Kiwis encouraged to 'shop around' and 'support local' delivery services

Kiwis concerned about high commissions charged to deliver food during alert level 3 are encouraged to order food directly through local businesses rather than rely on third-party apps.

It comes as Uber Eats said it had 'no plans' to lower the 30-to-35 percent commission rate charged to businesses reopening to provide takeaway services under COVID-19 alert level 3. Business owners grappling with hygiene, social distancing and contactless delivery standards have condemned the charge, calling it "unsustainable."

Responding to concerns from struggling business and a call for the Government to put a cap on commission rates, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) urges customers to check whether their local eateries can deliver.

"Consumers can support local businesses, such as inquiring if their local eatery offers contactless delivery rather than ordering through Uber Eats," an MBIE spokesperson sid.

"There may be better deals offered elsewhere by other delivery services that local businesses can use."

In Wednesday's COVID-19 announcement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she encourages Kiwis to support local businesses and wherever possible, use their services to help reduce costs. 

"What I would encourage consumers - all New Zealanders - who may be looking forward next week to accessing takeaway food, is just to look at your favourite local eatery and see whether they offer delivery directly themselves.

"That will often be then at a lesser cost to them as a business and just see whether they've got contact list options as well.

"That's probably the best way we can see those businesses not incurring the costs of being under a surcharge that's quite hefty."

Having discussed commission rates with Uber Eats before lockdown began, the Restaurant Association said on Wednesday it had called for the Government to enforce a cap.

 "Uber Eats' commissions are crippling for many hospitality businesses," Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois said.

"With typical profit margins set at 3 to 5 percent, business owners will rely on Uber Eats under level 3 as a 'loss-making marketing exercise'."

On Wednesday, Menulog confirmed that from Tuesday, April 28, it would chop its standard commission for restaurants in half, from 14 percent to 7 percent until June 1.

Tim McLeod, CEO and founder of Kiwi start-up business EatLocalNZ was looking to help Kiwis support local restaurants and cafes with a 5 percent commission for all orders and a contactless dine-in experience from alert level 2.