Online Delivery Woes: Where Does Your Money Go? | The Full Frontal

Online Delivery Woes: Where Does Your Money Go?

Before you order food from a certain place, do you first check them out? Or like at least scour the place? I’m not talking about hardcore sleuthing or anything, I’m just talking about taking a sweep at their website and reviews and such. I say this because normally, it’s what people do to make sure they’re ordering from a place that has both good food and good service. 

But what happens when you overlook a third party that’s supposed to bring the food to you? The party that handles the whole process of delivering your meal and makes sure it’s still hot when it reaches your doorstep — the extra charges and fees imposed that you also pay for?

What if you found out that the money you paid for via a certain website only covered the cost of the delivery to get to your house, because apparently, the restaurants you ordered from don’t directly receive the payment? I’d imagine you’d be livid, wouldn’t you? 

That’s exactly what FoodPanda vendors are facing at the moment.

What’s Up, Mr. Panda?

facebook post of angry vendors
A lot of vendors are angry at not being paid. Source from Facebook.

Recently, Foodpanda came under fire (again) after a thread spread around Facebook, showing food vendors claiming that the food delivery app hasn’t been paying them what they’re owed. Instead, judging by screenshots of invoices from the delivery company, the vendors were the ones that owed them money!

Foodpanda charges 30% commission to vendors, which in itself is pretty high, but they reasoned that it’s because they’ll do all the promotions and the vendors don’t have to worry about anything else except for preparing the food.

Charges by FoodPanda
Vendors were given hidden charges without explanation. Source from Facebook

But every month, the sum of costs comes out the same way. Even if they’ve sold thousands of orders and are supposed to receive thousands of ringgit in return, they always come up short — or in some cases, even in the negatives! The invoice claims to take money from “Fees and Adjustments” but it doesn’t really explain what the fees and adjustments are. 

Upset Vendors

Post about FoodPanda on Facebook
Vendors urge customers to switch sides. Source from The Smart Local

Due to the markup of prices from Foodpanda, the vendors have no choice but to raise their prices as well, and risk losing customers from the platform.

Understandably, this made a lot of vendors upset. 

Many vendors are coming forward to voice out their concerns and issues with the online food and grocery delivery platform. According to a food vendor that worked with Foodpanda, there will be a nationwide protest regarding this issue. All the vendors want is a clear explanation as to why they’re losing money. 

The pandemic is already hard enough, but being a restaurant owner in these trying times is brutal. So how do we as consumers help out these vendors to make it a little bit easier for them?

How To Do Your Part As A Smart Consumer

a lady checking prices online
Be smart when you’re buying food. Source from Food Safety Helpline

To ensure that your favourite place stays open and is treated right, you have to do your part in keeping them in business. Here are some ways you can assist them:

1. Research the Restaurant 

The first thing I do when I find a restaurant is look for reviews. I don’t just look for the star ratings, but the actual reviews themselves. I would prefer to read what people write about the restaurants. If the reviews are good, it would most likely attract me to pay a visit and try their meals. 

Similarly, once you’ve dined at a restaurant, leaving a review on their platform would help them build their business. An honest review helps the business to improve themselves, so it’s better to write what you feel.

Contrarily, if the reviews are negative, there are also feelings of wanting to find out more about why it’s so bad. There’s something to be said about getting attention — bad press is still press, right?

2. If You Must, Use Trusted Online Delivery Services 

In my opinion, a good delivery service makes for a good experience as well. Imagine you’ve scrolled through a food delivery site, looking for good places to eat, and finally found a restaurant to order from. 

The website says it takes a half-hour to arrive at your doorstep. Eagerly, you order. Half an hour becomes an hour and then an hour and a half. At that point, you’re not only hungry, but angry too! And to make matters worse, the website offers no explanation other than “preparing your meal”.

If that ever happens, make sure to review the delivery platform as well. So that vendors know which delivery platform is best for their customers as well as themselves.

3. Another Option: Pay The Restaurant a Visit 
talking to local food vendors
Talking to vendors can help elevate your experience. Source from Patriot

Now that we can dine in — and follow SOPs while being fully vaccinated — you can now make sure that your food is prepared exactly how you want it by dining in at the restaurant itself. To also ensure that you get your money’s worth, isn’t it better to personally be present when they make it? 

Nowadays, since some of us are still working from home, whenever you’re on a lunch break, instead of ordering from restaurants, maybe you could drive or walk there yourself. It lets you have conversations with the vendors as well and find out their stories. 

I don’t know about you, but the food tastes better when it’s sentimentally connected. You get to really experience the way the food’s made and the passion that goes along with it.

4. Tip Your Vendors

When it comes to food services, it’s not just about you. Every penny counts when it comes to putting food on the table. The vendors need to outsource ads to promote their restaurants, they need to pay their workers, pay for the ingredients of the food they make, the gas, the maintenance of their restaurant, etc. 

That’s a lot to think about and even more to finance. If you like the food, there’s no harm in giving a little extra to your local businesses. It helps them a lot in building up their restaurant and getting more recognition. 

Wouldn’t it be sad if you find out that the warung or restaurant you always frequent had to shut down because they just couldn’t afford to keep it running anymore?

Help Out Our Local Vendors

Malaysian vendors
Help out our local businesses fight for their rights, why don’t you? Source from The Tyreman

The pandemic has not taken too kindly to us. The same goes for restaurant owners. Some businesses had to be shut down because they just couldn’t afford the upkeep since there were no customers coming in. 

Others, even while cooking from home, find it difficult to send out food by themselves while short-staffed and being overcharged by some delivery services, among many other problems. If you’d like to find out more about the issues these vendors are facing, you can check out their Facebook page and see how you can help them.

But as we all love food, we still have to take into account that we might be wasting a lot of it. Is that a conversation we’re ready for? You could check out ideas on how we can prevent wasting more food in the future by clicking on this read:

Malaysians Love Food, But is Everyone Getting Enough of It?

picture of food waste
Malaysians produce enough food waste to feed 2.2million people, three meals a day. Source from Shutterstock. | Source