Browse Directory

Restaurants and food delivery drivers at loggerheads

Issues with food delivery drivers and cancelled deliveries look to be increasing.

But why?

It seems drivers and restaurateurs are pointing their fingers at each other.

Akawi Lebanese Cuisine and Seafood owner Mohammed said he has delivery issues on average once to twice a week.

He told SBS that drivers reportedly accept delivery tasks from their respective companies, approach the vicinity of the restaurant, and falsely mark in the courier app that they have collected the food.

Subsequently, they falsely confirm the delivery of the order, despite never actually picking up the food from the restaurant. This deceptive tactic results in the driver receiving payment for a non-existent delivery, defrauding the delivery service provider and adversely affecting the customer.

Restaurants, equipped with tablets provided by the delivery service, can track the status of orders, similar to customers who monitor their delivery through the app. This technology, however, seems insufficient in preventing this type of fraudulent activity.

"The map on my tablet, [it shows] the order has been delivered but I still have the order here," Mohammed said. "So the driver doesn't want to do his job, maybe he's got better job; [so] he marks it as delivered."

Mohammed said has reported problematic behaviour, but the delivery service providers take little, if any, action.

"They say they try to fix it, to find another driver to pick up the food, or to find out who is the driver so they can call him and tell him what the situation is," he said. "At the end they say, 'don't worry about it, we will refund the money to the customer,' and that's it."

One of the problems is multi-apping, where a driver works with more than one delivery service provider and accepts multiple orders at the same time.

The issue has seen several restaurants abandon the service.

Western Sydney restaurant owner Hussein Faraj said  "They (a driver) will take the order, they will say they're waiting for the order at the business, when they wouldn't be there at all," Faraj said. 

"They will pick it up 15 minutes, 20 minutes later; the food goes very cold. By the time they get it to the customer, we get bad reviews."

One driver who spoke with SBS under anonymity said multi-apping can work if the driver accepts one job at a time.

The driver put the blame back on some restaurants saying they print out dockets that signal to the delivery service provider that the order is ready when it's not.

"We stay there an extra 15 to 20 minutes ... we're not gonna get that extra pay because they already print out the docket," he said.

Unfortunately, many drivers earn less than minimum wage.

Canberra delivery driver Utsav Bhattarai shared his experience with SBS saying, "I do not have any flexibility in terms of accepting orders, do not have any flexibility in terms of where I want to go and where I do not want to go.

"It's paying me $20 and even less than that an hour without super[annuation], without any personal leave, without any sick leave, nothing.

"We just want our basic minimum wage."


Jonathan Jackson, 15th November 2023