Aussie taxi service 13cabs has launched a meal delivery service, and is taking the fight to the increasingly controversial giants in the space, offering 0% commission to restaurants using the platform.
The new service is an extension of the 13THINGS courier service, which launched in late-March, offering quick delivery for essential items.
The cab company has also recently partnered with supermarket giant Woolworths, helping manage an increased demand for grocery deliveries.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced cafes and restaurants all over Australia to move to delivery and take away-only models. As more and more people order in, channels such as UberEats and Deliveroo are making up a higher percentage of total sales.
What will the election mean to you?
Sign up to our free newsletter, including this weekend’s coverage of the election.
These global tech platforms were already under fire for charging restaurants commission fees of up to 35% on their orders.
At a time when restaurant businesses are under financial pressure, these fees become unmanageable.
As tensions boil over, some restaurants are striking out on their own, or turning to startups that seek to ‘disrupt the disruptors’.
It seems 13cabs intends to provide yet another option.
“We think enough is enough with big global platforms taking 30% from restaurant and café owners on every meal ordered, contributing to over the top marketing programs and celebrity endorsements, gouging away profits from our local Aussie businesses,” 113cabs chief Andrew Skelton said in a statement.
“For too long now these overseas companies have diverted away a greedy portion from restaurant owners and used it to promote their own brand rather than promoting the restaurant doing the actual work, wedging themselves between the restaurant and its customers along the way.”
But, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In the 13THINGS model, the customer will bear the brunt of the delivery cost, which is calculated based on the distance travelled. And it’s not cheap: a 2km trip will cost $12.
The restaurants can choose whether to share that fee with the customer, or to absorb it entirely.
“We are all keen to support Australian companies in these times,” Skelton said.
He also suggested this could be just the beginning of 13cabs’ foray into the brave new world of delivery services.
“There are many opportunities across several product categories,” he said.
“Food and alcohol are just the beginning, as consumers’ appetite for instant delivery continues to grow.”