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Here's why a Toronto restaurant owner is thanking Uber Eats drivers

In an excellent example of not shooting the messenger, a Toronto restaurant owner is thanking Uber drivers for their service during the pandemic.

Others who have condemned Uber Eats, complaining about or even fully cancelling the service, have cited issues with drivers as concerns.

But Christopher Palik took to the Instagram account of his restaurant Hotmess Tex Mex recently to hand out thank-you's to customers, the neighbourhood, corporate sponsors, media partners and now Uber drivers and Uber customers.

"Uber drivers have been streaming through our doors for the past year providing us a lifeline," Palik wrote, "as well as playing a big part in opening up a whole new customer base for us."

"They do a thankless job most times but have been incredibly patient and good to us."

Palik tells blogTO that there was such a scramble among restaurants to get up and running with food delivery services at the beginning of the pandemic that there was actually a shortage of the tablets needed to run their apps. Uber was the only service he could find that could get things running in two days on a laptop.

"Like most people I am extremely uncomfortable with Uber as a company and the way that they treat their employees," Palik tells blogTO. "It completely goes against how I run my place, that being said you compromise given the circumstances."

"Right from the moment I made contact with Uber they have been really good to us. Maybe I got lucky? Not sure."

The biggest concern many restaurants have voiced about Uber is their 30 per cent commission, the highest of any app. Palik compares the commission app's charge to Toronto real estate, likening it to the price of rent at King and Spadina compared to, say, Hotmess's Little Italy neighbourhood.

Palik says paying 30 percent to be listed on the biggest app, with all its customers and drives, is just the cost of doing business.

He also says that when you consider all the costs of having to do delivery operations, it just doesn't make sense for restaurants to try to rin their own deliveries.

"So much of it also depends on whether your food does well traveling and markets well," Palik says. "We fall into the comfort food area so we have done well during these times."

He says that also from night one, "we made the decision as a business to treat the drivers that showed up with an extra level of respect." He figured if they were treated with respect, they'd treat his food with respect, and it seems like it's been working out. Hotmess offers water and use of their washroom to all drivers.

Palik says he'd be happy to have his relationships with the drivers continue after the pandemic crunch is over. 

"I have also promised any Uber driver that when we get to reopen that if they drop in to eat that we will take care of them in some sort of fashion."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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