Pushing the door of L’Echappée, Johann smiles. The delivery man has just put his black racing bike in front of the front of one of the temples of street-food in the Mitterrand mall, in Rennes. At the counter, Pascale hands him a kraft paper bag containing the best burgers in the shop. Some sweets too, like a chocolate brownie and a cheesecake. The courier stuffs the package into his backpack and rushes north to downtown Rennes. On his back, this former top athlete displays no logo. Neither Deliveroo, nor Uber Eats, nor anyone. From the height of his 27 years, he made the choice to embark on the adventure of Coursiers Rennais with a handful of delivery men tired of being exploited by the big brands in the sector.
Launched in November 2020 with a single restaurant, the association has surfed on the success of take-out sales during confinements and curfews to make a name for itself in Rennes. The year 2022 opens
with 19 à la carte restaurants and 13 contract couriers. “Our idea is to be able to make a job out of it. Today, the platforms pay so poorly that they present it as additional income, ”explains Thomas Jacquelinet, treasurer of Coursiers Rennais. In the ranks of the association, almost all delivery people continue to work from time to time for Deliveroo, UberEats or others. Their dream? Free yourself completely from the quasi-monopoly of these delivery giants, who pay their couriers with a slingshot. “On the unit price of a delivery, we earn twice as much”, assures Hugo Bastit, one of the founders of Coursiers Rennais. Several of them had tried a few strikes but nothing really moved. “You’re just a number, nobody owes you anything,” slips Johann, before climbing on his two-wheeler.
If the association was able to take off in 2021, it is partly thanks to Covid-19 and episodes of curfew. But above all thanks to the mobilization of restaurateurs not really in tune with the practices of the delivery behemoths. “We have already had customers call us to complain about the status of their order. The dishes were bathed in soup, it was horrible,” says the very careful Vincent Le Bohec. The man created the Japanese restaurant Les Sakura six months ago and makes half of its turnover in delivery.
“The delivery men are so badly paid (2.63 euros minimum for a race) that they have no respect for the orders. I can understand it but I regret it. With the Coursiers Rennais, we never had a problem”.
The restaurateur continues to work with Deliveroo, UberEats or JustEat but rails against the 30% commission charged by the platforms. He is not the only one.
When he worked at the pizzeria La Tomate, one of the most famous in Rennes, Guillaume Perrault had been forced to deal with UberEats. “I hated the experience. The dishes, you never knew how they arrived. We quickly stopped.” Since then, the cook has opened his restaurant called Cibeles, in place of the starred restaurant Racines, which has moved. He chose Couriers for his deliveries. “The difference is that they take a fixed price for each order (4 euros) but as the average basket is higher, they are less greedy”, slips the restaurateur, who admits that “some delivery people have become friends” . “It’s a small team that knows each other, there is no big turnover. As a result, we keep a human side, ”continues François Rocul, boss of the Bibiche Club.
A war against scooters and cars
He, like all the restaurateurs we contacted, was seduced by the “ethics” of the concept, which aims to better remunerate delivery people. But also by the unconditional maintenance of delivery by bicycle, which many couriers deny who opt for the scooter or the car. “Cycling is our DNA. With us, no one would want to deliver by scooter,” assures Thomas Jacquelinet. Among the 13 couriers who are members of the association, only one evolves with an electrically assisted bicycle. “But that’s because he’s getting old,” says Johann with a smile.
After having imposed a minimum basket of 25 euros “in order to prove it to restaurateurs”, the Coursiers Rennais have just lowered the amount to 15 euros with the aim of attracting a younger population. “We know that we can capture another clientele,” assures Hugo Bastit. The founder has the ambition to structure the association and wishes to move towards a salaried status for its managers. For the time being, the deliverers will remain independent.