Is Takeout The New Celebrity Status Item?
Kylie Jenner, Post Malone, and more have racked up $$$ in Postmates delivery.
Models Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
“Not only is Kylie the queen of Calabasas, but her receipts show that she is the queen of Postmates,” begins Kylie Jenner’s entry in “The Receipt,” Postmates’ voyeuristic new answer to the Grub Street Diet, in which the food delivery app spills the takeout tea on its celebrity clientele.
According to the log, Jenner “has spent more than $10,000 on Postmates” in the last year, with deliveries ranging from a birthday cream cheese bagel, to McDonald’s a week before giving birth to her daughter Stormi, to—most poignantly of all—a single carrot and Smartwater.
Jenner isn’t the only celebrity to have her ordering habits put on blast in the public eye; Post Malone spent over $40,000 on Postmates in just over a year, The Receipt reported in October, spending $800 on 10,000 Popeyes biscuits for a Coachella party and tipping one of his Postmates drivers with his own unreleased CD. (Note to mere-mortal Postmates users: Do not do this. Nobody wants your unreleased CD.)
The Receipt, while somewhat creepy in its omniscient tone, seems to have been compiled with the blessing of its celebrity subjects, which brings up an important question; when did ordering takeout become cool, or at least cool-adjacent?
The practice of ordering takeout used to be, if not overtly embarrassing, at least a little tinged with resignation. By calling Domino’s or ordering chicken tikka from your local Indian spot, you were announcing—to the delivery person and yourself—that you’d failed at assembling a dinner with your own two hands, a chore that was once seen as the bare minimum of adulthood (at least for women.)
For years, ordering takeout was employed as a “look how far she’s fallen” rom-com cliche; think post-breakup Paris Geller on Gilmore Girls calling to an imaginary horde of friends to “pick a movie already” so her delivery guy wouldn’t think she was “a hog.”
The practice of takeout and delivery has been around in American culture since the 1920s, when a Chinese restaurant owner in Los Angeles (where else?) declared his Kin-Chu Café open for pick-up business, and delivery websites like Seamless and Grubhub have been streamlining the process in major urban areas since 1999 and 2004, respectively. Still, the distinctly unglamorous practice of getting home, flopping down on the couch and browsing food options got a major makeover in 2011, when Postmates was founded. Eight years later, browsing the Postmates blog feels like scrolling Hypebeast; the site is awash in references to Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw, tech and food collabs (Postmates x Burger King! Postmates x Snap!), and exclusive off-the-menu burger “drops.”
Maybe this hypebeastification of food delivery is part of why celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Post Malone, and (perhaps apocryphally) Jessica Simpson are suddenly willing to embrace takeout culture. Another explanation is, perhaps, more cynical—what’s more relatable than painting yourself as a mega-chill homebody, content to gnaw on Popeyes in the privacy of your own home rather than digging into a star-studded meal at New York and L.A.’s hottest spots? To be fair, there’s also the practicality of it all; for a celebrity of Jenner’s stature, ordering food is a way of avoiding the paparazzi. Until The Receipt started taking names, that is.
And of course, food delivery doesn’t always skew cheap; luxury sushi chain Sugarfish does a brisk business on Postmates, and Caviar, Postmates’ bougier big sister—founded in 2012 and acquired by Square in 2014—delivers some of the most exclusive restaurant items around (Emily Burger, anyone?)
Part of the food-delivery makeover might also stem from the “gig economy” connotations of a site like Postmates: the app’s wink-wink marketing lets you believe your courier isn’t a career delivery person whose low pay and frantic bike ride to your apartment you have to feel guilty about, but rather a peer hustling with a side gig. (It bears noting that the site’s claims that drivers earn up to $22 an hour can look more like $2 to $4, with a lack of worker protections.)
Over the past ten years, we’ve stopped wanting our celebrities to be untouchable—in fact, we want to believe they might have touched the very same pair of Postmates-courier hands we did on our way back into the womb-like, prehistoric dark of our apartments, where we’ll chow down in front of Netflix and dream of “relatable” fame.