Many Londoners happily grasp the opportunity to order food direct to their door via smartphone apps - but central city residents are growing irritated by the noise of moped delivery riders zipping up and down their streets at odd hours.
Residents worried about noise and congestion frequently write submissions on Westminster City Council licensing applications, pleading for limits on the two-wheeled food delivery service.
In the latest case, a new restaurant has promised to limit its delivery radius to the local area and encourage Deliveroo delivery riders to use bicycles instead of mopeds or motorbikes, to alleviate neighbours' concerns.
Deliveroo says it is paying special attention to concerns from residents in the central London borough, urging its riders to be considerate to locals.
Residents' associations, neighbours and councillors wrote to the licensing subcommittee ahead of Thursday's hearing (August 23) on an application for a new Sicilian pizzeria for Westbourne Grove, named Black Stone, Red Fire.
The council last year toughened its rules for delivery mopeds, meaning businesses must get planning approval for a volume of delivery activity that proves more than incidental.
The Nando's on Westbourne Grove was forced to stop its delivery operations after a council crackdown sparked by residents' complaints.
The Hereford Mansions Residents' Association, Bayswater, and South East Bayswater Residents' Association (SEBRA) all also wrote asking councillors not to permit deliveries, claiming the numerous vehicles in their neighbourhood were already "very noisy".
"Residents in this area have suffered from many problems with delivery services," another group of locals wrote.
The Hereford Road Residents' Association claimed some delivery drivers were travelling over the speed limit down their street.
Bayswater councillors Emily Payne and Maggie Carman also both wrote submissions, urging that residents' concerns about the risk of public nuisance from moped deliveries be addressed.
Speakers at the hearing said it was not the restaurant's fault the problem of how to address the impact of food deliveries on London neighbourhoods had yet to be solved.
"The problem is - and I say this on applications all the time - it’s not really the licence holders’ fault," Westminster Citizens' Advice's specialist licensing adviser Richard Brown told the hearing.
"The delivery companies act as a third party to facilitate the order and the drivers act as another third party."
“Really, there's nothing you can do if they want to be noisy and shouty," Cllr Susie Burbridge told the applicant. "It's how you manage those Deliveroos. Everyone wants you to have a business that's successful; but it's balancing that with neighbours' expectations and our licensing objectives.”
SEBRA chairman John Zamit said he hoped the restaurant thrived, but he wondered whether the problem of delivery noise would abate in future, given the apparent popularity.
He said: “It’s an amazing percentage the [delivery businesses] get from these. From the bill they can get 30 per cent - and then we’re hearing restaurants say it’s making up 30 per cent of their business now.”
Subcommittee chairman Cllr Angela Harvey welcomed Black Stone, Red Fire's promise to encourage the use of bicycles, as the subcommittee granted its licence.
She encouraged the proprietor to include the bicycle promise on its website, as it was a "green" approach. The delivery app issue was unlikely to go away soon, she added.
She said: “We may be discussing bicycles and motorbikes today - but it could be by other means in the future."
A Deliveroo spokesman said the company was paying attention to the issues raised in the borough.
He said: "We meet regularly with local council officials and councillors to discuss community issues.
"We have a dedicated point of contact for Westminster residents to raise any concerns with us which we have shared with the council.
"We have a zero tolerance for highways code breaches and have engaged with riders in the area proactively about the importance of being considerate neighbours."