Enough delivery and takeout options for consumers and restaurants
Consumers and restaurants have enough options for meal delivery or takeout. That is the conclusion of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) based on its preliminary investigation into a requirement that Dutch meal-delivery service provider Thuisbezorgd.nl (internationally branded as Takeaway.com) imposes on restaurants. Thuisbezorgd.nl wants restaurants to charge the same prices on their own websites and on the website of Thuisbezorgd.nl. According to ACM, this ‘same-price guarantee’ currently does not negatively affect consumers. That is why ACM sees no reason to investigate this matter further.
There are many ways in which consumers can order or take out meals, or have them delivered. One such way is through online platforms like Thuisbezorgd.nl, Hungry.nl, or Sneleten.nl. Some restaurants also have their own websites where meals can be ordered. And consumers can also order meals themselves from their local pizzerias or snack bars, either over the phone or in person. Consumers currently use of all of these options when ordering food.
Restaurants are also able to decide where and how they want to promote and offer their meals: on their own websites only, or also on online platforms. The agreement between Thuisbezorgd.nl and its partner restaurants to offer the same prices everywhere does not have a negative effect on consumers.
Many new competitors and new initiatives
Furthermore, ACM anticipates that the market for online food-delivery platforms and take-out food will change tremendously. New competitors continuously enter the market with new concepts. Think of Foodora, Deliveroo, and UberEats. Taking action against a ‘same-price’ guarantee such as the one Thuisbezorgd.nl uses is not needed in such a dynamic and growing market.
Platforms and online consumers
The requirements that Thuisbezorgd.nl imposes on restaurants caught ACM’s attention because of two reasons:
- Consumers make more and more use of online services. ACM finds it important that consumers also have enough options online. This is one of ACM’s key priorities for 2016 and 2017.
- Online platforms can become very big, very fast. Having a strong position in the market also carries risks. Last year, ACM explained this in its publication ‘Big platforms, big problems?’
A same-price guarantee is an example of a so-called vertical agreement. Vertical agreements are agreements between suppliers and buyers. Last year, ACM announced that, in its oversight efforts, it mostly focuses on agreements that negatively affect consumers.
- Sufficient options for consumers and restaurants with regard to meal delivery and takeout
- Consumer welfare central in ACM’s enforcement with regard to vertical agreements
- Big platforms, big problems? (in Dutch)