With only a few hours left before the Uber-Quebec deal ends, people are starting to get nervous.
When the threat to leave Quebecwas first made, no one wanted to believe it. But now that's we're so close to the deadline and Quebec still isn't backing down, it's starting to look like Uber will in fact be leaving Quebec after all.
It's easy to get caught up in an Uber Eats ordering cycle. All of your info is already inputted — including special delivery instructions — you can track your food's journey, and a little message even pops up to "Thank you for supporting restaurants."
While there's no question that ordering through a third-party delivery app like Uber Eats or SkipTheDishes is one way to support your favourite neighbourhood food joints, many Montreal restaurants say it's also not the best way.
So, how can we use our cravings for good?
We asked local restaurants how we can best support them during this COVID-19-filled holiday season.
How do you REALLY feel about Uber Eats and third-party food delivery apps?
"My first advice to Quebecers that want to help out our industry is that it is preferable to order directly from the restaurant than using an app," said Martin Vézina, a spokesperson for the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ).
Vézina told MTL Blog the reason is simple: "All the money from your order goes to the restaurant."
Some businesses also say SkipTheDishes is more flexible in terms of offering individual contracts to each restaurant.
For instance, Le Petit Sao's Dang says SkipTheDishes takes a bit less than Uber's 30% but she couldn't tell us exactly how much.
Giuseppe Maselli, who owns Dilallo Burger, said SkipTheDishes offers him a reduced rate for using his own drivers to facilitate orders through the app.
SkipTheDishes also recently announced a support plan for restaurants during the second wave of COVID-19, which includes a 25% rebate on commission for local, independent restaurant partners and a 0% commission rate for any new restaurants joining the network during the restriction period.
Vézina clarified that it's still helpful to order through an app, including Uber Eats, in certain cases — for instance, if you live too far from a restaurant, or a restaurant you like doesn't offer in-house delivery.
"It's still a sale and in [...] pandemic times, we need all the business [we can get] coming from customers."
A spokesperson from Lloydie's told MTL Blog, "It's always best for people to come into the restaurant and order [but] if not, the pickup option from Uber Eats works as well."
When you order through Uber Eats but select 'Pickup' instead of delivery, you "save your local restaurant the cost of any service fee. Pickup is offered at 0% for restaurants through Winter (March 31, 2021)," reads an Uber statement.
These include: eliminating service charges for takeout orders, reducing charges to 15% when restaurants use their own delivery services, and "online ordering," which is when restaurants use their own system to accept orders but make use of Uber's delivery people, at a reduced service charge.*
Ultimately, Uber is not the devil for local restaurants. At least not according to Maselli from Dilallo Burger.
"It provides us with another type of clientele that we can not reach with our own drivers," Maselli said.
With snow upon us and even less incentive to go out into the world, Uber Eats is supplying some winter cheer. On Thursday, November 26, you can get a six-pack of Tim Hortons donuts for just $0.60 exclusively through Uber Eats.
The two companies are calling the special a throwback to 1964 when the first Tim Hortons opened with donuts for just $0.10 each.
"Since 2020 hasn’t exactly been a year to celebrate, Uber Eats is throwing it back to better and cheaper days," the company said in a statement shared with MTL Blog.
"At Uber Eats, we know 2020 has been a challenging year for many. That's why we're taking our customers back to a better time with Uber Eats Throwback Thursdays," Lola Kassim, General Manager of Uber Eats Canada, said.
"We're thrilled to kick off with Tim Hortons donuts — and encourage Canadians to head back to the 1960s with us and enjoy a 6 pack of donuts for just $0.60."
Where there was a small glimmer of hope, now there’s definite darkness: the Quebec government said it will not be backing down on its stance against Uber.
Newly appointed Transport Minister André Fortin said, via a news release issued today, that he will still be enforcing 35 hours of trainings and police-approved criminal background checks on all Uber drivers, reports CBC.
It was thought that Fortin, a relatively young politician and one brought into the role of Transport Minister right around when decisions regarding Uber need to be made, would be a bit more lax with the raid-hailing service.
Uber hoped Fortin would be their ally in the government, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, as today’s news release demonstrates.
Fortin isn’t really cutting Uber any slack, making it seem ever more likely that the company will be leaving Quebec.
Uber is supposed to be ceasing operations in the province on Saturday, as the company threatened if the newly imposed rules weren’t softened.
Fortin did make a small edit to Quebec’s framework on Uber: new drivers have eight weeks (after Sunday) to get a criminal background check done. Current drivers have two years.
All of these changes come into effect on Saturday, when the current pilot project for Uber-in-Quebec is set to expire. 20 hours of training and criminal background checks performed by private companies were the rules laid out in the original pilot project.
Only several days before Uber’s “we’re going to leave, forever” deadline on October 14th, Quebec’s provincial government mixed things up a bit, appointing the 35-year-old Fortin as Minister of Transport, among other things.
Employees at Uber see the switch-up as a step in the right direction, heralding the appointment of a youngish transport minister as a sign of improved relations between Quebec and Uber.
Uber drivers speaking to CBC have said that Fortin is young enough to use his cellphone, therefore understanding the utility of Uber.
Others have said that the timing of Fortin’s appointment, mere days before Uber is set to leave Quebec, means that the provincial government is taking action to ensure the ride-hailing app stays in the province.
And they may be right, not that anything definitive can really be said, yet.
When asked about his thoughts on the topic of Uber in Quebec, Fortin skirted the question, saying he didn’t really have any thoughts on the topic.
Taxi drivers are already worried about what Fortin may do, fearing the newly appointed Minister of Transport will create a new agreement with Uber that will entice the company to stay in Quebec.
A protest carried out by taxi drivers was held outside of Fortin’s Montreal office yesterday.
Uber originally said it would leave Quebec if the province goes forward with imposing a new set of stricter rules on the company and its drivers. Forcing 35 hours of training on drivers was one contentious recommendation, prompting Uber to announce its departure.
Fortin’s new role as transport minister may not herald any change and Uber may still just cease operating in Quebec in the next two days.
Still, there is a dim ray of hope. Fortin has until October 14th to work things out with Uber, which will please many Millennials, if only because Uber makes getting around the city far easier.
Unfortunately, the price for convenience is the livelihood of Quebec-based taxi drivers. But maybe the new transport minister already has a workaround that problem in mind.