You might think you’re supporting local when you order from your favourite restaurant for delivery, but if you’re getting food from a third-party delivery app like Uber Eats, Skip The Dishes or DoorDash, there’s a good chance the tech companies are taking a big cut of the sale.
To get around those fees, which can top out at 30 per cent for Uber Eats (possibly soon to be capped at 20 per cent), some Toronto restaurants have set up their own in-house delivery. And now a new website has launched to collect them all – not-ubereats.com.
Not UberEats is a catalogue of local restaurants doing their own delivery.
Randy Singh, a software developer and team lead at Scotiabank, decided to build the site over the Christmas holidays, a time when many local businesses were struggling. He quickly brought on his colleague Gamaliel Obinyan and sent it out to his friends just after Christmas.
It’s been spreading from there, quickly going viral as an alternative to Uber Eats similar to the groundswell of support that met the site’s inspiration, Not-Amazon.
There are now 60 restaurants in the database and more submissions than they can keep up with. People have also been reaching out to show appreciation.
“There’s been a lot of traction, which made me realize we’re really onto something,” says Singh. “People want to support restaurants during this critical time.”
Neither Singh nor Obinyan are in the restaurant business, they just both like to eat from Toronto’s many excellent restaurants. Singh says he was ordering food about once a month, often from Uber Eats, when he came across an article about local restaurants’ frustration with the large commissions on sales through delivery apps.
“When Randy first reached out to ask if I wanted to work on Not UberEats, I didn’t know the whole context either,” says Obinyan. “There’s so much publicity from Uber, Skip The Dishes and DoorDash telling you to support local by ordering from local restaurants, but you don’t know the reality of what it costs them to be on those platforms.”
Not every spot is equipped to do their own delivery, in which case ordering directly for pick-up is the best way to support them. Some are only on the apps, so they shouldn’t be avoided entirely. But there are at least 60 that do their own, and you can find them on Not UberEats. They also include a link to localeats.to – the delivery collective launched by Avelo restaurateur Roger Yang – for restaurants looking to set up their own delivery
Singh and Obinyan did the initial research to find out who to include, but now they’re open for submissions from either restaurants themselves or people who order from them. They say they’ve discovered a lot of restaurants they didn’t even know existed through their own database. (Singh says he just ordered Ramen Isshin, while Obinyan tried Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken – “one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.”)
No one is making any money off the site. Instead, they want to increase the profits for local restaurants. It’s a side project for both men, both of whom work full-time day jobs.
Not UberEats’ code is open source and Singh put it up on Git Hub for anyone to take or contribute to. People have reached out from Quebec and California, and he says he hopes they just grab his code and set up something similar in other cities.
And if Uber decides to come at them about the name?
“We’re not making any money off this anyway, but if they did have an issue with the domain then we could always just rebrand,” Singh says.
“We’re hoping Uber would be supportive of us supporting local restaurants,” Obinyan adds. “That is their motto. I hope they follow through with it.”