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Restaurants want ‘very greedy’ delivery firms to ‘lower fees’

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Credit: Just Eat, Deliveroo

Commission rates imposed by delivery companies Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo are threatening to drive independent restaurants out of business, kebab magazine Britshish has reported.

Restaurant owners say that rates as high as 35% are eating away at their revenues even as they struggle to pay bills and wages during the coronavirus lockdown.

Despite delivery firms helping such businesses reach more far-flung customers, restaurateurs are calling for commission fees to be temporarily lowered for the duration of the lockdown, Britshish says.

I think they have been very greedy with these charges and I would urge them… to bring their prices down. – Shefik Mehmet (Harringay Traders Association)

Shefik Mehmet, leader of the Harringay Traders Association in north London, suggested that takeaway businesses especially are “all having a hard time with the charges of these delivery companies”.

He said: “I think they have been very greedy with these charges and I would urge them… to bring their prices down.”

But a spokesperson for Just Eat has told FtLion that the company’s “commission rates are aligned with the value we provide to our partners and we have a track record of helping restaurants prosper”.

Referring to its 30 day Covid-19 emergency support package, Just Eat said that it “gave over £11 million worth of support to the many thousands of independent restaurants” it worked with.

“This included a 33% commission rebate and removal of all commission on collection orders, helping restaurants to maintain their operations and support their teams at this challenging time,” the spokesperson added.

While restaurant and cafe owners continue to work hard in feeding the nation, social distancing rules have meant that takeaways are now the only way to serve their customers.

Restaurants continue to ‘rely heavily’ on delivery firms

The owner of one well-established Turkish restaurant in north London told Britshish: “At first I thought my business actually had increased during the lockdown. Then I realised that I had been serving people who had mostly already been my customers for years.

“We are paying the fine for not having a good website, in a sense, by taking the distributor company as a partner to our existing long-time business.”

The proportion they charge is too high for their revenues. Many have told me they are worried about staying in business. – British Bangladeshi Caterers Association

Since the coronavirus outbreak, all three companies have reportedly claimed to have lowered commission rates while waiving some fees in their bid to help struggling restaurants.

Just Eat told FtLion: “We recognise that the impact of Covid-19 will continue for some time and we are committed to continuing to support our restaurant partners as we all work to adjust to the new ‘normal’.”

Salim Chowdhury from the British Bangladeshi Caterers Association, an umbrella organisation with around 12,000 British-Bangladeshi restaurants across the country, said: “Our members have relied heavily on firms like Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo during the virus lockdown but the proportion they charge is too high for their revenues. Many have told me they are worried about staying in business.”

Timur Ekingen, editor of BritShish magazine, said: “Delivery companies are truly the only winners in these bad times. That is why BritShish supports the restaurants’ call for a fairer deal with Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo.”

FtLion has yet to hear back from Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

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