Booming food delivery services and matters arising

What would be your reaction if the food you have ordered is delivered to another person at a different location or it arrives cold in a less attractive package than you expect?

Well, these are some of the ‘downside’ of relying on food delivery personnel in the capital, Accra, according to some patrons and food vendors.  

The somewhat essential and lucrative business has employed many youth as a number of entrepreneurs continue to develop mobile applications to enable clients to receive their food at the comfort of their homes or workplaces.

Although it has been in existence for a while, the operations became prominent during  the COVID-19 lockdown following the restrictions on large gatherings.

For many consumers, food delivery business is an “easy and convenient” approach as they may not have to spend minutes or hours in long queues just to get their favourite food.

Nonetheless, a major concern for some clients is the cost incurred for the delivery as well as the lofty commissions (‘chobo’) delivery men added to the original price of food packages. 

A recent interaction with some operators and food vendors by The Spectator reveal that reservations some clients and food vendors have about food delivery services.

The Chief Executive Officer of Trafix Restaurant, Mrs. Bella Ahu, for instance acknowledges the importance of food delivery services but believes it is  making restaurants “lose their relevance.”

According to her, apart from enjoying a good meal, restaurants or eateries are avenues for clients to socialise or discuss business but the era food of delivery seems to be taking away that aspect of restaurant operations.

Again, the possibility of errand boys “swapping food” she says is  another reason she is  a bit hesitant when using the food delivery services.

“I personally do not prefer the delivery services because customers do not get their food on time and this makes the food cold. The packaging does not get to the client the way it is  presented.

“Clients come to make orders in the morning for food to be delivered to them later in the day but one annoying aspect is that, the delivery guys end up giving the food to the wrong person and we need to call back and apologise. This makes the delivery business quite stressful,” she says.

For this and other reasons, she advocates  a regulatory agency responsible for registering and training food delivery companies in  customer care.

Mrs. Rita Aku Mac-Pods Agbenyegah, Owner of Rakmadel Catering Services in Accra, said she relied on delivery personnel often when orders came beyond her business catchment area.

“My delivery services are not for free, the drivers charge depending on the distance. I also send my workers on errands to deliver package to customers in the vicinity as well and they charge GH¢ 1.00 per pack,” she said.

Mr Enoch Ampofo, a dispatch rider who has been in the business for the past five years, attributed the high cost of delivery fees to the long distance riders.

In spite of some clients paying more than half the price of food they buy a good number of corporate clients cannot ‘blacklist’ the young men who make cooked and packaged food reach their destinations.

Mr Emmanuel Ofori, a Civil Servant, for instance, explained why he continued to hold delivery services in high esteem.

“I personally don’t know how to cook and I don’t carry food along to the office. All I do at lunch time is to get my phone and check the menu of the food delivery application on my phone and order the meal I want for the day,” he said.

However, a person others like, Gloria Ofosu, would still prefer a walk in personally to a food vending joint to make her orders in order not to incur the cost of delivery.

“There is no way I will order food and pay for charges more than the food. It is waste of resources. I don’t remember the last time I called a food delivery services. I would rather buy from any nearby restaurant or food vendor when it is necessary,” she told The Spectator.

By Linda Abrefi Wadie

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