An order placed through courier service, Glovo, was disrupted by KFC staff at the “centru” branch, as apparently the restaurant have an exclusivity agreement with food delivery service, hipMenu, owned by local company Cloud Treats Romania Sa.

The Glovo courier arrived to the customer, with a half-completed order, and informed that the order was not completed in full, because he worked for Glovo, and KFC only accept orders through hipMenu.

Despite numerous previous orders being fulfilled successfully, on this occasion, three items were being purchased, however, KFC only provided the courier with two of the requests, which later inconvenienced the customer. The explanation offered by the Glovo courier, was that the cashier was not able to sell them the rest of the order because of their agreement with hipMenu.

The order was purposely left incomplete by the KFC staff due to "exclusivity with HipMenu"
The order was purposely left incomplete by the KFC staff due to “exclusivity with hipMenu”

This incident raises questions with regards to EU competition laws and ensuring that no particular company has a “monopoly” for services or goods. It’s unclear, at this stage, whether or not this exclusivity agreement would breach the European competition law, which regulates anti-competitive conduct by companies to ensure that they do damage the interests of society.

When we spoke with a manager at KFC via telephone to check to see if they actually did refuse to serve the Glovo courier due to the hipMenu exclusivity agreement, Andreea, a KFC member of staff, confirmed that if you are a Glovo employee, you should not be served based on their terms with hipMenu.

The question was then asked, “what if you are a Glovo employee, and want to buy a meal or some menu items from KFC, would you be refused service because you are wearing a Glovo branded bag or uniform?” The response to this question, was, “yes, this is a possibility.”

After discussing this with KFC, we checked with hipMenu to see whether it would be a normal practice to request a restaurant listed on their website, to refuse service to a Glovo courier. The answer we received from the support representative was, that yes, they [the restaurant] have an exclusivity agreement with them, which ultimately means that no other courier service should be providing delivery services on their [the restaurant’s] behalf.

From a logistics point of view, it would impossible to prevent any one person from entering a restaurant listed on hipMenu’s website, which currently lists around 170 restaurants in Cluj-Napoca, purchasing goods and then transporting those goods from the restaurant to the consumer. This was something that even taxi drivers in Cluj have been known for and paid for in the past, but now there are dedicated food courier services, such as Food Panda, as well as hipMenu and Glovo.

There are concerns that this sort of agreement between an internet company, who are effectively an internet application / facilitation service, blocking the interests of consumers for their own financial gain, and although hipMenu offer delivery services which customers are usually happy with, the cost of those services can change at any time, preventing a consumer from then making a purchase through a more affordable or simply a more preferred platform.

It’s understood that the customers affected in this incident will contact ANPC – Autoritatea pentru protectia consumatorului (Consumer Protection) to understand how this affects their rights, and we will be contacting hipMenu and KFC for an official response with relation to this incident, and how this may conflict with EU competition laws. Updates to this article will be published in due course.

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