Elche is a complicated city for a “rider” in the strictest sense of the word. Its large municipal area and the proximity of rural parts and districts complicate the movement by bicycle of the distributors of the food delivery apps such as Glovo, UberEats or Deliveroo. Hence, the majority of workers are motorcyclists, who can more easily access unpaved roads in Peña de las Águilas, the departure of Carrús, la Galia and surroundings.
This is what Marcos assures – a fictitious name to preserve his identity. He works only on high demand days to get the most income in the shortest time possible, as he uses it to get extra money while studying. His bicycle makes it difficult for him to move around Elche, hence, when he can, he travels to other cities in the province and even Murcia.
Elche, moreover, “is not a city with a high demand” for food delivery as it is “for example Alicante”, since in the city the majority of orders are concentrated in peak hours, on weekends or sporting events. All and despite the fact that the number of restaurants that offer home delivery has not stopped growing in recent months and had a significant increase during the pandemic, since many hospitality establishments saw home delivery as the only way to maintain income .
Fast food is one of the stars in this type of application. Large firms use these platforms to fulfill orders, sometimes as a complement to their own delivery staff. However, the most common profile is that of «small fast food restaurants, such as hamburgers, pizzas or local and Chinese food, which do not have enough capacity or volume of orders to keep a dealer permanently hired and turn to those hired by these apps, which serve as a link between the restaurant and the customer. «In fact, when you order something through Glovo or UberEats, the client of these companies is not you, but the restaurant, since when placing the order they act as intermediaries and provide the restaurant with the transport service that ultimately falls to the customer. It’s actually like when you order online. The user is a customer of the website where he buys. That website becomes the client of the courier service, which is the one who delivers the package to the buyer.
In fact, the delivery men have no relationship with the restaurants. In their own app they receive the notice that there is an order to be picked up at the corresponding location and delivered to a specific address. Because they do not have, nor the riders themselves, are related to the platforms that send them to collect those orders, since most are autonomous, although the courts have already ruled in favor of the workers and forced to hire them.
This circumstance makes it very difficult to quantify the total number of riders in the city, although the recently created platform to defend their rights indicated that there are about 200 workers in the province, of which fifty operate in Elche.
An average of just over three euros per order, one every hour
The lateness of the restaurants and the long distances weigh down the already low profits
One of the drawbacks of riders when making this job their main profession is the low pay they receive. Marcos, one of these employees, points out that it depends on many factors such as distance traveled or volume of the shipment. “In UberEats at least it is between two and five euros per order, but the normal thing, the average, is that it costs about three-something each way.”
Another problem is that the responsibility of the order from when it leaves the restaurant until it reaches the customer’s home is the delivery person. «If there is a problem, something is spilled or damaged, we do not charge. However, we do not have any type of control in its preparation. There are fast food chains, for example, that put drink glasses in bags, held by cardboard, which spills on the first curb or pothole that we take with the bike, falls, the hamburger gets wet, and the order no longer serves . It is an order that we no longer charge. », He laments.
Time is another factor that runs against them, since as they have no relationship with the restaurant «although my delivery capacity is two or three orders per hour, rushing a lot, in the end we make an average of one per hour . We receive the notice, we go to the restaurant, many times they do not have it ready, we have to wait there for it to be prepared and then distribute it. In the end there is a lot of downtime lost, you are working but you are not doing anything, and it weighs us down ».
The only positive comes from the tips from customers, which are for riders. At least the ones that are delivered by hand. «In the app there is also the option of giving a tip of fifty cents. Before we received more, by giving it to us by hand, but with the pandemic it has been very limited by having to keep our distance ».
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.