Some platforms are taking up 35% from each order, lamented Nabila Nazrin, manager of Rahman’s Corner in Puchong, Selangor
“We’re already experiencing lower sales due to MCO restrictions. We cannot afford to share the profit,” she said.
Nabila has started encouraging customers to order directly by contacting the restaurant via WhatsApp.
“We’ll arrange for a third-party delivery service and ensure our customers are comfortable with the delivery fee. Sometimes, I would even perform the deliveries myself,” she added.
Kana Theva, the founder of Pampas Group of Restaurants, claimed that customers will be saving money if they order directly from the restaurants.
“Without the profit-sharing with delivery platforms, we don’t have to mark up our prices.
“Right now, we’re relying on an ordering service that is only charging us a 2% handling fee,” he said.
This is also the case with Kim Hayung, the owner of Moim Modern Korean Cuisine in Selangor, who had to reject delivery services to avoid charging customers extra to offset the fees.
“We’re using mostly imported ingredients in our food preparation so the cost of producing a meal is already high.
“We can’t afford to share the profit at this time with food delivery platforms,” she said.
Kim, who has also been asking customers to order directly, said she has received encouraging responses.
“My customers have even helped to promote my restaurant in their WhatsApp group chats,” she claimed.
Nabila and Kim both said they can provide better service when customers reach out to them directly.
“It’s easier for them to request for more items, and remove or add certain ingredients,” Nabila said.
Marcus Chin, manager of 100 Kopitiam in Ipoh, Perak, said ordering directly could help sustain the business of local restaurants in the long run.
“Previously, we had customers complaining that it was expensive to order our food from delivery apps as they had to pay for delivery and other fees,” he said, claiming customers only have to pay a max of RM5 for delivery when ordering directly.
The co-founder of MyBurgerLab, Renyi Chin, said prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, sales via delivery services were only considered as supplementary income.
“Restaurants were comfortable with delivery services because they had dine-in customers and most outlets were built for people to enjoy their meals at the establishments,” he said.
This changed during the first MCO, he said, as delivery services started to account for a large portion of the orders.
He added that the commission rate imposed by food delivery platforms has become an issue, as the rate has remained the same despite difficulties faced by restaurants during the pandemic.
However, restaurants have to rely on food delivery platforms, Chin says, as “less profit is still better than nothing”.
“The cost of producing food for delivery has now increased because we have to consider the cost of packaging which can be up to 50sen per meal, and keeping the workers equipped with gloves and facemask to adhere to the standard operating procedures,” he said.
As such, he estimates that some restaurants relying on delivery platforms could end up making less than 10% per food order under current MCO restrictions.
He is hoping that delivery services would consider temporarily lowering their commission rate.
"I feel the government can also step in to introduce a ceiling rate on fees imposed by food delivery platforms to protect restaurant owners and also customers," he said.
Nabila agreed, saying a lower fee would be helpful to most restaurants, adding: “They need to consider our situation at this time. Despite having fewer customers, we still have to cover the cost of rental and staff.”