St Albans restaurants drop Deliveroo after spate of problems with late and cancelled orders

Deliveroo drivers

Deliveroo drivers - Credit: Archant

Unhappy restaurants across St Albans city centre are reportedly boycotting Deliveroo because they fear a “poor service” is damaging their reputation.

Deliveroo launches in Hitchin today

Deliveroo launches in Hitchin today - Credit: Archant

The blow comes just as the food delivering company announced huge losses across the globe - Deliveroo, incorporated under Roofoods, lost £99million in 2015 and £129m in 2016.

Deliveroo gives hungry residents the opportunity to order takeaway dishes from traditionally sit-in restaurants - it relies on self-employed cyclists and motorcyclists to transport meals around the district.

But eateries in St Albans noticed rider shortages were causing late or cancelled orders and decided to take action.

The final straw for the owner of Catherine Street’s Craft and Cleaver, Adam Richardson, was when he had a bad experience ordering with Deliveroo as a customer.

He ordered at 9pm, but at 11.20pm the delivery was cancelled, and Adam had to go hungry: “I was frustrated at the service, and I put myself in the customers’ position - it’s damaging our reputation.”

Instead, the pub are launching their own takeaway service with a 10 per cent discount for diners choosing to package up.

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“Basically it’s a poor service from them and we decided that enough was enough. They rarely have enough riders to fulfil orders and what they do is accept orders but don’t have the riders to fulfil them, and the customer understandably gets annoyed at that and it reflects badly on our business.

“The customer holds us accountable - they are understandably frustrated.”

Adam said customers have told him they would not order the pub’s dishes through Deliveroo again - but would happily sit-in to enjoy the food.

The Peacock in Hatfield Road also reluctantly made the same decision after several weeks of issues.

Manager Sean Dutton said: “It’s to do with a lack of riders who are on shift at any one time - there are not enough riders to get orders out quickly enough and if there’s a delay, there’s still another delay after that for the customer.”

He emphasised that he will be happy to resume service with Deliveroo once the problems are sorted, and is in conversation with them about what is being done to combat the issues.

“I have a great relationship with the head office staff as well as the riders and so I do feel quite bad - but the fact is this issue with the drivers means we cannot use the service.”

Chain restaurants in St Albans have also suffered, but the managers do not have the authority to stop the service. A manager in Carluccio’s, Zina Kyprianidou, said she has experienced problems for months: “In my restaurant we have had several problems, they are late to pick up the orders or they come in too early. They are not reliable.”

She said she can see riders waiting outside the establishment while being told no-one is available to take orders: “I am not pleased with them at the moment.”

Although St Albans’ own dessert destination, Verulam Road’s The Pudding Stop, has also stopped using Deliveroo, it is not because of problems with the product.

Owner Johnny Shepherd said: “We’ve not so much boycotted Deliveroo but just decided that it’s not for us as a business. The main factors for stopping their services were 32 per cent commission on every order and it was only busy when we were busy and our shop guests were suffering.”

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “We work closely with our restaurant partners to ensure that we offer the best possible service, and we are always looking at ways to improve this.”