"Delivery services are a love-hate relationship" How Bonn restaurants view food delivery services

Bonn · In Bonn, the favorite delivery orders are pizza, sushi and burgers, as the statistics show. For restaurants, delivery services are both a blessing and a curse. Uber eats and Wolt are competing with the market leader Lieferando.

Uber Eats has been operating in Bonn for a year now.

Uber Eats has been operating in Bonn for a year now.

Foto: Tobias Fröhlich/Christian Knieps

The people of Bonn like to order take-out using delivery services. Pizza in particular is popular. This comes from Uber Eats, which has been delivering in Bonn for a year and says it now has 25,000 customers in the city. 29 percent of the orders were for pizzas, according to Uber Eats - a business arm of the ride platform Uber. The second most popular food it delivers is burgers. The situation is similar at competitor Wolt, but people using that service also like to order sushi. The most expensive Bonn order to date with Uber eats was 316.80 euros: for 18 Crispy Chicken Burger meals and an avocado salad. The Bonn resident with the most orders has ordered a whopping 68 times, according to the company.

In-house couriers are more reliable

So there's a lot of hot food being driven around town. But what does that mean for restaurants? "Delivery services are a love-hate relationship. You can't do without them, but you don't want to do with them either," says Koon-Sun Man, general manager of Homei Gyoza on Marktplatz. Restaurants need to adapt to consumer behavior, he adds. The owner uses different delivery services at different times and has also established his own delivery service. "I always tell our customers, if you want to do something good for us, order through our website." He uses Lieferando at peak times and Wolt at off-peak times, he said. "With the delivery services, I automatically have many devices: one for checkout, reservations, one device from Lieferando, one from Wolt. If Uber Eats is added now, I have six or seven devices here," the owner said. "The system then becomes too big.”

His restaurant makes about 25 percent of their deliveries each month; 20 percent of customers order via the platforms, and five percent pick up the food themselves. "I have two customer bases. The ones who have never been to the restaurant and just order. And the others who like to come here," Koon-Sun Man reports. He also sometimes manages to draw Lieferando customers to his own platform. "Lieferando saved me." Still, he says, the commission rate of 30 percent is high. On top of that, there are fees when paying online, he said. "It's good to have your own couriers driving. They're more reliable.”

Up to 30 percent of sales are from delivered food

The Tuscolo pizzeria on Gerhard-von-Are-Strasse also makes between 20 and 30 percent of its sales from delivery orders. There are often seven to ten drivers in orange outfits in front of the restaurant in the city center. That doesn't necessarily mean they are Lieferando couriers; often the couriers are just wearing their clothes and backpacks. "The cooperation is okay with Lieferando," said Tuscolo's management. But the delivery service is only available in the city center, he said. For the Tuscolo restaurant at Frankenbad, the restaurateurs count on customers to pick up their orders themselves.

Uber Eats also collects a service fee of 30 percent from the restaurants. Tobias Fröhlich, spokesman for Uber Eats, defends this arrangement as fair. "You have to realize what the restaurants get in return. They don't have any extra expense and they make extra revenue." 13 percent is the flat rate when in-house drivers are used and orders are placed only through the Uber platform. 30 percent is charged when external delivery partners of Uber Eats deliver. Market leader Lieferando also regulates it this way. Wolt, a relatively new competitor in Germany, does not charge a flat service fee, but instead delivery fees of a maximum of 3.90 euros.

Uber Eats delivers in almost the entire Bonn city area, within 35 minutes on average it says. "In the city center, the couriers of the Uber Eats delivery partners are on the road, but also the drivers of the restaurants. On the outskirts, only the couriers of the restaurants themselves deliver," explains spokesman Fröhlich. However, the company is working on expanding the area. In Bonn, he says, there is a good mix of restaurants with high quality. "Some restaurants are happy that there is now another food delivery provider. We are welcomed with open arms," says Fröhlich. Lieferando is very relaxed about Uber Eats and Wolt. "Our biggest competitor is still the phone," says a Lieferando press spokeswoman. "The majority of people call the restaurant directly instead of ordering through apps.”

Mohamed Amraoui reports that he has good cooperation with delivery services. He runs the Beef'd Burger restaurant in Bonn-Castell. Uber Eats is more practical than Lieferando in terms of handling for restaurants, he says. "Uber Eats wants to have a say in the market, that's why they're making an effort," the owner tells us. He finds the flat delivery fee high, but fair. "Delivery services have costs and have to pay drivers," he says. At Amraoui, take-out orders also account for 20 to 30 percent of sales. "Of course, we are happy when people come to the restaurant. With deliveries, the quality suffers," the owner says.

(Orig. text: Maike Velden / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)