Restaurants in the UAE are facing difficulties finding riders from the country's most popular delivery services Zomato and Talabat. Owned by Germany-based Delivery Heroes, the two services jointly account for the lion's share of delivery services in the UAE.
Social media posts suggest that some riders are refusing to work, demanding better wages.
In a statement, Talabat told Khaleej Times that it is "committed to ensuring riders can continue to rely on our platform to provide for their families, having decent stable gross monthly earnings of around Dh3,500 on average".
"Until last week, rider pay satisfaction was well above 70 per cent, and we haven't updated our payment model recently. We understand economic and political realities are constantly changing, and we will always continue to listen to what riders have to say," the statement added.
The delivery services platform said refusing to work is not a "constructive way to ask for improvements, and it is something that we strongly oppose, not to mention that it goes against the regulations of the UAE".
Meanwhile, several restaurants appear either busy or closed on the app. The Talabat app displays a message that the company is expecting operational delays. Some restaurants that are available for delivery are also facing issues.
"We got an order for delivery," said Annu George, owner of an Oud Metha based restaurant. "I have the food ready, and I have been waiting for a delivery rider for over 1.5 hours. Each time, the dashboard (on the app) says 'Rider is 5 minutes away,' but nothing is happening. Neither the rider nor the account manager is responding."
"This is a matter of great concern for us because if the food order is cancelled- which the customer will do if our order is late- Zomato will only refund us 40% of the total bill, which they deem suitable compensation. And the customer who ordered will think it's the only restaurant's fault and will most likely not order from us again."
Several customers have been complaining about delivery delays.
"I ordered from a restaurant and waited for an hour," said Parikshit. "When I called the restaurant, they said they could not find a rider. So I had to go and pick up the food myself."
On Twitter, @theZoeyyy complained about cancelled orders
@imahhaa_ was another disgruntled user
Some riders who got in touch with Khaleej Times complained that they have repeatedly approached management for an increased wage but were not heard. However, Talaabt claims that they periodically conduct satisfaction surveys and always listen to the concerns of their riders.
Last week riders of Deliveroo had refused to work after the company moved to cut their per delivery commission. The British delivery giant then decided not to go ahead with the cuts.
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