Obsessed with driving, he found himself drawn to an increasingly popular and dynamically developing segment of the market – meal delivery services. Miroslav Kahoun believes that one of the biggest benefits for customers is the time that they save. Before, people would have had to spend time cooking or making the effort to eat out, where they would have to twiddle their thumbs waiting for food. Now, he says, they can do what they want with that time. He also likes the fact that more and more exotic dishes are making it on to the menu, allowing customers to spice up what they eat.

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Miroslav Kahoun
chief courier at the Dáme jídlo meal delivery service

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Simple and increasingly popular

Meal delivery services are a recent phenomenon. All you have to do is choose a meal from the website menu, pay by card online, wait for the courier to arrive and simply savour the food, regardless of whether you are eating alone, as a couple or with your colleagues at work. “The meal delivery market is growing and this expansion seems set to continue,” says Kahoun. He is generally optimistic about the future of home deliveries of ready meals and groceries. But how does a courier approach this service?

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Mistakes happen. The address you arrive at may be miles away from the customer.

Miroslav Kahoun

A typical work day for Miroslav Kahoun begins at the depot, where he picks up a car and a telephone. The number of deliveries gradually rises until it peaks in the afternoon, when drivers have to tackle busy city centre traffic. There is a second wave of orders in the evening. By that time, though, the streets are emptier and the stress of beating the clock has gone. “That’s when driving is a joy,” says Kahoun.

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He manages around 25 to 30 deliveries per day. And that’s a heady dose of intermingling smells, though this doesn’t bother him in the car. Quite the opposite. The number of deliveries depends on factors, including whether he picks up several meal orders from a single restaurant and whether he finds himself in unforeseeable situations, such as when the customer doesn’t answer the phone. Delivery routes are mainly planned by a dispatcher, but Kahoun says it also depends on the ability and experience of the courier: “Mistakes happen. The address you arrive at may be miles away from the customer. At that point it’s up to you and you alone how to plan your route so you can deliver the rest of the orders on time.“donaska_icon

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Miroslav Kahoun sometimes finds himself on the other end of the service, too, as a customer ordering a meal to be delivered. He’s a big fan of pizza, sushi and Indian dishes. “I always go for something I can’t make myself,” he says, acknowledging that his knowledge of cooking is not encyclopaedic.

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It’s all about interpersonal relations

What sort of qualities are important for someone who makes a living delivering meals? According to Miroslav Kahoun, it is the ability to organise your time according to the orders that have to be delivered and about being friendly to customers. After all, nobody wants their meal to be brought by some misery guts, even if they bring it on time. Equally important are flexibility and the ability to think on your feet.

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This is particularly useful when the traffic is full of obstacles, of which there are plenty on the streets of Prague. Another unpleasant factor that a meal courier encounters from time to time is when addresses are wrong.

In addition to his accommodating approach to customers, Miroslav Kahoun attaches great importance to relations with co-workers. After all, they’ve got his back. He sees relations at the workplace as a big support, a safety net that will rescue you in unexpected situations. “I try to work on positive relations, and I believe I’m succeeding,” he adds.

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Experience is useful, especially from abroad

Miroslav Kahoun is middling in his driving style – not too fast, not too slow. And how would he, as a professional, describe Czech driving? “Personally, I get the impression that the drivers around me are more considerate,” he says in the hope that things are looking up on the roads. He bases his view not only on his work in the Czech Republic, but also his wealth of experience abroad. Having travelled around Italy by car, he is well placed to offer a comparison with the drivers there, who it is said don’t pay much attention to the rules. Miroslav believes that Italians are far more aggressive at the wheel and more unpredictable, not using indicators. “I get it though. If we had the same sort of toll motorways and most drivers were driving in sandals or flip-flops, we would be the same,” he admits. He would recommend the train or local buses to travel around Italy. cedule_icon_en

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When he’s not delivering, Miroslav Kahoun takes it slow and enjoys driving for driving’s sake. Apart from Italy, he has also driven around New Zealand, which in his words is more “car friendly”. The areas around the roads are beautifully kept and thought out in detail. However, he does warn tourists that you pay for everything on the islands: “If you want to sleep in the car, for example, you have to find a camp – otherwise you can expect first a warning, and then a fine.” He says that once you get used to it, you will find yourself in a world of an ingenious and quality system of accommodation with all amenities for travellers. Everything, though, comes at a price.

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10 quick questions for Miroslav Kahoun

1. How did your day at work go yesterday?

Everything went according to plan and I enjoyed the driving. Besides, during the time I have been working here I have learnt to automatically relieve myself of the stress that comes with the job.

2. What brought you to meal deliveries?

I used to work as a printing press operator. You stand in a book-making factory and the work whizzes through your hands. The thing is, I prefer it when I can work on wheels. I like it that I can see something of the world and get to meet different people all the time. I think it breaks up the mundane aspect of work and that’s why I still enjoy it.

3. What do you enjoy most about your work?

For me, it is all about seeing smiles on the face of happy customers. And driving through Prague at night has its own magic, something you never tire of.

4. Anything you are averse to in your work?

I really don’t like it when there’s an old banger in front of me that should have failed its MOT five years ago.

5. How was it for you when you first drove a car?

It caught me hook, line and sinker. I can’t really remember the exact feelings I had, but I get the excitement of driving every time I sit behind the wheel, again and again.

6. What would you do if cars didn’t exist?

I think that there would be something else instead of cars and I would use that. I would definitely ride a bike, but only in summer. I admire the couriers I meet on the roads, often in places where bikes have no right to be.

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7. What do you think cars will look like in 20 years’ time?

They will all run on electricity and play the recorded sound of the cars we hear today. Petrol cars will still be around, but they’ll be few and far between. Diesel cars will probably be banned altogether.

8. What did you most enjoy playing with, or playing at, as a child? What was your favourite toy?

I spent all my time doing sport. I rew up next to a forest and we had a dog. It was the ideal combination and meant that as a young child I was outside all the time.

9. Can you remember any unusual stories about anything that happened to you in a car?

Nothing comes to mind. But I do I like sci-fi and there are plenty of times I have wished that cars could fly. It would sometimes come in handy at work. (laughs)

10. Where, anywhere in the world, would you like to drive to?

I would like to go north, ideally to Norway. As I mentioned, I have driven around New Zealand, so now I would like to take off in the opposite direction.

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