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BusinessGig WorkersLast-mile deliveryModern ShipperNewsRecent News

Uber, Just Eat CEOs trade Twitter barbs following Uber Eats German entrance

The head-to-head battle opens a new front for global food delivery services

Uber Eats (NYSE: UBER) will enter the German market in the next few weeks, going head-to-head with Just Eat Takeway.com in that country for the first time. The CEOs of both firms are now trading barbs on Twitter.

The news was first reported by the Financial Times.

“Europe in particular has been a bright spot for [Eats], both in terms of some of the growth we’ve seen, but also, frankly, in terms of the strengthening of our market position,” Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s senior vice president of delivery, told the publication.

Gore-Coty said Just Eat Takeaway.com had a “monopolistic” hold on the German food delivery market and that the company’s commission rates are “extraordinarily high.”

The companies, along with Deliveroo, are fierce competitors in the U.K., where Just Eat saw its orders jump 57% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Deliveroo just went public and Uber Eats also has a strong foothold.

Just Eat Takeaway.com CEO Jitse Groen tweeted at Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi Wednesday morning. “Interesting way of trying to depress our share price @dkhos. Now, when did I see that before,” he wrote.

Khosrowshahi responded with some “advice.” “Advice: pay a little less attention to your short term stock price and more attend to your Tech and Ops.”

Groen replied back with a thank you. “Thank you for the advice, and then if I may: … Start paying taxes, minimum wage and social security premiums before giving a founder advice on how he should run his business.”

Just Eat announced Tuesday it would pay its 1,500 couriers in Liverpool, England, minimum pay, sick pay and holiday pay. Uber recently announced it would reclassify approximately 70,000 Uber Rides drivers in the U.K. as “workers,” ensuring them minimum wage and providing other benefits not associated with independent contractors.

Uber Eats drivers in Germany will work for courier services, similar to how the rideshare business operates. In a Medium blog post last summer, Alison Stein, an economist with Uber, explained how a similar setup operates in Geneva.

“Until recently, Uber Eats operated in Geneva essentially in the same way it does in places like California: Couriers independently signed up to use the Uber Eats app, with no limit on how many could use the app to access work,” she wrote. “Couriers could determine when, where and how they work, with the freedom to choose their hours and to start and stop working at any time. They could also choose to accept or decline any delivery request for any reason.

“Under the new model, which went into effect on Sept. 1, couriers are prohibited from using Uber Eats as independent contractors. Instead, anyone working on Uber Eats must be an employee of a ‘fleet operator’ — a delivery company that hires couriers as traditional, scheduled employees,” Stein added.


Read: Court rules group of UK Uber drivers entitled to minimum wage

Read: Will US Uber drivers benefit from UK reclassification decision?


Last year, Just Eat merged with Takeaway.com in an $8.5 billion merger. Almost immediately, the new company announced the acquisition of U.S.-based Grubhub for $7.3 billion. That deal, which has been approved by Grubhub’s board, is expected to close in the first half of this year and will create the largest food delivery service outside of China.

Uber had reportedly been in talks to acquire Grubhub, but the deal fell through and Grubhub turned to Just Eat Takeaway.com.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight, managing editor, Modern Shipper

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at bstraight@freightwaves.com.

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