Due to the vast amount of open shifts Foodora has been aggressively recruiting new couriers to its ranks. Because the demand for workforce is so high at the moment, the company has been speeding up the recruiting process by abolishing the test rides of courier candidates. But it’s not just Foodora, also Wolt is trying to cut the costs by abridging the introduction of new couriers.
Previously people willing to work as Foodora’s couriers would fill the application on the company’s website and then sign up for a test ride if they were picked. The practices have changed several times, in the beginning you’d be invited to an interview and introduction and then later do practice deliveries to see if you could handle the work well enough. Then later it was changed so that you’d follow your rider captain picking up and delivering tasks and they would show you how the applications work, where restaurants are and how you are expected to encounter restaurant staff and customers. You’d get an idea about how fast-paced the work is when you tried to keep up with your captain navigating through the city. Then came the “go from a to b and take a selfie when you get to the location” -option, which only measured the courier candidate’s ability to move fast enough from one place to another. Now the new couriers receive barely any introduction.
Wolt has been following this trend by getting rid of introduction rides that courier candidates took with senior couriers who would show them how to use the app, where some of the restaurants are and how to communicate with restaurant staff as well as customers. Now, just like at Foodora, there is only a video the new couriers watch and that is supposedly enough for training for work that requires skill, strength as well as understanding of the city plan and how to navigate there.
It seems that these companies are outsourcing the briefing to other couriers, perhaps short-sightedly expecting to save from costs and the precious worktime of the rider captains. New couriers are thrown into the field even without basic knowledge on how to use the applications, how to manage shifts, log in and accept deliveries, communicate with the dispatchers or even where and how you are expected to work. We see rookies constantly asking same questions in group chats about things that should be obvious to anyone who has received an adequate introduction to the work.
Adopting the mindset of a courier takes time. You need to memorize the routes, shortcuts, different practices in different restaurants, where to find the backdoors and elevators, which roads are good and which are bad, which routes to take to avoid traffic lights and which streets are one-way, where to park and how to avoid parking fees. Both cyclists and car drivers need to learn how to survive in terrible weather like we’ve seen lately. When people are asked to work from home, because the driving conditions are so bad, couriers are on the streets pushing through the snow and slush delivering food to those ones at the comfort of their homes.
To be a good courier it takes time, skill and motivation. It’s not something you learn by watching a 5-minute video.
These companies thrive on inequality. When the rate of unemployment is high and there are others who’s place on the job market is low, it’s a guarantee for companies like Wolt and Foodora to have a constant stream of new couriers coming in. The turnover rate in these companies is high and most of the couriers only work for a few weeks. Why bother to introduce them properly and motivate and support your couriers when you can just constantly hire new people? Surely this affects the quality of the service and delivery times, but who cares as long as the companies make money. When the money flow stops the companies migrate elsewhere