Bok A Bok restaurant takes control of delivery, ditches third-party apps

SEATTLE — A popular Western Washington restaurant, Bok A Bok Fried Chicken and Biscuits is ditching third-party delivery apps.

In a video that has been circulating social media, the owner, Brian O’Connor announced the restaurant will be taking over delivery orders and hiring drivers in-house.

“I think it’s a better business model for us because we’re able to control the full experience from the get go,” O’Connor said.

He said the cost of using apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash is too high. He also said they noticed a big drop in delivery orders when Seattle passed its Pay Up Ordinance earlier this year.

The ordinance raised the hourly minimum wage for delivery drivers to $26.40 per hour with a 75 cents per-mile reimbursement.

To offset costs, apps added a “Seattle Ordinance Fee” to the customers’ bill.

“At that point, we were like this is affecting us how are we going to figure out a way around this and so we decided to do our own delivery and take out that fee,” he said.

The executive director of Drive Forward Seattle, an organization that advocates for gig workers’ rights, said the move will come at a high cost for the restaurant.

“They’re going to have to pay their own delivery drivers, schedule their own delivery drivers, train their own delivery drivers, it’s a lot of cost that businesses have to incur to do that. On the other hand, you have the apps who already worked all this out,” Wolfe said.

However, O’Connor said, it’s all worth it. “It might cost us the same or more but the customer experience is important to me and so is the quality of the food,” he said.

Wolfe said Drive Forward Seattle is pushing for changes to be made to the existing ordinance. They want the city council to change the minimum wage for app-based delivery drivers to about $22 per hour and 35 cents per mile for reimbursement.

“Right now demand has plummeted up to 50 percent if we can reduce costs we can bring that demand back and so more orders will come through and therefore more money for drivers,” Wolfe said.

As of now, there isn’t a set timeline as to when or even if the council will take up these changes for a full vote.

Regardless of if those changes come to fruition, O’Connor said he won’t have to worry about it at all. He’s charging a flat fee of $7.50 for delivery and has already hired some former app-delivery drivers for his team.

“I have a couple of drivers that used to drive for DoorDash and they wanted something more permanent that they could rely on so they came to us and came with experience which was helpful,” he said.

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