Toronto

'Not Uber Eats' site launches to help hungry Torontonians support local restaurants

The website helps identify nearby restaurants that offer their own delivery service, allowing them to avoid paying the sometimes hefty commission fees of delivery apps.

Website helps identify nearby restaurants that offer their own delivery service

Cici's Pizza on Queen Street West is one of many Toronto restaurants that do their own deliveries listed on not-ubereats.com . (Submitted by Diana Hyunh)

Torontonians have a new way to find local restaurants to support. 

"Not-ubereats.com" was created by Toronto developer Randy Singh to help people identify nearby restaurants that offer their own delivery service — rather than using apps like Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes. 

"I'd seen so many articles about how my favourite restaurants are closing," Singh told CBC Toronto. 

He was also upset to read about the steep commission fees charged by delivery apps, which can run as high as 30 per cent.

"I thought this is really disappointing to hear. I wanted to see if there was something I could do to help," said Singh.

Singh took inspiration from "not-amazon.com," which connects Canadians to small businesses, and set about building his site along with help from his friend and colleague at Scotiabank, Gamaliel Obinyan. 

Together, they poured hours into the website, which allows users to search for restaurants based on location and opening hours. 

Randy Singh, who created not-ubereats.com, says he wants to make sure his favourite restaurants are still there when the pandemic is over. (Submitted by Randy Singh)

"In times like this, every little bit helps. Any extra dollar or bit of publicity can be the difference between a small business sinking or surviving," said Obinyan.

Initially, many of the restaurants on their website didn't know they had been added — or that the site even existed. 

But, as word has grown, Singh and Obinyan also created a way for restaurants to submit themselves to their database.

With the site just about two weeks old, Singh says they've already drawn about 6,000 users. 

'It's awesome' 

Diana Huynh, owner of Cici's Pizza and Wings on Queen Street West, was delighted when she discovered she'd been added. 

"I think it's awesome … I'm just excited that I'm on it," she told CBC Toronto.

Diana Huynh, owner and operator of Cici's Pizza and Wings, first heard about the site from a Facebook chat of Toronto restaurant owners. (Submitted by Diana Huynh)

Using the delivery apps, she said, was "atrocious," with high fees, occasionally unprofessional delivery people, and even dropped pizzas. 

Huynh says she's noticed a major change during the pandemic as more people make an effort to support local businesses.

"I call it localism. Suddenly everyone is looking for a local place to buy this, or looking for a local place to eat at," she said.

"It's a great movement. We're all feeling the love." 

Another restaurant owner, Jordan Harasinski Gillis of Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken, is equally thrilled. 

"A lot of people, I don't think they even realize how much commission is going to Uber and these other apps.," he said. 

"To have something that gives restaurants an option to do otherwise  is just amazing."  

With files from Lisa Naccarato

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