Restaurant Delivery Services and Ethical Consumerism

The blog entry linked below is by BEH co-editor, Chris MacDonald. It explores the ethical concerts that many people have about restaurant-food delivery services such as DoorDash and Foodora and Uber Eats. It takes the time to seek an insider’s (restaurant manager’s) view, and differentiates between the ethical impact of individual orders, on one hand, and the desirability of the current overall food delivery system, on the other.

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LINK: Restaurant Delivery: Is it Ethical to Use Uber Eats and DoorDash? (by Chris MacDonald for The Business Ethics Blog)

A couple of days ago, the NYT featured a story about the ethics of using delivery services like Uber Eats and DoorDash (See: As Diners Flock to Delivery Apps, Restaurants Fear for Their Future). The basic gist of the story is that these services are predatory, in that they insist on such a large cut of the overall order price that, in some instances, the restaurant in question doesn’t make a dime on the order.

Just how big a cut do the delivery services take? Generally around 30%. (That’s true except where limited by law. In Jersey City, for example, delivery fees are limited to 10%.) So, in most places, if you order $100 worth of food, the restaurant only gets $70. In an industry where profit margins are often in the single-digit range, it’s easy to wonder how that’s remotely attractive, let alone sustainable.

And where does that leave you as a consumer? Suppose you’re someone living in a city where all the restaurants are closed except for pickup and delivery. And further suppose that you are someone who loves restaurant food, and who also wants to help their favourite restaurants survive. What are you to do?….

What do you think?


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