Coronavirus: Ontario restaurants relying on Uber Eats angry about weekend outage

TORONTO — When Leemo Han transitioned his Hanmoto, Seoul Shakers and Pinky’s Ca Phe restaurants to Uber Eats delivery last week, he envisioned a steady stream of orders leaving the kitchen.

Instead, Han says he had piles of hot meal orders getting cold and barely one Uber Eats driver an hour coming through the door to take them to customers.

Han blames the Uber Eats app, which was sending orders to his restaurants but frequently giving them and other Ontario businesses error messages all weekend.

“It was such a waste. At one point, I had to tell my guys, ‘don’t make it,”’ says Han.

“We were expecting really good sales and it was just cut in half.”

Uber Eats told The Canadian Press the recent outage was caused by a “technical issue.”

It is compensating restaurants that had unfulfilled orders and encouraging customers who were affected by the outage to place new orders with an Uber Eats-funded $25 promotion code.

Han, who had just re-opened after closing his restaurants for a month during the COVID-19 outbreak, says he’s now accepting email orders and doing deliveries himself, a method he will continue for the foreseeable future.

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The incident places Han in a group of restaurant owners who say Uber Eats has disappointed them and eroded their ability to make money in a time when they need it most.

They are now looking at other courier options and fleeing Uber Eats, which research firm Statista estimates has 25 per cent of the global food delivery market _ the second largest share after U.K.-based Just Eat.

Canada has been a particularly important battleground for delivery companies because it is the birthplace of Uber Eats, which was piloted with a handful of restaurants in Toronto in December 2015.

He estimates he lost $9,000 over the weekend because of the Uber Eats outage _ a tough blow for a business that already had to cut staff and usually sees all of its weekend orders come from the platform.

“Uber Eats might think that they’re doing the best that they can, but from the outside, it really, really doesn’t feel that way,” Pike says

He says Craig’s Cookies will stay on Uber Eats for a week or two longer as customers switch over to DoorDash.

As for Pike, he said he’s just taking things “one cookie at a time.”

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