KFCs Zinger Chutney Burger
  • Takeaways cost much more if you use delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Mr D.
  • Aside from delivery fees, customers will also often  pay much of the commission these platforms officially charge to restaurants.
  • Although this commission is usually around the 30% mark, some outlets are now charging customers up to 40% more for orders on delivery apps.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

It's no longer a secret that takeaways delivered via Uber Eats and Mr D are much more expensive than when buying directly from the restaurant - and not just because of the delivery fees.

The food is more expensive because Uber Eats and Mr D make their money via two channels, the costs of which were initially to be split between restaurants and users. 

In theory, restaurants are paying to be on the apps, which generate sales they otherwise might not have had, and facilitate the delivery process. Users, on the other hand, are paying for the convenience of having food delivered directly to their doors - in the form of delivery and "service" fees. 

But both of these expenses are now, for the most part, borne by the customer. And that can make for a serious markup. 

Initially many restaurants - particularly small, independent establishments - footed the delivery platform commissions themselves, and called for customers to boycott them owing to the high commissions that ate into profits. But many have since abandoned this call, and are instead simply passing the costs that they're charged on to the customers - who now have to pay commission, and service and delivery fees for the privilege of a home-delivered meal.

Small, independent restaurants say they have little choice but to pass these costs on to the consumer to make a profit, and as a result, they typically charge the full markup amount - which is usually around the 30% mark. These days it's unlikely that you'll find a local neighbourhood sushi joint or Italian restaurant that doesn't do this, and in many cases, it's an accepted practice that particularly thrifty in-home diners can circumvent by going direct.

Some larger fast-food chains, however, appear to partially subsidise these costs, though all of the national stores compared by Business Insider South Africa still charge more for their food via the apps than if you visited them in person. 

Of the food items compared, McDonald's is the only store to charge more than the 30% premium for third-party app delivery, while Chicken Licken isn't too far behind. KFC, Nando's, and Pizza Hut, however, subsidised the delivery of the items Business Insider checked quite heavily - with markups of 15% and lower for the items we checked.

Many of these establishments are now also geared up to offer their own in-house deliveries, which often works out considerably cheaper than using third-party apps.

Excluding the cost of delivery and the "service fee" which is often included, this means that fast-food meals ordered via third-party apps is between 30% and 50% more expensive than if you ordered over the counter yourself.

Here's how prices of popular menu items at several leading fast-food chains in South Africa compared in June 2021:

Fast-food delivery costs markups
Fast-food delivery costs markups

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