Third-party delivery services are under fire after restaurants are listed on their platforms with which they do not have a legal partnership. Tony Carr, co-owner of Strange Brew, balances.
Julie Heyman: Well, this year, of course, we’ve talked a lot about the emergence of food delivery services. Of course, DoorDash has gone public. Uber Eats was a huge hit. But what did that mean for restaurant owners? Let’s talk to one of them now.
Tony Carr is the co-owner of Strange Brew, a coffee shop in the Indianapolis suburb. And Tony, I saw a tweet I sent yesterday, I think it was, where you said you are not an Uber Eats partner, but listed in Uber Eats. This is a phenomenon that we talked about a little about on the show before, and that food delivery services have been criticized at times. So describe what exactly is happening here.
Tony Carr: Well, basically, a few months ago, we started bringing Uber drivers to our store in an effort to take orders that we, of course, didn’t have. We reviewed their site and found that we were on the list. So we called them right away and asked to get them down. We were not taken off. Several months have passed. We send them emails and fill out their online forms at least once a week, and nothing gets done.
So we have these drivers come, you know, and of course, the staff are trying to deal with it. They do not understand what is happening. No request because of course we do not partner with Uber Eats. Every time the driver next tries to place the order, the card will be rejected. And then we have an unhappy customer on the other end who is dissatisfied with us, thinking that we’re somehow a part of this.
– Well you didn’t receive any response from Uber and the team at Uber Tony. Am i right
Tony Carr: We get – it feels like a robot response because they keep telling us to do the same thing over and over again. They like to, well, fill out this online form, or give us the phone number associated with your account, which of course does not exist because we do not have an account with them. It’s the same thing over and over again, and virtually nothing gets resolved.
– So how is your business – just because Uber Eats and Uber Mobile, their lack of movement, is fundamentally hurting your business. I imagine these drivers come to your restaurant, far from the fact that we continue to deal with COVID. When we were not in COVID, you would have sponsors there, you would have people. And now you have these drivers come in there, clogging your restaurant.
Tony Carr: Absolutely yes. And you know, since we tried we kind of rearranged our restaurants. We have this small space for receiving orders. Then they block the pick-up area for about 10 minutes while my staff can do something else. It tends to always occur during a lunge. It takes 10 to 15 minutes of our time. And our other customers who are waiting there trying to take their orders or place their orders are struggling.
Julie Heyman: Tony, by the way, we have to mention that we reached out to Uber to comment on what is happening. We haven’t received any response from them yet. Why did you guys decide not to partner with Uber? I understand that you also don’t partner with some other food delivery services either. Obviously, this is a decision that a lot of restaurant and cafe owners face during this time, especially when their physical locations are closed in some cases. Why did you make the decision not to partner with them?
Tony Carr: Well, off the top, they take a big percentage. And when you’re in food service, there’s no big price to start with. Also, we have our own internal delivery. It sits in a smaller space because when you handle your coffee, you want it fresh and hot. So we’re doing our own internal delivery of that to make sure we can control the quality of what’s happening.
– We were just thinking and talking about why Uber wanted to do this. Do you think Uber is waiting for small business owners like you to finally give up and accept their fee?
Tony Carr: I definitely think that’s what happens because otherwise, we’re dealing with this huge hassle. But if we just kiss her and engage with them, the annoying side of her will be gone. As you know, we’ll have these commands and we’ll be able to take them out. But instead, multiple times a week, we deal with issues of appearing to be like sharing Uber Eats but not actually sharing.
– Would you give in to Uber Eats?
Tony Carr: No.
Julie Heyman: OK. Tony Carr, a short, sweet answer to that. Partner owner of Strange Brew. You will not partner with Uber Eats. We’ll see if we’ve got any kind of response from the company, and we’ll update our viewers and you too, Tony, if we hear back from them. But thank you very much for joining us. It’s great if you get a real-world example of something we’ve talked about and heard before. thanks.
Tony Carr: thank you very much.