The SAQ is behind the competition in delivery, which does not prevent the multinationals from smelling a good deal. Uber Eats wants to become the state-owned company’s designated delivery person, we learned this week.
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The Silicon Valley giant wants to “explore the possibility of collaborating for the delivery of SAQ products to homes,” we can read in the Quebec lobbyist register.
Uber has registered Jonathan Hamel, its public affairs manager in Quebec, as a lobbyist for this mission.
Mr. Hamel was the director of parliamentary work in the office of Prime Minister Philippe Couillard from 2015 to 2018.
The multinational is dedicating a year to convince Quebec, because the period covered by these lobbying activities is from October 6, 2023 to October 1.er October 2024.
Jonathan Hamel declined to take the call diaryTuesday.
“Since 2020, Uber Eats has been supporting Quebec restaurants that want to deliver alcohol to their customers when they order a meal,” he told us in a brief written statement.
For this reason, adds the former employee of Philippe Couillard, that Uber “met the SAQ to share with them our experiences and explore the possibility of collaborating with them”.
The delay of the SAQ
SAQ deliveries are currently entrusted to Purolator, a Mississauga, Ontario-based company owned by Canada Post.
The public company promises 3-5 business day deliveries and only offers 10% of its products online, or 4,295 products out of more than 40,000.
SAQ.com represents only 3% of SAQ’s total sales to consumers. By 2022, they reached $93.3 million.
The state-owned company, which promises its new warehouse will be operational by 2027, refuses to say whether it plans to outsource delivery by then.
“The SAQ always explores the different options available to properly serve its customers. At the moment there is no collaboration with a third party on the table regarding the delivery of our products to homes”, says the spokesperson.
The example of Ontario
Nothing to stop Uber. In Ontario, Uber Eats has also been offering alcohol for the LCBO since last January as part of a pilot project.
Many restaurateurs and bar owners complained about unfair competition at the time of the announcement. While they need a license to sell alcohol, Uber doesn’t, they say.
This is the second time the LCBO has partnered with a delivery service app. In 2020, a partnership with SkipTheDishes was announced.
The project died suddenly, however, as the LCBO canceled it a few days later following criticism from restaurateurs and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
The local option already exists
In Quebec, the SQDC, which depends on the SAQ, already offers delivery in 90 minutes or less thanks to the services of Eva, which can be described as a local Uber.
The young company won the bid to deliver cannabis in 2022 against Purolator… and Uber.
It offers delivery throughout Quebec, whether in Sherbrooke, Granby, Mauricie or a small town in Saguenay.
Eva doesn’t sell cannabis like Uber Eats would sell alcohol. He just delivers it, and the customers are still SQDC’s customers.
“We would like to emphasize our continued interest in any opportunity to improve delivery services for various partners in the province,” says Eva CEO Dardan Isufi.