English YouTuber Josh Pieters has trolled the food delivery service industry by setting up a bogus restaurant on Deliveroo and then sending out microwave meals, which he bought from his nearby Waitrose supermarket, from his kitchen.
The set up was a lot easier than Pieters thought, he claims it took between two and three weeks to set up his bogus restaurant ‘The Italian Stallion’.
“Not that we were constantly doing stuff throughout that time,” he told Time. “It was obviously just a lot of back and forth making sure everything was right and then getting us signed on, waiting for the tablet to arrive and all that kind of stuff.”
It appears in the video that Pieters is told on the phone that he can operate without a hygiene rating as long as he puts in an application for an inspection.
Then once the fake kitchen is registered, Pieters flags a discount on the menu. The orders came in pretty quickly, five in total. Once the order came in, Pieters then had to run down to the local supermarket, purchase the meal, bring it back to his kitchen and microwave it, all within the 15-minute window Deliveroo allows for meal preparation.
“We weren’t sure how it was going to work,” he said. “At first we thought we might have to have the restaurant open for a week and get as many orders as possible. But as soon as we turned the discount on that night all of a sudden we got loads of orders. I mean, it was only five, but it felt like loads because we were running up and down to get the food.”
Without wanting to make the customers the butt of the joke, Pieters reimbursed them with the price of the meal and the delivery cost by placing cash in the bags. It turns out that the customers were far from turned off by the microwave meals they received.
“We got feedback from two customers who said that the food was great,” Pieters says. “They were also thankful because we put back the amount of money in the delivery bag that the people had spent because we didn’t want to be ripping people off by charging them like £10-£12 for a meal even though we were buying the meals for a lot less.”
For those who have been lamenting the rise of food delivery services, the appearance of ‘ghost restaurants’ and the negative impact they’ve had on the restaurant industry, from lower footfall, to staff retention issues, it raises some potentially worrying issues.