By Gavin Gibbon
Founder Mohamed Alabbar has criticised industry players for 'robbing' F&B operators
Regional e-commerce marketplace Noon is set to launch delivery service for F&B operators across the UAE.
It comes as the company’s founder, Mohamed Alabbar launched a stinging attack on the industry, which has come under fire previously for the amount of commission charged.
Speaking at the AI Everything conference in the World Trade Centre, Alabbar said: “Everybody thinks food delivery did really well [during Covid-19]. It didn’t because customers were so scared for bringing food into their houses.
“But something else is critical when it comes to the food business - all of our F&B boys and girls in the region, they are not going to last, the way the aggregators are dealing with them.
“Aggregators are actually robbing the F&B operators with these incredible commissions that they are asking for.”
Aggregators have been strongly criticised, particularly throughout the current Covid-19 pandemic and enforced lockdown, for charging F&B operators up to 30 percent for using the service.
Zomato, which serves more than 70 million users across 24 countries every month, was lambasted for charging restaurants nearly AED1,000 for a hygiene audit amid the pandemic. However it then announced that 100 percent of Zomato Gold revenue would go towards a relief fund to help restaurant workers.
It also offered interest-free loans for small-and medium-sized restaurant partners and delivery partners, and increased delivery radius to 9km for its restaurant partners.
Meanwhile, food and grocery delivery platform Talabat, in early April, announced a plan to support partner restaurants with commission deferrals and fee waivers amid the pandemic.
While other apps like Uber Eats waived delivery fees for consumers, Deliveroo did not announce any changes to its charges.
Alabbar said: “The trouble with aggregators is he controls 30 percent of my monthly orders. I can never negotiate with him, so we at Noon are actually launching a massive programme.”
He added: “On food aggregation, I want to give good news to all F&B operators in the region that our systems are ready to go, to work with you on a fair, commercial basis, so you can survive.”
As well as the F&B sector, Alabbar also stressed that Noon was there to assist the entire retail industry in the UAE.
He explained: “I’m not interested in getting your product from overseas and competing with you.
“The idea that we destroy local businesses - that is something that Noon will never do because that is not how this company was created. We want retailers to flourish and we want to be the conduit that you come and do business with us,” he added.