In just a few years of its existence, Deliveroo has carved out an important place in the daily life of the French as well as in the digital economy. With a simple and impressively effective principle, the home meal delivery platform is indispensable today, but it is also heavily criticized, especially with regard to the professional status of its deliverers. To find out more, we met Damien Stéffan, spokesman for Deliveroo France. On the menu: management of the health crisis, status of the delivery person or even Amazon’s entry into the company’s capital.
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According to Damien Stéffan, delivery partners don’t want employees
If Deliveroo’s economic model is so powerful, it is mainly because the company made the decision not to burden itself with an imposing payroll, but instead to hire delivery men with the statutes of independent workers. A strategic decision also made by Uber and Amazon Prime, but one that has generated significant criticism from certain politicians and traditional economic players in France or abroad. In Belgium in particular, Deliveroo has been accused by the National Social Insurance Office of having put its delivery staff in a precarious position because of insufficient or nonexistent social protection.
According to Damien Stéffan, however, the situation in France at least would not be as dramatic as one might imagine. He explains: “There are many people who think that the self-employed are not contributing: that’s not true, they are. There are many people who believe that Deliveroo’s deliverers have no protection: this is not true, they benefit from protection, liability insurance and health insurance. “
Even more and still, according to the Deliveroo spokesman, the company’s French delivery partners would not be interested in the status of the employee. A finding that is also shared in a May 2020 report by the Senate Social Affairs Committee, which confirms that wage employment is not a requirement shared primarily by the self-employed on platforms like Deliveroo.
In reality, the latter want to keep their freedom while benefiting from better social protection. Damien Stéffan explains: “We must succeed in finding a valid, permanent and long-term balance, precisely in order to combine this flexibility with better social protection. And contrary to what a lot of people think, and I regret it, at Delivroo we are very willing to do that. “In France, then Prime Minister Édouard Philippe mentioned in June a first way to achieve this balance. With the creation of a specific statute, better social protection has been made possible.
How did Deliveroo handle the Covid-19 health crisis?
Like most companies worldwide, Deliveroo had to adapt to the Covid-19 health crisis. The first priority for the company was to protect its delivery partners, who were then free to decide whether they wanted to continue working or not. To this end, Deliveroo has “put in place a range of health rules” including contactless delivery, reimbursement of a hygiene kit, mailing of masks or even free medical teleconsultations, all of which are fully supported. from the Home Meal Delivery Platform. Damien Stéffan also confirms that more than 9,000 calls were made to delivery drivers in less than two months to ensure they understood the instructions and were in good health.
Among the partner restaurateurs, Deliveroo claims to have suffered at the beginning of the delivery: “The delivery was synonymous with the loss of restaurants by around 50% in the first few days.” Fortunately for the platform, the shootout was quickly corrected: prior to delivery, there were 12,000 partner restaurants in France. Today 3,000 more have joined its ranks, bringing the total number of restaurant partners to 15,000. A result stemming from the sense of urgency and need brought about by the mandatory closure of retail operations, but also by Deliveroo’s promise to provide them with a relay for sustainable growth with powerful digital and marketing tools.
Damien Stéffan continues: “We are providing these restaurateurs with modern tools to expand their catchment area, expand their customer base and strengthen their digital marketing.” These strong arguments have enabled many restaurateurs across France and the world to avoid zero turnover when their establishments could no longer receive customers.
What to expect when entering the capital of Amazon
In May 2019, Amazon invested 515 million euros in Deliveroo. Almost a year later, in April 2020 to be precise, UK regulators authorized the e-commerce giant to buy part of the platform for home delivery of meals. Damien Stéffan, a minority stake, should at least not produce any joint projects for the moment:
“Joint projects are not on the agenda at all. On the agenda today is the development of Deliveroo which will deepen its own strategy in a bustling market. There is still a lot to do, there are still customers who have to be won, there are still restaurateurs who have to be convinced (…). Again, it is not a purely financial operation in the sense that it would not be interested in the economic model, but of course an affinity operation in which everyone retains their role.
In addition, the Deliveroo France spokesman explains that the money provided by Amazon will notably allow the company to develop its “Cuisines Edition” concept, which consists of roomless kitchens designed solely for the delivery of meals. Today the company has two locations of this type in France but intends to “develop others” with the help of the e-commerce giant.
With regard to the long-term development prospects of Deliveroo, Damien Stéffan is ultimately optimistic, classifying it as “cheap” thanks to its good positioning. However, he also admits that the Covid-19 brings with it new problems and issues that will be important in order to continue the exponential growth of the company.