Toronto delivery service takes heat over unpaid bills

Toronto is filled with easy-to-use online delivery services that make ordering pad thai and tacos a seamless experience. But with so many options for hungry diners to choose from, is it possible the Toronto market has become oversaturated?

For the past little while, we've received numerous comments and emails about TasteAway, a Toronto delivery service that launched back in 2012. It's well known for offering substantial discounts, such as 40 per cent off food orders.

Some restaurants have alleged they've never received payments from TasteAway. Or, if they have been compensated, they say these payments usually come multiple weeks late.

Simon Sushi on Spadina says it's owed more than $5,000. Despite calling and emailing TasteAway, the owners haven't heard anything, even after filing a small claims court suit against the company.

TasteAway appears to have never responded to the claim. On September 10, however, Deputy Judge Lydia Stewart Ferreira ruled in favour of Simon Sushi, writing that TasteAway Inc. would need to pay the restaurant $5,485.57.

Simon Colyer, who is a partner and manager at Let's Be Frank, also notes that he's owed money from TasteAway. He started using the service earlier this year and says that for the first few months, his restaurant wasn't doing much business through it.

"But then we did a bigger period with them," he says. "And suddenly we noticed that money never arrived in the account."

Around the same time, the restaurant received an anonymous email. "You will not be paid by TasteAway please get off their website," read the message, which an unknown sender submitted through the restaurant's online contact form.

"The gist of it" Colyer says of his experience with TasteAway, "is that they did not pay us for most of the time we were dealing with them."

The hot dog restaurant claims it's out approximately $1,700. Colyer has since removed his restaurant from the TasteAway website but despite numerous calls and emails, he still hasn't heard back from the accounts side of the company.

TasteAway did respond to my questions about these late payments. "We've been working with our restaurants," says General Manager Vi Tran.

"Due to summer seasonality, revenues are a little bit lower. And you know as a startup we're a little bit tight for cash sometimes. But we are working with all of our restaurants and communicating with them to try to get everything cleared up as soon as possible."

The restaurant delivery game in Toronto has become fiercely competitive over the last few years. Are TasteAway's troubles related to over saturation or poor management? In any case, local restaurants have taken a hit.

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