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Bad Experiences With Caviar Delivery

Three consecutive bad experiences with Caviar delivery.

The first issue was the delivery person was 30 minutes late and did not even come to my building but instead was across the street, I had gone down to the lobby without a coat, expecting the delivery person to actually be in or in front of the building.

2nd issue was an order from Taim, the fries were put in a container that was not sealed so the fries dispersed at the bottom of the bag and the bag was greasy with cooled congealed oil, the fries of course were cold but also free roaming in the bottom of a bag. My order was also missing the egg add-on which I was charged for and was missing the pickled mango which is free. The falafels were in this waxed paper bag, totally cold and the other contents of my platter were squished to one side, completely jumbled in this plastic clamshell container. I let Caviar know that my order was messed up and that I was charged for egg but didn't get it. Their reply was "sorry, let me give you a $5 credit toward your next meal". Considering their delivery and service fees I did NOT want credit toward another order. They finally waived the charge for the egg and still gave me credit toward a next order, which mollified me despite the awful meal.

Today, I ordered the whole roast chicken from Mission Cantina. Deliver came within their 1 hour window, no problems. But, I get upstairs and... there are no utensils, no napkins. This is a whole chicken, not cut up. No napkins. I need to go downstairs, walk to Chipotle to get utensils and napkins, while my food is getting colder than it already is. The chicken is not very tender, I'm sawing it with my plastic knife. The chicken is however, moist. Even the white meat is not dry. The sauces it comes with are terrible. The red sauce tastes like a salt lick flavored with chili dust. It's unbearably salty. The guacamole I ordered for $3 was also much too salty and had no flavor and no brightness of lime or lemon, the guacamole at Chipotle is better.... the green sauce while less salty than the red sauce, was also too salty. My lips are tingling from when you've had too much salt and you feel this uncomfortable sensation of moisture being drawn out of your cells. When lunch is $57 (delivery fee is $10 plus service fee), I expect some napkins at least!

I would not recommend Caviar food delivery to anyone, the best experience I had was ok. 1 ok experience vs. 3 bad. It's just way too expensive to have so many issues.

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  1. It sounds like at least part of the problems were the restaurants' rather than the delivery service. But still not good. We used Seamless while in NYC and it was a great experience. BTW, I just have to ask why you didn't have any utensils or napkins that you could have used???

    6 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Caviar makes a point of "curating" the restaurants it pairs with for delivery and tries all the dishes. It also charges a premium for its service. So although some of the issues are not with delivery itself, I expect more from the service.

      I'm at my office, not my home and I don't keep spare utensils here, although I could have used toilet paper as napkins I guess. But seriously, I've never had food delivery not include utensils or napkins..... especially for a whole chicken that is not precut.

      1. re: Pookipichu

        Their "Terms of Service" seem to belie the "curating." And they clearly take no responsibility that what's inside the bag is what you want, either food or utensils.

        https://www.trycaviar.com/terms-of-se...

        Back in the 'olden days' we had "lunch rooms" with all manner of utensils, MWs, etc. I guess that went the way of the dodo bird.

        1. re: c oliver

          Interesting, they should probably stop pushing themselves as a "curated" premium delivery service if they take no responsibility for what's inside the bag that's delivered.

          *shrug* there are no communal utensils in my office, or ketchup or mustard or soft drinks, etc. You want/need something you bring it, not the first office I've been in that's like this. If I order a hamburger with fries, I don't need to tell them to include ketchup packets, or napkins. I don't know of any delivery service, premium or otherwise that wouldn't include utensils and napkins for what was delivered.

          1. re: Pookipichu

            When I go on job interviews these days, I make a note to take a quick peek at their pantry. Its usually a dead giveaway of how much they care about\treat their employees. One place had a sign that the water cooler was for those employees who chipped in to pay for the water.

            1. re: Shirang

              Job market is not so great for my field right now, I can't afford to be choosy about the pantry... hopefully that will change lol

        2. re: Pookipichu

          Their "Terms of Service" seem to belie the "curating." And they clearly take no responsibility that what's inside the bag is what you want, either food or utensils.

          https://www.trycaviar.com/terms-of-se...

          Back in the 'olden days' we had "lunch rooms" with all manner of utensils, MWs, etc. I guess that went the way of the dodo bird.

      2. Thanks for the warning; for $9.99 delivery (which IMO is a rip-off), they should have been on time, at the right location, and certainly with sealed containers and utensils. You might want to let the restaurants know of your bad experiences.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ellenost

          Well, as I said upthread, there are certainly issues with the service but they make it quite clear what they are NOT responsible for. It sounds like they pick up the "bag" and deliver it. What's IN the bag isn't their thing.

          1. re: c oliver

            Well for a $9.99 delivery charge they might check with the restaurant that proper utensils have been provided. Or even better yet, they could automatically have their own bag of utensils for each delivery (fork/knife/spoon/napkin-just like the local delis supply); maybe they could put their logo on the bag for advertising. They're trading on the name "caviar" which to most people would imply a luxury product; maybe they should cut their price in half and call themselves something more fitting to their level of service.

            1. re: ellenost

              +1 That's really an excellent idea.

              1. re: ellenost

                I don't disagree with you at all. It just seems like what they may be promoting is not what their true policy is. So now you're warned. I wouldn't use them myself.

                1. re: ellenost

                  So maybe call them Smelly Fish Eggs and charge $0.50

                  1. re: Bkeats

                    For $.50, I wouldn't mind suppplying my own utensils. I bring a box of plastic utensils and leave them in my desk drawer when I bring my lunch to work with me.

            2. A knife, a fork
              A bottle and a cork
              That's the way you spell New York
              New York

              [old rap lyrics that seem apt here]

              1. Well crap man, that sounds super lousy!
                I also think it's a hybrid issue between taim et al not packing the food properly as well as caviar not holding up their end of the bargain...

                I would send caviar's management hate mail with these specific examples and maybe (if) they're still around in 6 months or so try again. Sounds like some nasty growing pains they are going through....

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  I don't blame Caviar entirely, there are definitely issues with the restaurants, but Caviar bills itself as a luxury service that vets the restaurants, etc. which is why it annoys me that such basic mistakes are being made. And at first, Caviar customer service was a real people pleaser, I told them what a nice experience I had with Malai Marke and they gave me delivery credit. Made me want to use them despite the expense, but the way they handled my issues was subpar. If an item you pay for doesn't arrive, you don't just offer credit on your next meal, I thought that was really sketchy. I've detailed all my issues with them in emails. The customer rep told me they are talking with Mission Cantina about cutting/quartering the whole chicken when it's for delivery.

                  I actually didn't mind it was a whole/uncut chicken, I minded that I had nothing to eat the chicken with as I did not want to lift a whole 7 -9 pound chicken by the leg and just chomp on it like an extra from a Renaissance Faire reenactment.

                2. I had no idea what "caviar delivery" was until I read this thread. When I first opened it and started reading, I thought to myself, "Doesn't this person have anything better to do than complain about someone messing up a delivery of caviar??? Read the first paragraph and imagine it is about a delivery of caviar and you will see what I mean. lol. :)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    Oh, dear, I thought the exact same thing :)

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      oh gosh, that would be pretty absurd.

                      My darn delivery of beluga caviar was so subpar... they forgot to include the black rhinoceros horn spoons!! I was expecting napkins made out of white panda fur, not red panda fur, outrageous! I'm going to send my butler to deliver a stern letter.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          Yes! I saw the headline and thought of the caviar vending machine seen in LA on the Bravo show "The Shahs of Sunset". The caviar cost $2500 and the machine only took cash.

                          Really.

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            I read the title and thought, "This must be the most First Worldy Problem ever."

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              Me three.. I was going to tell the OP try Markys!

                            2. It sounds like a flawed service and you have legit gripes when they failed you in delivery itself.... But....Is it really Caviar's fault that you didn't like how they pack or serve their food?

                              Caviar can't handle your food, and some of your gripes are seasoning, preparation issues that are entirely up to the restaurant you picked. Blame Taim and Mission Cantina for how they're handling takeout orders. You're even displeased with having to cut you chicken with the takeout plasticware knife.

                              As I understand it, they're curating the premium selection offering normally unavailable deliveries/distances, not the quality. It's not curated the way Good Egg in Brooklyn is curated, where they would (probably) stand behind the products selected.

                              I agree utensils is an expected courtesy. Similar services in other cities sometimes provide the takeout containers to establishments so they know everything is packed nice, but NY is a delivery town, so getting a business to use special trays for your service would be tough.
                              I hope you can focus on those issues rather than expecting them to take responsibility for the lack of flavor brightness.

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: sugartoof

                                Sugartoof, it's my fault for not being clear, but I did not hold Caviar accountable for the taste of the food nor did I complain to them about the issues relating to taste. I Included that information because I thought some CHounders would be interested in how the food tasted.

                                I did not complain to Caviar about the delivery person being inexplicably across the street from my building on a freezing day, but I did complain about the delivery being 30 minutes late. Total transit time of over 1.5 hours, for a restaurant that is 14 minutes away by bike.

                                I did complain about my fries resting at the bottom of a bag and my order missing an item I paid for, I did not complain about the missing chutney.

                                I did complain that there were no utensils or napkins, items that are expected with delivery, especially given what I ordered. I did not complain the salsas were disgustingly salty. That was to complete the picture of this "curated" debacle. Caviar has publicized itself as a curated premium service and has prided themselves on tasting everything, working closely with the restaurants to provide an optimal menu for delivery for an enhanced experience. That's why they charge a delivery fee and tack on a service fee. Some of the items on Caviar are even more expensive than if you eat in the restaurant. You are paying more in many different ways for what you hope will be a good service.

                                Seriously, you wouldn't be annoyed to spend $34 on a rotisserie chicken have $20 tacked on for service, delivery and tax and not have utensils to eat the chicken with or napkins? Does that sound so unreasonable to you? Would it matter to you if you were hungry? What would it take to annoy you?

                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                  You paid $54 for a rotisserie chicken?

                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                    $54 is what they charge yes. The actual amount debited from my card was less the credit they gave me for screwing up the previous order. Didn't exactly put me in a good mood having 3 consecutive mishaps with the service.

                                  2. re: Pookipichu

                                    Ok, you mixed in the reviews of the food with your complaints, so it was hard to tell. Already agreed you have some legit grips with the service.

                                    The delivery charge would annoy but their website claims a $9.99 flat rate, so what gives?

                                    Their selection isn't very upscale.

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      "Their selection isn't very upscale."

                                      No, but their delivery area is huge. I don't know what the site owners are hoping to do for ten bucks that delivery.com does mostly for free, but if I were them I'd be targeting law firms, investment banks, dot-coms and other places that have highly-paid (or highly-optioned) professionals working insane hours who want to offer those professionals something other than bad pizza and Chinese for dinner. That ten bucks gets pretty small when you're ordering for a dozen or two dozen people.

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        The delivery fee is $9.99 but they also charge 15% service charge.

                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                          So flat rate isn't a flat rate?

                                          If you order $65 worth of food, they double the service charge with a 15% fee tacked on?

                                          They're featuring places like Corner Bistro, Taim, Porchetta, Baohaus, S'mac, Caracas, Otto's Tacos and Pommes Frites with a $10 delivery fee....that sort of says everything.

                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                            That's a *curated* list of restaurants. We'd never be smart enough to pick these places otherwise.

                                            $10 plus 15% plus a tip to deliver lukewarm food.

                                            Yeah, the delivery zone is extra wide but most neighborhoods have good local places that offer free delivery. (The customer adds a tip.)

                                            I agree with the poster above who said their target market is financial and law firms where the company pays the cost. Even then I don't see Caviar sticking around for the long term. Bad service, bad value.

                                            To tell you the truth I would have bailed when I found out they claim to be "curated."

                                          2. re: Pookipichu

                                            "The delivery fee is $9.99 but they also charge 15% service charge."

                                            Mandatory? Then their target market is "idiots." No offense.

                                            On the other hand, that rotisserie chicken looks pretty good. I think I'll try to make it (roasted, though -- my nokitchen has norotisserie).

                                            1. re: nokitchen

                                              No offense taken. Once I stopped viewing CH as a gathering of friends and more like a game of super dodgeball with strangers, it all made much more sense ;)

                                              PS - The rice stuffing is really good, it reminds me of a Chinese dish.

                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                "No offense taken. Once I stopped viewing CH as a gathering of friends and more like a game of super dodgeball with strangers, it all made much more sense ;)"

                                                So true! lol

                                            2. re: Pookipichu

                                              What?!? That's insane...! Its most likely cheaper to either hire a taskrabbit or jump in a cab yourself....

                                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                I definitely don't have time for a cab, but Taskrabbit looks very interesting.

                                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                                  Skip TaskRabbit—it's better for when you want someone to mount your TV—but look at Postmates. It's on-demand delivery (from anywhere, not just a "curated" list) and the delivery fees are very reasonable.

                                        2. re: sugartoof

                                          The minute I saw Chipotle's name I knew that "curating" was not an accurate term.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I'm totally confused by your post, to my knowledge Caviar does not deliver Chipotle.

                                            1. re: Pookipichu

                                              You wrote you walked to Chipotle to get your utensils. Guess I assumed the food came from there.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                The rotisserie chicken was from Mission Cantina, now I know you weren't reading my post ;) jk

                                        3. If there's any intention of ordering through these people again, I'd contact each restaurant, explain about the non-delivery part, i.e., missing utensils, and find out who's responsible for what. As I mentioned, I used Seamless a couple of times recently and it was a really good experience. When I ordered, I got an approx. delivery, I got a text confirming my order and another text when the food went out for delivery. And they don't charge the one ordering.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            The whole reason I started using Caviar was because Mission Chinese only did delivery through Caviar, the other places I tried only deliver to my area through Caviar as well, otherwise I would use Seamless.

                                            Caviar has taken responsibility for the lack of utensils despite what their website disclaimer says. I don't think I'll be ordering through Caviar again. They kept on giving me credits when the order would be messed up, and I wound up trying them 2 more times, 2 different restaurants that also messed up. So I think after 3 strikes now,I'm done with Caviar, hence my post and warning to others.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Seamless is very different, and I'm sure like most good NYers, Pooki is probably very familiar with Seamless. The difference with Seamless is that you're ordering the food directly from the restaurant itself and it's being delivered by an employee of said restaurant. Caviar is merely acting as a middleman to deliver the food from the restaurant into your gaping maw, sans-utensils as it were.

                                            2. I only eat caviar, I don't pay them to deliver me food

                                              1. I think the next thing you should do is order the ma peche large format meal and let us know how that turns out.