Ever Thought About Who Pays for Mistakes?

Food delivery typically comes with a guarantee of sorts: We promise to deliver within x number of minutes, or your order is free, or discounted, or you can cancel. About 10 years ago, we launched Phil’s Take Out here in Santa Monica – an online food-ordering service where you would come and pick up your order to go at a specific time. Our promise was that your order would be ready within seven minutes, or you got a free glass of wine. We gave out very few glasses of wine because the online ordering typically was placed an average of 45 minutes prior to pickup time. Easy. 

Not so easy when you deliver. 

There are traffic, wrong addresses, wrong turns (even with Waze at your side) and other factors that can make it easy to be late, and, as a result, easy to spend a lot of money to repair credibility and keep the customer. 

One example was cited by Sam Shead in Business Insider, where he wrote that for the London launch of Uber EATS, hordes of people were experiencing lengthy delivery times and wrong orders. Every time UberEATS makes a late delivery it gives the customer the equivalent of US $26.53 off their next transaction -- a  big number, when hundreds of customers experience multiple late deliveries. Uber isn't just giving customers money off for late deliveries. Like many other food delivery companies, it's also giving people £10 credit for every friend they get to sign up for the service with a unique referral code.Since the average delivery is taking 36 minutes, UberEATS general manager told Shead that it “made the 30-minute promise — if your food is not with you in 30 minutes, your next order's on us. Its no secret that when we launched, London's appetite for UberEATS surpassed our predictions.” 

Shead said: “I worked out that I've had over £80 off the eight orders I've made. My UberEATS receipts show I've ordered £109.95 worth of food, but paid just £30-£40 for it. A colleague thinks he's had around £100 off.” Uber has a competitor there, Deliveroo, and Shead makes an eye-opening statement: “[F]or what it's worth, I don't think I've used Deliveroo once since UberEATS arrived. Why would I when I keep getting free credit from UberEATS? It's not like there's a huge amount of difference between the restaurants on each platform.” 

A cautionary lesson to be learned for all food delivery and pickup services, including supermarkets.

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