A Fascinating Taxonomy of Food Delivery Diners

An unscientific breakdown of the many kinds of take-out eaters.

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Associated Press

There are very few feelings in this world better than sloughing off your real-world pants, getting on your computer, ordering a meal online, and having it delivered to you in thirty minutes. But because taste is taste and humans are unique, we all have our own quirks about what we order.

New Yorkers and other urbanites have become especially good at eliminating all human interaction in food ordering, thanks to the many restaurants in the city that deliver via Seamless, an online, food-ordering system. In August, after Seamless merged with competitor Grubhub, the company announced it was processing 130,000 orders per day in the first half of 2013. They put together some other impressive numbers, like the 3,511 wings, 4,026 pizzas, and 2,428 burgers ordered on Super Bowl Sunday 2012.  And The New York Times reported earlier this month that the most expensed meal vendor for business travelers in New York was Seamless. 

In today's paper, am New York has more insight on the online delivery-ordering business and what New Yorkers are eating. It appears they really love ordering their pizza, Pad Thai, and chicken tikka masala online, and like to do so more when the weather gets cold or rainy.

But what do we know about the orderers themselves? What kind of people choose anonymous eating in to dining out or cooking their own food? And why do they behave the way they do? Here's our unscientific breakdown of the many kinds of delivery diners that exist:

The Introvert: You hate talking to people on the phone. You can't pronounce pad see ew or gyro, but you love to eat them. Sometimes people have a hard time understanding you when you speak and there was that one time the delivery person went to 440 West 19th street, instead of 414 West 90th street. This is why Seamless exists.

The Honeymoon for One: You have no plans tonight. That is why you are ordering mozzarella sticks, a chicken parm on a hero, and fries. You are treating yourself, and in the back of your mind you are telling yourself this will not become a habit. And you will forget that warning come next Friday. 

The Dinner Party for One: You have no plans. You ordered some delicious things for yourself and when you got the bag, you noticed that the restaurant kindly put in more than one set of utensils. Because you ordered enough food to feed four people.

The Adventurer: No one likes eating at empty restaurants, but someone keeps them in business. That's where the adventurer comes in. They order from exotic places they've been to and most people wouldn't normally try, and are very high risk-high reward when it comes to food ordering. 

The FOMO: "I feel like Thai ... no wait, Japanese ... umm, what about Greek?" you say to yourself. Sometimes, after plunking a volcano roll and yellowtail and scallion roll into your order you quickly change your mind, and start over. You have the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and it takes a very long time for you to decide what to get. There's a reason no one likes ordering with you ... unless you are paying.

The Drunkosaurus: It is the law of nature that food tastes better after 2 a.m. and plenty of drinks. Thank god you don't have to talk to anyone to take your order. The more evolved species of drunkosauruses have the Seamless app on their phone and can time the food to come right when the cab drops them off.

The Hangover: You might have been a drunkosaurus last night, but what matters is now. And you need food in your belly. The only problem is that this hangover makes it very hard to get up, shower, or walk. That's why you order something greasy, something starchy, and one fountain soda. It'll come in about 42 minutes, right in time for your third episode of Chopped or the ABC Family telecast of Legally Blonde

The Lad or Lady who Lunches: You've mastered how to eat lunch at your desk, you efficient little monster. Instead of going outside for some fresh air for a tiny lunchbreak, you would rather the food come to you.

The Bargain Shopper:  Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. the sushi place you love has a maki special where you can get three rolls for $9.95, which is the only time you order from the sushi place you love. You also go wild on Seamless's special 15 percent off days, and know every promo code in the book. Sometimes, you get embarrassed that one time you signed up for Seamless under two different e-mail accounts so that you could take advantage of the first-time discount, but then you remember the savings and the extra gyoza you ordered and then don't feel that bad. 

The Routine: Cracked pepper turkey, romaine, grilled onions, pepperjack on a roll and light on the dijon mustard— 11:30 a.m., 35-minute delivery. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

The Weather Guy/Gal: Snowing, raining, tornado — no thanks, online delivery it is. am New York found out there were more people who ordered delivery in February than there were in July. You're probably one of those people. You tip really well too. 

The Blind Mouse: There's that one Chinese place you love more than anything... but have never been inside. Same thing for that awesome Indian place. Sometimes it's better not to see the place you're ordering from and just to live in bliss. 

The Dinosaur: You still use the phone. Good on you. Online delivery companies like Seamless are actually a concern to restaurants because they take a chunk of commission out of every order and sometimes do not pay on time, as Businessweek reported. So they probably enjoy your phone-ordering skills. You are also patient and probably have exquisite elocution ... or your restaurant just might not be on Seamless.

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