Australian-born food delivery service, Menulog, has hit its first milestone in its journey to employing food couriers in Australia. In a market-first, the first cohort of food couriers have now been employed by Menulog, with the first deliveries made by these couriers in the Sydney CBD.
Employed ebike couriers will be equipped with a new, bright, highly visible Menulog uniform, seen making deliveries from any number of Sydney CBD restaurants to the offices and homes of Sydney-siders. These newly employed couriers form the start of an entirely new division of the Menulog business, alongside its existing self-service and independent contractor delivery offerings. Purpose-built, the division enables Menulog to expand on its trial, working towards the employment of food couriers right across Australia if the application for a new modern award is successful.
L-R: Morten Belling - Menulog Managing Director, Steven Teoh - Menulog Director of Delivery, Peter Sears - First employed Menulog food courier
Menulog Managing Director, Morten Belling, highlights the significant progress the business has made, since first announcing its ambition to employ couriers in April to launching a trial just two months later.
“I’m incredibly proud to have our first group of employed couriers on the road. This trial is a very important first step in gaining meaningful learning and insight to help inform the next phase of our plan, which is to make an application for a new modern industry award that is fit for purpose for the on demand food delivery industry.
“I’ve personally met the first of new recruits during their training sessions and have been out on the road on an ebike myself to trial the new Employed Courier App. While this is just a small group to start so that we can continue to iterate and learn through this trial, we’re extremely happy with what has been launched and are in a strong position to continue to deliver on the plan we announced earlier this year,” said Belling.
Peter Sears, an experienced hospitality worker from Rushcutters Bay was one of the first employed couriers to trial the new app and complete shifts with Menulog.
Mr Sears said; Being one of the first employed couriers with Menulog is pioneering; being one of the first employed in the country is a privilege.
“I’ve worked for many years in hospitality, supplementing roles in high-end restaurants with being a bicycle courier and making deliveries for a number of organisations. I love being a bicycle courier, particularly here in Sydney, because of the lifestyle and the flexibility it offers me to get out and about in the city. If you have been doing it for years like I have, you get to know all the special places around Sydney - and Sydney is beautiful!
“The difference between being an employed courier and an independent contractor is security; you’ve got your leave, you’ve got your superannuation, you’ve got your set hours and it gives me, as a courier, a real sense of dignity.”
In his original announcement in front of the Senate Select Committee on Job Security, Mr Belling provided insight as to why the company decided to make the shift towards an employment model in Australia, as the first and only food delivery platform to do so.
“Historically, the contractor model was well suited for the Australian market, but as the gig economy continues to evolve, we believe we need to make improvements for couriers that align with our philosophies and values and those of our new European parent group, Just Eat Takeaway.com.
“We are committed to the safety of our couriers, providing them with insurance cover and a fair income. While we are compliant with local laws, we believe there is more we can do for couriers, to better meet our evolved values and moral standards.
“We owe it to our couriers to help enhance their life standards and as such, we have begun looking at how we can improve the way we operate and, as part of this, how we can roll out an employee model in Australia,” added Belling.
The trial of couriers in the Sydney CBD is the first phase of the businesses broader approach to employment, including a proposal for a new modern award for the on-demand industry.
Mr Belling said: “Ultimately, we want to employ couriers, however the current regulatory framework presents a number of challenges, with specific regards to existing modern awards, the lack of flexibility they present and subsequent cost. As such, we intend to investigate avenues for employment by making an application for a new Modern Award with the Fair Work Commission and consulting with key stakeholders. We believe learnings from the trial of employed couriers will provide invaluable insight to help inform this proposal.
“We look forward to continuing to build our team of employed food couriers, whilst working with industry stakeholders to help us meet our moral obligations as an Australian-born business and one of Australia’s largest food delivery platforms”.