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‘Anticompetitive behaviour’ forces Bolt Food to close shop in South Africa

The ride-share company initially rolled out its food delivery service in Cape Town, servicing 800 restaurants on its app, and then ventured into Joburg. Picture: Supplied

The ride-share company initially rolled out its food delivery service in Cape Town, servicing 800 restaurants on its app, and then ventured into Joburg. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 20, 2023

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When Bolt Food launched in South Africa in 2020, it had to contend with the likes of Mr D and Uber Eats.

The ride-share company initially rolled out its food delivery service in Cape Town, servicing 800 restaurants on its app, and then ventured into Joburg. The City of Gold had 300 eateries and fast-food outlets to choose from.

At the time of its launch in the Mother CIty, country manager for Bolt Food in South Africa, James Townsend-Rose, told Business Insider that the roll-out yielded “outstanding results.”

“Restaurants and their customers welcomed Bolt Food’s affordable prices and quick deliveries, and we are excited to bring this solution to Johannesburg, and to other South African cities in the coming months,” Townsend-Rose told the online publication.

Three years later and the company finds itself at a crossroads after reportedly announcing that it would discontinue its food delivery service in South Africa and Nigeria, come December 8, 2023.

“At this time, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue our food delivery operations in South Africa due to business reasons,” a Bolt spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“The decision to exit this market is necessary to streamline our resources and maximise our overall efficiency as a company,” they added.

On top of that, Bolt said the anticompetitive behaviour in the food delivery industry was the reason for closing Bolt Food.

A spokesperson explained to Sunday TImes that certain competitors refused to allow some restaurants to deliver to customers on multiple platforms.

“Our submission to the commission sought to highlight challenges in the food delivery space,” Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar, head of public policy at Bolt, told the publication.

In an official statement sent to IOL Lifestyle, Bolt Food did confirm that they would be closing in SA.

“This means that our users will not be able to place Bolt Food orders through our food app from 8 December,” read the statement.

“We remain fully committed to our other verticals in the country and will continue to focus on delivering good quality services to our customers,” the company concluded.

In the meantime, X users have weighed in with their views, as well as TikTok account @superinformative which gave an informative breakdown of why Bolt Food decided to end its services in South Africa.

@superinformative Bolt Food recently announced it would be leaving the South African market due to anti-competitive behaviour. Will you miss Bolt Food? #boltfood #fooddeliveryapps #boltsouthafrica #tiktoksouthafrica #superinformative ♬ Epic Music(863502) - Draganov89

IOL Lifestyle