Opinion: It’s a difficult time for local businesses, use local delivery services

UberEATS and other large delivery service apps usually feature large chains in front of local favorites. Image: Dasser Kamran / pivot point.

Large third-party delivery services significantly reduce the number of restaurants

Since the beginning of the pandemic, delivery and pick-up services have become the new normal for restaurants. Most restaurants had to adjust to this new normal in order to stay in business by turning their operations around. To reach customers and deliver orders, many restaurants have taken out third-party delivery services like UberEATS, SkipTheDishes, and DoorDash.

In these troubled times for local businesses, one might think that using these ordering services at local restaurants would be a great way to help them – but that’s not exactly the case.

Chain restaurants (McDonalds, Harvey’s, and A&W) are featured in these apps along with local restaurants. However, large chains are more represented than local restaurants.

When you open the app, UberEATS lists both types of restaurants on the home page. At the bottom of the home page was a list of local restaurants.

Customers know that these apps charge delivery fees, but they also charge restaurant commissions on orders. This can typically be anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the order price, which is most of the profit made on orders.

To address this, some restaurants have started taking notes on orders letting customers know where their money is going when they order through third-party services.

For example, the King Eddy in the Byward Market invites customers to place orders through their Instagram page or website, which reduces the 30 percent commission charged by UberEATS to 7.5 percent for orders directly from them.

The King Eddy puts these notes in UberEATS bags to inform customers of the charges for the delivery service app. Image: Charley Dutil / Pivot Point.

Drivers are also not treated fairly. Some delivery services categorize their drivers not as employees but as freelancers or independent contractors in order not to have to pay a minimum wage or minimum benefits. Some companies charge fees to make customers believe the drivers are getting them when in reality the company is keeping them.

So what are the possible solutions? Eliminating third-party delivery services by placing an order directly with the restaurant for pickup is probably your best bet. If you want to discover something new, use the apps to find the restaurant and menu, then place an order directly with the restaurant. This way you save money on the various fees for orders, save the restaurant paying commissions, and also know that your tip goes to the restaurant.

If you still want delivery, there are alternatives to these important delivery services. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more locally-focused competitors have emerged promising to offer restaurants and drivers a better deal.

Love Local Delivery offers a better deal for local Ottawa restaurants by charging a flat fee of $ 2 per order and a fee of $ 5 for customers within 3,000 miles of the restaurant. Plus, they only deliver for local restaurants, so large chains don’t appear in front of local businesses in search results.

A relaunched app called Getit Local also promises to charge less for local restaurants that use their service.

The Ottawa resident reported during a three-month trial that restaurants were being charged a flat monthly fee of $ 99 with no order pickup fees. There are no chain restaurants in this app either.

Delivery apps shouldn’t charge restaurants as much to use their service. To help local businesses, customers should choose to order direct from the restaurant for pickup or choose a delivery service that promotes local businesses, charges restaurants less, and treats their drivers more ethically.

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