News Mail – ‘Do not use them’: food warning

IF YOU don’t feel like cooking when you get home from work tonight, you should think carefully about your Plan B.

That’s the warning from several fed-up Aussie restaurateurs who have taken aim at Silicon Valley by dropping off massively popular food delivery apps – claiming they are exploiting small businesses.

Two popular establishments in Melbourne and Sydney have protested against the apps – such as Uber Eats, Foodora and Deliveroo – on social media and told customers to think twice about using them in the future.

Some outlets have even started to drop off the popular apps and they are urging customers to go old-school by going to the restaurant to pick it up themselves if there is no delivery service.

Marios Cafe, an iconic eatery on Melbourne’s Brunswick St, Fitzroy, has been trading since the 1980s. Owner co-founder Mario Maccarone let rip at the tech giants in a fiery social media post.

Mario de Pasquale and Mario Maccarone from Marios Cafe say customers should come in and pick up food themselves. Picture: Kylie Else
Mario de Pasquale and Mario Maccarone from Marios Cafe say customers should come in and pick up food themselves. Picture: Kylie Else

He accused the third-party sites of being “parasites” which take “high percentages” from small, hardworking Aussie businesses.

“We do not use Foodora, Deliveroo or Uber and we encourage u (sic) not to,” he wrote on the cafe’s Facebook page on Sunday.

“They are parasites that take high percentages from the establishments that they have sucked into dealing with them (up to 30 per cent).

“If you need to have your food delivered, make sure the establishment you are ordering from has their own delivery. Do not order from any of the delivery groups. Call the restaurant direct and make sure they have their own delivery, or otherwise get of your ass and go and pick it up or better still eat it there.

“Please spare a thought for the people who are loosing (sic) money for your comfort factor and the delivery people are earning next to nothing for their work, while the people in their ivory towers are earning big time for doing nothing.”

A popular grillhouse on Sydney’s Upper North Shore, Taste of Texas BBQ, has also announced it is withdrawing from a third party delivery service.

“There will be no home deliveries thru (sic) Menulog, Taste of Texas app or by phone while the takeaway option will remain open,” the Waitara business announced in a Facebook post.

“We apologise to our loyal Menulog and app customers who have been ordering home deliveries every week. It’s becoming unsustainable for small businesses like ours to employ drivers and pay commission to do deliveries.”

Customers can still make takeaway orders through Menulog if they pick it up themselves, but the business will no longer deliver through the app.

Owner Prabhakar Raj told he had no choice but to pull out of the service and says many other small business owners in Sydney are starting to do the same.

“I wasn’t making any money out of it at all,” he said. “I had to employ a driver, who I had to pay whether we’re busy or not, then Menulog took 15 per cent commission on every order and then there’s GST.

“I’ve had to explain to a few loyal customers why we’ve stopped but they have supported our decision when I explained why.

“I think other small businesses will start to make tough decisions like this because I think it only really works for big restaurants.”

He added that the establishment will remain on the Uber Eats platform, but the restaurant doesn’t make any money out of it.

There are several food delivery apps operating in the Aussie market. Picture: Penny Stephens
There are several food delivery apps operating in the Aussie market. Picture: Penny Stephens

Taste of Texas BBQ only uses Uber Eats as a way to promote itself by posting a limited menu on the app.

Menulog takes a lower commission on orders than Uber Eats, and while it has recently launched a in-house delivery option, restaurants have traditionally had to supply their own drivers.

A spokeswoman for Menulog told it still has an amicable partnership with Taste of Texas BBQ and it provides a range of options for businesses based on their circumstances – adding that is very transparent and upfront about costs before outlets agree to commit.

The company’s commercial director Rory Murphy said restaurants are very happy with its service and they can choose whether they offer delivery through the platform or just pick-up orders.

“Menulog offers a suite of solutions, including both restaurant-own and delivery services, ‘click and collect’ and catering, which allows restaurants to tailor their offering to digital customers in line with their business strategy and operating model,” he told Fairfax.

A spokeswoman for Uber Eats told that, on the whole, its service has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“We place a lot of value on establishing long-term relationships with our restaurant partners and we want their businesses to thrive,” she said. “Uber Eats is proving popular with over 13,000 active restaurants across Australia who choose to be on our platform because it helps them grow their business and reach new customers with a fast, reliable and efficient delivery option.

“Restaurant service fees give restaurant partners access to a large network of delivery partners and contribute to 24/7 customer and operational support, as well as app development, marketing campaigns and business insights.”

Last week, delivery competitor Foodora signalled it was exiting the Australian market.