Have You Ever Thought About Who Pays For Mistakes?

The Lempert Report
October 07, 2016

A cautionary lesson to be learned for all food delivery and pick up, including supermarkets.

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 ten 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 7 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 pick up time. Easy. 

Not so easy when you deliver. 

There is traffic, wrong addresses, wrong turns (even with Waze at your side) and other factors that can make it easy to be later 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 (or $26.53 US) off their next transaction. A big number when hundreds of customers experiences 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 to the service with their unique referral code.Since the average delivery is taking 36 minutes, UberEATS General Manager told Shead that they “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.” 

Sam says that “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 Sam makes an eye opening statement “for 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 pick up, including supermarkets.