Take-away prices, turnaround delivery time a turn off for clients

Consumers have raised concerns that deliveries of takeaways are taking way too long.
Consumers have raised concerns that deliveries of takeaways are taking way too long.
Image: Instagram/CheckersSA

Soweto resident Tshepo Mncube is elated most of his favourite eateries are back in business, delivering mouth-watering fast food items.

Mncube, however, has few concerns about the prices and turnaround time of fast food delivery services. e is also worried whether eatery staff were following Covid-19 hygienic measures to the letter.

"I recently ordered a pizza and it was delivered after three hours. The other concern is that wearing a mask is uncomfortable for ordinary individuals.

"Imagine fast food outlets workers having to wear masks while preparing food in a kitchen that has stoves and ovens which generate a lot of heat and cause workers to sweat constantly to a point that they remove their masks, and if they are ill they could pass the diseases on to their fellow colleagues," he said.

Mncube added that a popular pizza outlet, which usually delivers for free, sent a text message that they should start coughing up for deliveries, while other fast food outlets have raised their delivery fees. "It seems like these outlets are taking advantage of the situation by charging higher prices," he said.

However in an interview with SowetanLIVE, KFC SA  and Arbour Cafe alleyed Mncube's fears, saying  since opening two weeks ago they have introduced additional safety measures like having staff members washing their hands frequently when preparing food. 

Nando's said they "have doubled the amount of hand-washing required by the staff just to ensure their safety and the safety of our customers". "We have also implemented a new policy to ensure the wearing of face masks at all times including when utilising public transport," Nando's SA chief executive Michael Cathie told SowetanLIVE in an email.

 "Since our restaurant staff are only interacting with delivery drivers at this stage, we ensure that our Nando’s delivery drivers adhere to social distancing and hygiene with hand-wash stations, sanitisers and floor demarcations in every restaurant. The business, he said, has also implemented daily temperature screening as per government guidelines for all  employees.

 "We have also introduced a tamperproof label to seal delivery packages before they go out of the door," said Cathie.

He, however, said sales were down as its eateries were still not permitted to operate fully.

KFC SA said they have also implemented additional safety measures to ensure a safe working environment for everyone. "These measures include face masks to be worn by all team members, social distancing measures and regulations for all team members, aggregators and supply chain partners in our restaurants, deep cleaning of all restaurants every night and multiple times during the day..."

The company said they also provide sanitiser spray and chux cloths for delivery riders to wipe down food bags on arrival at their restaurants while temperature checks were conducted twice a day for all team members. Staff members are also required to wash and sanitise their hands every 30 minutes.

Larry Hodes, who's been in the restraunt business for more than 30 years, told of his lockdown struggles as a small entrepreneur. Hodes, the owner of restaurants Arbour Café and Voodoo Lily Café in Birdhaven, said before his eatery reopened for business deep cleaning services were conducted. 

He added he was required to buy a body temperature gun to check if staff members are sick. "Before workers were required to sanitise their hands every hour, now they sanitise their hands after making one meal," he said.

Hodes said due to the weak market demand, Arbour Cafe was currently closed. He was operating Voodoo Lily Cafe. "Before the lockdown I started a new business called The Dark Kitchen (an online based eateries that delivers food to people who have placed orders," said Hodes, who is also an industry expert and business coach.

When the lockdown was placed on level 4, the business for both eateries picked up and "it's been great so far".

"Am I making loads of money now, no, because I still have rent to go and pay for the two businesses. It's been very up and down. You start stressing about money and my biggest stresses has been my 45 staff members," he said.

He said he has applied for funds from the R1bn Oppenheimer relief fund for small businesses and was lucky that  his staff members would be receiving R750 per week for 15 weeks.

Hodes, however, said he would need to pay back the money when business is fully functional again.

He predicted that between 60% and 80% of eateries might not survive the Covid-19 lockdown.

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