Food delivery apps causing issues with restaurant owners in Winnipeg

“The applications are here and they’re gonna stay. There’s nothing that we can change about it but I think it’s time to start to renegotiate the fees because they are not fair at all. If you base your sales in just applications, your business (is) gonna die very soon,” said Alfonso Maury.

Restaurants in Winnipeg continue to struggle in an economy dealing with quick rises in inflation. Although delivery services like SkiptheDishes and DoorDash are meant to help with business, some owners are saying they’re causing just as many issues.

“You, as (an) owner, need to negotiate commissions with every company,” said Maury, the owner of Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria.

Restaurant owners in Winnipeg say they’re having issues with food delivery apps, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and SkiptheDishes. (Photo Credit: Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

Maury says he recently stopped his business with DoorDash – a food delivery company based in San Francisco – after it allegedly revoked its 0 per cent commission fee in the contract he signed in 2019.

“2023, they sent an email that I didn’t see and I didn’t answer, saying that they’re gonna raise the (commission) rate to 26 per cent. When I start to make my balance at the end of the year, I saw this big difference of money. There was around $9,000 in commission.”

Maury says when DoorDash came to the city, it offered the first 500 restaurants who signed onto the service 0 per cent commission indefinitely, which he says was the reason he signed with the platform.

He’s now asked for his money back and for DoorDash to honour their original agreement.

Tablets hang in Celly’s Pizza, which allows it to use delivery services SkiptheDishes, Uber Eats and Doordash. (Photo Credit: Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

“They answered me back that unfortunately they will not give me the money back. This is the new rate and this is the new contract if I want to sign or not. Of course I don’t, I cancelled DoorDash for my business,” said Maury.

Maury says his issue isn’t necessarily with the commission fee – it’s about the agreement. He says any changes need to be negotiated, as he’s done with his other restaurant. Before he stopped using the business, he brought DoorDash to La Pampa Empanadas Gourmet, and had to negotiate its commission fee.

“I had it in La Pampa with 25 per cent commission because I had no agreement on zero commission when I opened La Pampa… So I never complained about the commission on La Pampa.”

Maury says this isn’t the first time DoorDash has tried to change the terms of his contract. A few months after he started using the service, he says they tried to ask him for commission fees but he declined, saying he would rather stop using the service than change the contract.

He’s now in the process of speaking with his lawyers, and is hoping to get in contact with the other restaurants who signed with DoorDash who may be in the same situation.

“I want to invite every restaurant in Winnipeg to join us, because I’m sure there’s a lot of restaurants that they have the same situation. Sign on 0 commission and they’re charging commission to them. We want our money back. We can’t allow these guys to do whatever they want with us.”

Alfonso Maury, owner of Corrientes Argentine Pizza and La Pampa Empanadas Gourmet, says he’s stopped all his business with DoorDash. (Photo Credit: Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

Restauranteurs say issues go further than commission fees. Owner of Celly’s Pizza, Marc Thaczuk, says he understands first-hand how delivery drivers can also impact restaurants.

“I drove for DoorDash for about 2 months, during the COVID times when a lot of things were shut down and people needed to eat. Just like myself,” said Thaczuk.

“When it comes down to orders, small orders, (drivers) wouldn’t pick up the orders because they’re waiting for other orders to maybe top-up that order and go somewhere else. It would affect the restaurants, for sure. Is it the customer’s fault? Probably not. Is it the restaurant’s fault, definitely not. Is it the platforms that people use for the delivery services? That could be an issue as well.”

He says he’s had food deliveries take over an hour for what should be a 10 minute drive. By the time it gets to the customer, it’s no longer fresh.

“It’s just the new norm. Everybody’s gotta use these platforms to get their food delivered. No one wants to go outside anymore and pick up their food themselves. You just like the comfort of sitting at home and getting food delivered,” said Thaczuk.

Marc Thaczuk, owner of Celly’s Pizza, says delivery services need to listen to driver’s needs so every order is fulfilled. (Photo Credit: Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

As a new business, which opened just over a month ago in December of 2023, Thaczuk says he doesn’t want the restaurant to suffer for delivery issues that are out of his control.

“Having my own delivery driver, I thought about it. It’s the cost of having someone here permanently full-time, waiting for that order. Being fairly new, we did rely on these platforms like Uber and DoorDash and Skip to help us deliver the food products to our customers,” said Thaczuk.

Maury added, “No one is happy with the platforms at the end of the day. Not the customers, not the restaurants. They are a tool, as I told you, they are here so we need to see how we can deal with them in a fair rate for restaurants and for the customers, too.”

Both Thaczuk and Maury say delivery companies need to renegotiate its terms – with restaurants and drivers – so everyone involved can have better experiences.

Marc Thaczuk says there are times his food takes over an hour to get to customers who are only 10 minutes away. (Photo Credit: Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

CityNews reached out to DoorDash and SkiptheDishes, but did not receive a response.

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