How the shortage of drivers has impacted the food service industry.

We’ve all heard the expression “eyes bigger than our stomach” and UberEats has mostly delivered our favourites within the hour. However, with an extreme shortage of drivers and a growing number of discerning employees moving to competitor apps, our stomach’s are becoming resentful of our eyes as the food service industry grapples with unsatisfied customers and a lack of accountability for the shortcomings. 

Lack of transparency leads to unrealistic expectations

The convenience and predictability that we’ve come to expect from apps like UberEats has also increased the expectation of customers and restaurants to keep up with demand. However, many customers don’t see behind the scenes and are therefore unaware of the restaurant-to-apartment narrative. 

For instance, a Melbourne pizza entrepreneur told The Age he has seen the wait time for his customers exceed 1 hour with many subsequent cancellations and complaints. With other restaurateurs being brought to tears after enduring disgruntled customers, it’s clear the disconnect between the appetising image and the end result has widened significantly in recent months.

Price Increases and the squeeze on small businesses.  

If you’ve ever picked up your food directly from your favourite restaurant and noticed the inordinate price variation on UberEats, you’re not alone. For many smaller restaurants, the idea of reaching a wider customer base in hope of attracting their friends and family directly is appealing and profitable. The only problem is, when apps like UberEats increase their service fees and commission, the restaurants must keep pace to cover their wages, utilities and all on costs. 

This is having a global effect and was brought to the public’s attention recently in a Business Insider interview with Michael Urbach – a restaurant manager of 30 years in Los Angeles who recently quit his job to find he makes more money driving for Uber. The irony is one thing but a situation like this prods us to think about the causal chain that lies behind the appealing menu images and the subsequent strain on the food service industry. 

Restaurateurs are starting to cut out the middle-man to save face

Between the litany of disgruntled customers, delivery drivers and restaurant owners, you’d be hard pressed to find a part of the chain without a kink. Because it all starts with the driver shortage, many esteemed restaurants are urging customers to use their in-house delivery service to avoid long wait times and most importantly, to savour the taste.

If a restaurant has an established driver network for deliveries and only opts for the UberEats network to attract more customers, you’d hope those customers get what they are promised. As UberEats brings more customers into a restaurants’ network with the promise of delicious food but leaves them with a sense of dissatisfaction, the once complimentary app is now creating headaches and negative public relations for many in the food service industry.

The takeaway 

Chefs are putting their heart and soul into each meal, and customers are deciding on how to hit the spot each night of the week. But without a sturdy and reliable driver network to deliver, the food service industry begins to falter under the weight of its customer’s high expectations and empty stomachs. 

However, on a positive note, it has also revealed the truth about the importance of food quality and the direct-dining experience overall- it tastes better and it’s cheaper. 

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