Kaz Miah, who owns several restaurants across the Portsmouth area, says that hefty fees for apps such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and JustEat are costing businesses like his tens of thousands of pounds.
He said: ‘These apps take 30 per cent of the revenue - some restaurants don’t even make 30 per cent net profit.’
Kaz said that he was ‘forced’ to sign up to JustEat and Uber Eats after his restaurants started offering takeaways to survive the lockdowns, and has seen an increase in diners ordering through these apps.
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He added: ‘We’re paying £1,200 to £1,300 a week, and that’s just on JustEat. UberEats is another £500. I own nine venues so I’m paying tens of thousands of pounds.
‘I think it’s really unfair. They’ve got the whole market monopolised.’
Kaz’s restaurants include Cowplain’s Kassia Kitchen, and The Pacific, the new Thai restaurant in Drayton.
He has seen a difficult 18 months: Kaz’s Kassia restaurant in Southsea closed in February 2020 following an 80 per cent drop in business, and Kassia Drayton has been broken into three times over the last year.
Denmead restaurant and cocktail bar Kassia Lounge opened in October last year, but soon had to close due to the second lockdown - although the restaurant has bounced back, and is now gearing up for its busiest period yet as bookings are pouring in.
However, having to pay out large fees for delivery apps, as well as trying to sustain the restaurants throughout the pandemic, has made business very challenging.
Kaz said: ‘The apps bring the business in, but it means we have to bring more staff in and we just can’t sustain it.
‘We’re literally working for the apps, but without them having the liability that we have.’
The restaurateur is now asking customers to support their local restaurants and takeaways by ordering food directly from the businesses’ website or app.
He added: ‘The support people have shown the hospitality industry recently has been
amazing, but to give us even more support, I’d really urge people to order direct.
‘Third party apps take such hefty fees from venues that they are doing more damage to the industry than they are good.
‘These big companies are making massive profits at the detriment of small businesses.
‘This issue isn’t widely publicised enough, so consumers aren’t always aware and are enticed by the big discounts, so we want to raise awareness and encourage people to be mindful when ordering meals.’
Kaz is also warning other businesses to weigh up the cost of using third party apps, and to consider investing in a website or app for direct orders.
He said: ‘People tell me, ‘We’re working all the hours under the sun but we don’t make any money’. It’s because of the apps.
‘I urge people to promote their own apps - you’ll be saving huge amounts of money in the long run over the year.
‘Business owners should weigh up how much money they’re paying to the app companies.’