More and more competitors to Uber Eats are coming out of the woodwork as the nation prepares for its Level 3 takeaway feeding frenzy. The latest is home-grown e-scooter operator Flamingo, which has hired 100 riders for a flat $5 per delivery service starting next Tuesday as we move into Level 3. Other developments have seen Aussie-owned Menulog announce it will halve its food delivery commission rate from 14 per cent to 7 per cent until June 1 after it restarts its order-and-delivery service from Tuesday. Menulog rival Zomato is offering two months of commission-free deliveries (its usual commission varies with distance). Wellington-based, five-year-olld Delivereasy, which already operates in 12 centres with 500 restaurant parteners and 600 drivers, says it will expand into Auckland and Christchurch “in the next two to five weeks.” It usually charges commission from 20 per cent but will offer its service “free or at cost for the next few months to help out restaurants,” owner Tim Robinson tells the Herald. Auckland-based carshare operator Cityhop has introduced a business service with low-cost rates for hospitality operators who want a vehicle for a few hours per evening. It’s cheaper than the company’s short-term rental service for regular punters – a business can hire a car for as little as $9.50 an hour – although there is a monthly subscription, albeit a modest $10. And Singapore-owned e-scooter outfit Beam is offering its e-scooters free to restaurants and cafes who want to use them for DIY deliveries. A spokesman says, “Unlike our competitors, who are seeking 25-35% commission on orders in an already difficult time for these businesses, we are not charging any fees whatsoever – no commissions, lock-in contracts, no catch at all. This is a super-easy way for us to give back to the community and help the city get back on its feet quickly.” And then there’s Wellington’s “Pandemic Pack” of 15 eateries who have banded together to form their own delivery service. Uber Eats has taken flak for its 30 to 35 per cent commissions – which has emerged as something of a sore point with restaurant and cafe owners. “With our margins in mind, Uber Eats commissions are crippling for many hospitality businesses,” said Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois. “During a BAU [business-as-usual] trading environment, our members have told us Uber Eats is generally only used as an add-on to their in-store sales. “However, it is not BAU currently. With all shop fronts remaining closed and as the market leaders, Uber Eats is essentially taking the shirt of the industry’s back.” A spokesperson for Uber Eats earlier this week told the Herald it had no plans to change its commission rate. Enter Flamingo, started by recent varsity grads Jacksen Love and Nick Hyland, has already taken on Uber’s Jump and others in the e-scooter rideshare market in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. But with rideshare e-scooters sidelined during the lockdown, the pair cooked up a new plan: using their fleet of e-scooters for takeaway food delivery. It’s the same deal as Uber Eats, only instead of your food arriving in a car with a contract driver, it will arrive on an e-scooter with a contract rider. Flamingo says its costs to restaurants and cafes will be 20 to 25 per cent depending on distance – and that it will charge a flat $5 per delivery for customers. There’s also a $100 sign-up free, which Flamingo says covers software setup for a restaurant plus “a tablet and a professional photoshoot.” Flamingo’s founders say more than 50 hospitality businesses sign up as a partner. Some of these include; Khu Khu Eatery and Ika Bowl in Auckland, Portofino and Little India in Wellington and MexicaliFresh and Rollickin Gelato in Christchurch. They have hired 100 e-scooter delivery people, with another 500 applications being processed. *By Chris Keall via NZHerald*

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