SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Recently, the food service industry has taken a new leap forward, with the convenience of online to offline delivery apps.
However, critics are pointing out some of the side effects of fast-growing delivery service – employees who eat customers’ food and share tips for free meals, a serious matter.
The recent controversy began with so-called “proof pictures” of employees stealing customer food taken by part-timers who are serving as delivery agents.
This is a serious issue as part-time delivery personnel have become essential for restaurant owners.
However, part-time delivery personnel even mocked customers through online communities. They even shared tips on how to eat customer food undetected.
The reason why delivery agents can steal customers’ food is that they are not directly employed by restaurants.
Since delivery personnel belong to a delivery agency, restaurant owners cannot strongly supervise the delivery service.
Business owners said the latest cases have been circulating online, generating frequent calls from customers worrying about their food.
One Chinese restaurant owner said he feels more frequent calls are coming in to complain than in the past when he directly hired a delivery person.
The owner further added that “they need a sense of belonging to the restaurant and a sense of responsibility in order to do their job, but it’s hard to hope for a change and improvement since it’s a form of indirect employment.”
Traditionally, Chinese restaurants dominated the delivery market. Recently, however, delivery services have been made through affiliated delivery agencies after orders are placed through delivery apps.
Therefore, not only restaurants such as pasta and rice noodle restaurants that did not hire delivery personnel in the past but also dessert and coffee shops are providing delivery services.
Delivery has also become “required” for companies that did not make deliveries in the past due to the increase in single-person households, changes in consumer spending patterns, the impact of fine dust and other weather, and the popularity of delivery services through delivery apps.
Naturally, delivery apps and delivery agencies now account for a significant share of the food service industry.
According to data from Statistics Korea, out of about 107 trillion won (US$90.3 billion) in restaurant sales as of 2017, the market for delivery food is worth about 15 trillion won, about 14 percent.
With the widespread expansion of delivery services, new forms of distribution costs, such as fees for delivery apps and additional delivery fees, have also been rising, as well as safety issues for delivery agencies.
The recent deviant behavior of delivery agents captured online can also be seen as one of the problems caused by the emergence of delivery services.
Regarding the controversy of the delivery personnel, an official from the restaurant industry confessed, “With widespread delivery service, customer complaints have increased as well.”
“In fact, according to a survey of customer complaints regarding delivery service by a food industry research group, the attitude of delivery workers was a big factor,” he said.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)