LPM Restaurant and Bar global operations manager Nicolas Budzynski has defended delivery aggregators from the fierce criticism they have been getting during the coronavirus pandemic, saying “the feedback and anger” they have received in the UAE is “not fair” and “not entirely objective to the situation”.
Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East, Budzynski said: “We have been told that delivery partners have not put any efforts to support restaurants, that there was a mafia, that they were not taking restaurants into consideration. But, I think we have to look objectively at the real problems.
“One of the problems is we don’t have an influx of cash, we don’t get the revenue, and we have costs to pay. Are we getting the right support from the suppliers? That’s a question to ask. Two is the payroll. Are we getting enough support to pay the salaries? Three is rent. What are the landlords doing about that?”
Having just partnered with Deliveroo to offer LPM to customers’ home for the first time, Budzynski said restaurants have a choice about whether they partner up with delivery platforms or not, and said it should be recognised that they are also trying to run a profitable business.
He said: “Delivery companies are sponsoring employees and drivers and have fixed costs. A driver, whether he rides a food delivery or not, has to be paid a visa, has to be paid accommodation, has to be paid the bike and so on. There are a lot of fixed costs. How many restaurants that were doing deliveries have closed down since the start of the crisis? How much business has been lost by the delivery companies? Instead of trying to find one responsible entity to the problem, the real problem is the coronavirus. I don’t think it’s fair that delivery companies are criticised in this way.”
Noting that more high-end restaurants such as Avli and Zuma have joined the delivery bandwagon, with more likely to follow suit in the coming weeks, Budzynski said it was important that restaurants and aggregators learn to peacefully co-exist.
He said: “If we all unite as restaurant industry people and we talk positively and respectfully to companies who are also trying to make a living, we have to find a common ground. But, pointing fingers, being aggressive, and bringing negativity into a situation which is already negative isn’t doing anything to our industry except creating more problems.
“For sure, delivery platforms can do more, but they have started. Careem Now announced 15% commission two weeks ago.”
You can see more from our interview with Budzynski on Caterer Middle East’s YouTube channel coming soon.