Uber Eats partners worry sales may be hit

The acquisition of Uber by Grab includes its food delivery service Uber Eats, which was launched here less than two years ago, and has about 2,500 restaurant partners.
The acquisition of Uber by Grab includes its food delivery service Uber Eats, which was launched here less than two years ago, and has about 2,500 restaurant partners.LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO

All food and beverage businesses currently in partnership with delivery service Uber Eats in Singapore will be moved to the new GrabFood platform when it is launched here by the middle of the year.

Grab said in a statement yesterday that its acquisition of Uber's operations in the region includes its food delivery service, which made its foray into Asia with its entry here less than two years ago.

Some Uber Eats restaurant partners, last numbered at about 2,500, told The Straits Times that they are uncertain about their contract terms with GrabFood, with some bracing themselves for a hit in sales during the transition period.

Others said they hoped for some relief from the high commission rates levied by food delivery services, which range from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of sales.

Mr Alexis Bauduin, owner of health food chain Yolo, said: "New contracts, commissions, delivery radius - all these are major concerns that everyone is in the dark about."

While Yolo has also partnered Deliveroo and Foodpanda, neither offers as much data insight, he said.

"(Uber Eat's) data analysis allows me to understand customer likes and dislikes, and improve my products. This market knowledge helps to offset the commission cost," he said.

 

With the majority of Yolo's delivery orders coming through Uber Eats, he said business would be impacted "big time" during the transition. "It is a golden opportunity for Deliveroo and Foodpanda to acquire new customers," he said.

 

A spokesman for Grab said that Uber Eats operations will continue until the end of May, when all restaurants will be made available on the new GrabFood app.

All Uber Eats delivery partners will also be invited to download the new GrabFood Driver app.

"GrabFood prices are expected to be similar to what they are currently used to on Uber Eats," the spokesman said.

Ms Yvonne Ong, who runs a salad shop in Toa Payoh, said she is worried about losing regular customers, with delivery orders making up about 20 per cent of sales.

"Some order every day, and their notes and instructions are saved in the system. Moving to a new app means starting over,"she said.

But Mr Joel Ong, managing director of Rochor Thai restaurant, said he was not too worried about the move. "If the fees are above market rate, we can always stop the partnership. Customers can still find us on the other platforms," he said.

Part-time Uber Eats delivery rider Muhd Shafie, 33, said he preferred the firm for its flexibility.

"You don't need to submit a schedule like some other delivery companies, and the incentives are really good. I don't know if this will change," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2018, with the headline 'Uber Eats partners worry sales may be hit'. Print Edition | Subscribe