HOLLAND — For some businesses, the pandemic has brought purchases to a grinding halt.


Not so for Holland Eats.


The delivery service, owned by Daniel Jacobs, launched in November 2018. In the past two months, it has seen twice as many orders as usual.


“Right after the stay-at-home order began, we actually nosedived for about 10 days,” Jacobs said. “There was a massive mistrust of restaurants. It didn’t matter how many times the health department put something out to say you can’t get the virus from food. It took people about two weeks to realize they couldn’t cook all the time. We spent three or four days assuming our normal business flow. Then we suddenly took off.”


The service now offers contactless delivery.


“Our web host implemented it,” Jacobs said. “All customers have to do is click a button. When the driver receives the order, there’s a notation. Personally, I’d like to see that option stay. When it was introduced, it was temporary. But I actually enjoy it.”


To encourage customers to support local restaurants, Jacobs decided to waive delivery fees.


“We eliminated them for all local establishments,” he said. “We thought it was more appropriate to look out for businesses that don’t have corporate backing. And it’s been, hands-down, our local restaurants killing it.”


About two weeks ago, Holland Eats faced a new challenge — a nationwide meat shortage.


“Everything started to snowball around Cinco de Mayo,” Jacobs said. “Everybody wanted their taco fix and restaurants started running out of everything. When they all went to reorder, they found their meat prices had doubled or the supplier just wasn’t stocking it.”


The Holland Eats website, which includes a menu for all restaurants offering delivery through the service, was no longer accurate. Jacobs rushed to keep up with the changes in price and offerings.


“The first set of edits was to block items as they were becoming unavailable,” he said. “When steak is gone, it’s not just steak. It’s everything that has steak in it. You end up destroying half of the menu. And now that people are getting their meat back, we’re running into the problem of increased costs. We shut down for three days and I did nothing but hammer out menu after menu after menu.”


In addition to contactless delivery, Holland Eats has added an option for tipping restaurant waitstaff.


“One of the things a restaurant will tell you is, when you partner with a delivery service, employees don't get tipped,” Jacobs said. “We had a restaurant ask us directly if there was something we could do to help. It wasn’t within my personal finances to do it, but we put the option out there for customers to tip. It’s utilized a decent amount of the time. And we’re going to leave that. The pandemic was a catalyst, but it’s not something we’re going to take away.”


Even though Michigan’s unemployment rate has reached record highs, Holland Eats is short on drivers.


“With the increase in business, things are sometimes taking longer than usual,” Jacobs said. “It’s been very difficult to bring on new drivers. It’s hard to find a time and place to sit down and meet them, and it’s really important for me to do that. I need to make sure they’re going to be a comfortable fit.”


Still, Jacobs said, the locals have been incredibly loyal.


“It never fails,” Jacobs said. “On a weekly basis, I’ll see someone on Facebook complaining about GrubHub or UberEats. And whenever I see that complaint, I see every third person in the comments telling them to try us because, even if there’s an issue, they can just call and get it fixed. There’s been community support, and it’s been really nice.”


Holland Eats is currently available Mondays-Wednesdays 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Thursdays-Sundays 7 a.m.-10 p.m. The business will not be open Monday, May 25, for Memorial Day.