Victoria restaurant owner Maryanne Carmack plans to bring together others this week to discuss non-payment from food delivery service Tutti and examine their options.
“I think just reaching out to the others is something that I will be doing this week to see what we can do collectively as community business owners — to kind of come together and be on the same page,” Carmack said Tuesday.
Carmack owns three restaurants at Victoria Public Market in the Hudson building on Douglas Street. Tutti owes Roast Meat and Sandwich Shop, La Pasta La Pizza and the Taco Stand a total of about $6,000, she said.
They will be able to continue operating, Carmack said.
Carmack said she has sent numerous emails to Tutti, owned by Kavl Technology Ltd. In a recent reply, she was told that her concerns had been passed on to the chief executive, she said.
Kavl chief executive Kaisa Aierken could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Tutti started in 2017 and appealed to restaurants because it served locally owned businesses and charged lower rates than bigger delivery services.
Under its business model, restaurants paid eight or 10 per cent to Tutti for delivery, far less than larger players in the sector. The company collects payment for the meals and is to pass on those funds to the restaurant or food outlet minus the percentage charge, along with a financial statement.
Tutti expanded its service to eight communities including Nanaimo, Kelowna and Kamloops.
But last week, a group of Greater Victoria restaurant owners said they had not been paid regularly for several months.
Restaurant and food outlet owners say they are talking publicly to prevent others in their sector from losing money. The local food service industry is a close-knit group, Carmack said.
Cliff Leir, who owns two Fol Epi bakeries and the Agrius restaurant, said he is owed about $4,000 and has contacted Tutti numerous times. After media reports, “it was amazing to see how widespread the problem is and how it has been going on for a while,” he said.
He’s not sure about next steps, but is considering small claims court.
Cold Comfort Ice Cream Shop’s owner said she is owed more than $4,000 and the owner of Soupa said he is owed money, but did not want to say how much.
Paul Hadfield, owner of Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and Guesthouses and of Spinnakers Spirit Merchants, said he is also owed money. He declined to say how much.
J & J Wonton Noodle House has filed a case in the Supreme Court of B.C. stating it is owed $220,000 by Kavl and Aierkin. On June 23, a justice granted a garnishing order for $197,000, which is to be paid into an account held by the court pending a decision on the matter.