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Food delivery during the pandemic: Delivery services working non-stop in Bonn

Food delivery during the pandemic : Delivery services working non-stop in Bonn

During these days of the coronavirus pandemic, around 160 people are working for Lieferando delivery service, bringing food orders to people at home so they don’t have to go out. The delivery workers are all hoping to earn a bonus.

"It is fun when it’s not too cold or raining," says Majd Alsaleh (26). He has been working for Lieferando in Bonn for two weeks now as a delivery driver. He is one of about 160 drivers at the Bonn hub of Lieferando on Bonn Nordstrasse. It is owned by Just Eat Takeaway, the Dutch parent company. What isn’t clear is how many bike couriers are working either full or part-time for Lieferando. The Bonn branch manager and the Berlin headquarters are keeping quiet when it comes to that question.

Since the beginning of November when people were prohibited from consuming food and drinks in restaurants, cafés and bakeries, the delivery business has been booming. With restaurants offering take-out only, it means Lieferando is one of the businesses that benefit from the coronavirus pandemic. Those who cannot arrange for delivery on their own are almost without exception dependent on Lieferando.

"We have many regular customers and have to maintain our good reputation", is the reason that Dorina Zettler of the pizzeria Tuscolo (near Frankenbad) gives for doing without the services of Lieferando. There have been too many complaints, she says, "the delivery was late or the pizza was cold.” But her colleague Elke Rheidt from the second branch of Tuscolo ( in the city center) has had good experiences. "It's a lot of money that we pay as commission," says Rheidt, "but Lieferando also makes a huge investment in drivers, clothing and e-bikes.”

Even if the restaurants can use their own part-time workers and their own cars to make deliveries, they often list their offers in the Lieferando App. The delivery service charges a 13 percent commission for this. Anyone who wants to appear a little higher in the search results pays extra. In the case of deliveries made by Lieferando drivers, 30 percent of the value of the order is charged. During the current lockdown, Lieferando has reduced its share to 25 percent.

“It’s busy right now," says Aline Augsburg (30). The microbiologist started as a driver at Foodora three years ago after an unsuccessful job search. Her job contract, which was for 1,300 euros a month, was taken over by Lieferando last year - including the agreement that she delivers by private bicycle. "It's very stressful without an e-bike now," she says. But she has no choice. And the condition of the e-bikes is not the best either, she says. Before she leaves, she checks the commission status on the Lieferando App. It is the heart of the digital Lieferando services. "Without the App, nothing works”, says delivery driver Tirej Shirwani (26). Even his inquiries about his own contract were handled exclusively via the App. Augsburg shows her bonuses in the App: So far she has earned 17.25 euros in addition to her hourly wage of 9.50 euros. She is still six orders away from her 100th delivery, and she has been credited with a bonus of 25 cents for each delivery from the 50th delivery onwards. Now, everything up to the 200th delivery will earn her an extra 1.50 euros per trip during the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting from 200 orders the commission for the drivers rises to three euros. "This makes the effort worthwhile," says Volkan Afacan (43). With 381 deliveries in October, he became a top driver. He started out as a mini-jobber a year ago. Now he works 30 hours a month for Lieferando. Full-time is too much for him, he says.

One should not underestimate the stress of traffic and people. The App on his private smartphone records exactly how long he needs wherever he goes. Data protectionists view this critically. But Afacan can't confirm that this control of the App causes any disadvantages for delivery persons. "We put ourselves under pressure," he says. He explains that on weekends, one finds oneself standing in front of a burger store for an hour, having to wait for an order. "After that you just have to drive faster, because you want to get the bonus," says Afacan. "I could maybe earn more money at another job," he says. But he likes doing this, he says. "In the first lockdown, people were grateful when I brought them food." Co-worker Shirwani mentions a lady who tipped him twenty euros because she was so grateful.

Azis Abdullah from Auerberg can hardly expect such a gesture of generosity. It’s the third month of offering his services as a franchisee of “MeinFruehstueck24.de”. It means he delivers bread and bread rolls. He charges 99 cents when he delivers the baked goods to his customers. One needs no minimum order or a delivery contract with him. He hopes to recover his franchise investment of 7,000 euros in five years. According to his franchisor, Thola Service in Marburg or Osnabrück, the company already generates between ten and 15,000 euros in sales per month. Abdullah’s income amounted to 179 euros in October. He is now distributing flyers to households in Bonn and hopes for some improvement.

(Orig. text: Stefan Hermes; Translation: ck)