bottles.”
“It’s entirely possible the drink is attached to one of the menu items as a sub item, making it even easier to not notice. ”
“Your driver isn’t taking even the most basic steps to check your order.”
“The problem is that drivers do not read the item list”
“I check for missing drinks if possible, but honestly, it’s not always possible.”
More reading on DoorDash
- How much does DoorDash cost? How pricing works
- Got someone else’s food? What to do
- How to contact Uber Eats for refunds and other issues
Melissa Goetz says
Hi I ordered Buffalo Wild Wings last night to the emergency department for my dinner where I work. Part of my order was not received called the store and they refused to give me a refund said I had to get ahold of Doordash! This is very frustrating and if I didn’t get my items then I should be refunded! I should not have to go through all this because someone simply forgot part of
My order! Never will I use door dash again or order to any place that offers it! 65$ order and didn’t get my full order is just insane and very frustrating