In London, UberEATS riders get a $130 bonus just for signing up to be its courier. Food Panda recently sent two drivers on an all-expenses paid trip to watch the Eurocup in France.
As UberEATS expands into Singapore, Melbourne, Australia to go head to head with incumbents such as Deliveroo in Australia and Food Panda in Southeast Asia, it appears they are finding that the toughest part of market domination is not customer acquisition or restaurants interested but in getting enough drivers to meet the overwhelming demand of food orders.
The high demand for riders is reflected in the wages some ecommerce food riders can earn. Food Panda said some of its riders make up to $6,000 a month.
Muhammad Fazly, 29, joined UberEats full-time after his wife saw an advertisement in Singapore and now earns $1105 per week, when previously he earned less than $1000 a month.
“Uber is a good company to work for. We don’t sit down and wait for orders,” he told TNP.
According to TNP, Online marketplace Qoo10’s brand manager Jacob Yu said there has been a significant increase in delivery services recently as Southeast Asian consumers are getting more comfortable with ordering online and their expectations for fast service are increasing.
The firm has its own delivery company, Qexpress, which deploys an average of 200 to 300 delivery men a day from their two depots at Serangoon North and at the Singapore Press Holdings Print Centre.
Each delivery van delivers about 100 parcels a day.
Another challenge will be how UberEats and other food delivery services contend with unsatisfied customers until supply meets demand.
“I’m not convinced Uber will be great for food delivery,” said Lena Sokolic, a young lawyer that lives in one of the suburbs of Melbourne, “Our order took so long because I am not sure the new drivers are familiar with the fastest routes yet.”
Getting riders on board for UberEats will be much easier than Uber taxi services due to less constraints and requirements. For one, riders do not need to own a vehicle to deliver food parcels. This opens up cyclists, motorbike riders and even public transportation users as a whole new pool to tap into. Second, riders don’t have to interact much with people, which is a major appeal for certain personality types.
“You don’t have to deal with strangers, security issues or drunk people throwing up in your car. You don’t even need to have a clean new car,” said James Carmichael, a freelance designer in Toronto, who surveyed the UberEats employment opportunities.
Retirees may even be a rider source. Michael Ng, a 63 year old Singaporean resident uses public transportation to deliver packages.
However urgent the problem is now, UberEATS will not face the food rider sourcing bottleneck for long. With the newly available talent pools for couriers, harnessed to the the massive high-end brand power of Uber, the food delivery venture is in the unique position to convert ordinary people, who never would have dreamed of hopping on their bike and delivering food, into active and successful riders.