Customers donate over €220,000 in tips to Belgian restaurants

Customers donate over €220,000 in tips to Belgian restaurants
© Belga

Over the course of a year, people ordering delivery using the Deliveroo platform donated €222,692 in tips to restaurants, according to the company.

People using the Deliveroo app to place orders are given the option of rounding up their bill or making a direct donation to the restaurant owner with their order.

While Deliveroo takes a cut of any order placed – something restaurants said was destroying their profitability during the pandemic after it forced them to move to takeout only – the UK-based corporation says it does not take any portion of these tips and donations.

Deliveroo says the amount of tips from generous customers hoping to support a struggling sector increased by 10% since September of last year.

Since the hospitality industry partially reopened in May, tips have only slightly decreased from an average of one euro to a new average of 95 cents.

The platform says that tips to local restaurants are generally higher than average.

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Both Deliveroo and UberEats, another app service in the gig-economy, are the subject of some controversy in Belgium.

They were both investigated last summer after being accused of charging exorbitant commissions on the deliveries their contracted couriers make, and organising advertising campaigns for themselves without consulting their restaurant clients.

They were declared not guilty and the investigation was closed without any further announcement or explanation in March of this year.

Restaurants have continued to insist that the commissions are excessive, and that because of the coronavirus situation, they felt held hostage during any negotiations with the platforms regarding profit sharing.

The restaurants aren’t the only ones with complaints, either.

Couriers for UberEats and Deliveroo do not work directly for the companies as employees, but are instead classified as self-employed contractors, a designation that affects taxation, working hours, and overtime benefits, which opponents say is out of step with progressive European employment practices.

The average wage of a Deliveroo courier was as low as €9.2 per hour in recent years and is continuing to decrease.

A Brussels UberEats courier who was forced to quarantine while his wife battled Covid-19 was given just six euros a day in compensation for lost wages from the massive corporation.

Brussels politicians have been working to ban Uber from operating in the city due to what critics describe as abusive employment practices.

Update: an earlier version of this article referred to Deliveroo as an American company. It has been corrected to reflect that Deliveroo is based in the UK. 

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