Montreal businesses strive to maintain local food delivery services

Nowadays, the evenings are rather quiet at La Bêtise, a Montreal tapas bar and restaurant.

That’s because public health measures have banned food service and closed bars, which means it’s only take-out or delivery.

This means that customers are turning to reputable delivery apps to get a taste of their favorite local dishes, but those apps, which charge a delivery fee, are far from local. For example, DoorDash and Uber Eats are both based in the United States.

New food ordering platforms are mobilizing against the delivery giants and calling on Quebecers to support local delivery services like RestoLoco.

And La Bêtise is one of many restaurants that trust RestoLoco, according to restaurant owner Douglas Tan.

“We’re actually 100% relying on them,” Tan said.

People just don’t call the restaurant anymore and order in the traditional way, he said.

RestoLoco goes public

Restoloco founder and CEO Axel Lespérance said everyone can have a piece of the pie.

“We are opening our capital to the public so that everyone can buy Restoloco shares and become shareholders,” he said.

In 2019, Canadians spent $ 1.5 billion delivering food. Businesses not only charge customers a few dollars per delivery, but they also charge restaurants hefty commissions.

Last year, the province passed legislation limiting the fees delivery apps can charge restaurants to 20% when dining rooms are closed, but some restaurants are still struggling to pay that price.

Lespérance says investing in its new delivery service means restaurants can participate in the growth of the business and recoup some of those profits.

Douglas Tan, owner of La Bêtise in Montreal’s Rosemont neighborhood, says his tapas bar is 100% based on RestoLoco. (Sharon Yonan-Renold / CBC)

“This is what we need, we need a collective movement to face the delivery giants that really dominate the market,” he said.

With partnerships across Quebec, RestoLocal is present in a dozen different cities in the province and in Ottawa.

Lespérance says the goal is to move money through the local economy, and by partnering with local taxi companies for deliveries, the company is keeping prices low.

RestoLoco offers a seamless platform with no middleman, giving control to restaurateurs who can list their menus without restrictions – and with lower commission fees.

“We offer a tool to restaurateurs to free themselves from the monopoly of large delivery platforms,” ​​says the company on its website.

The owner of RestoLoco said he hopes to expand the business even further into Canada, helping restaurants stay afloat amid the roller coaster of public health restrictions.

RestoLoco is not the only game in town

Tan has been using the RestoLoco service for over a year and says it’s about 15% more profit in his pocket.

“It’s a lot of money. It’s the difference between paying your rent and not paying your rent,” he said.

Mansib Rahman, co-founder of Radis. (Alexandre Joyce)

RestoLoco is not the only local business offering a food delivery service.

Radis – a rad dish game – was founded in 2020 as a Montreal-based company aiming to deliver ready-made meals in Montreal to the people of Monreal.

Radis is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Mansib Rahman. The company announced in December that its delivery service would become carbon neutral over the next few years.

“This project requires significant technological innovations so that our green delivery alternatives, such as our cargo bikes, can maintain the efficiency and quality of our traditional delivery methods,” the company said on Facebook.

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