The Competition Council (the CC), in a survey evaluating the cooperation of "Wolt" and "Bolt Food" online platforms for ordering and delivering food and non-food products with restaurants, retailers, etc. cooperation partners, found that half of the surveyed companies have experienced unequal treatment on the part of platforms, so it is necessary for internet platforms to assess the conditions imposed on companies that may affect competition.

As of spring 2020, Covid-19 prevented catering establishments and non-food businesses from providing full on-site services, encouraging companies to seek alternative outlets. As a result, within national limits, for some companies "Wolt" and "Bolt Food" platforms are an indispensable distribution channel unless the companies themselves offer their own individual delivery services. On the other hand, the fact that the food delivery platforms "Wolt" and "Bolt Food" are most often chosen as partners seems to indicate that they have some significant market power and that other market players are not able to exert sufficient competitive pressure on these platforms.

Unequal treatment against the partners of the platforms

Although the information obtained in the study shows that 63 % of catering and non-food companies consider the cooperation with the "Wolt" and "Bolt Food" platforms to be very important and express satisfaction with the conditions of cooperation set by the platforms, a third or 29 % of companies indicate that they do not cooperate with the platforms because cooperation is not necessary or they are not satisfied with several conditions of cooperation, such as high fees for offering services on the platform.

Half or 50 % of the surveyed companies admitted to having experienced unequal treatment from "Wolt" and "Bolt Food". In the CC's view, certain conditions on the part of the platforms, such as permanent and long-term promotions, unilateral action by the platform to reduce the opening hours of the catering company or increase commissions, as well as demanding excessive fees, may lead to unequal treatment between companies.

Potentially, situations where catering companies and other platform partners are subject to an inadequate payment burden that is not balanced with the product's price being distributed, and commissions are a significant part of the order could have an adverse effect on restaurant operations.

Restrictions for companies to co-operate with multiple platforms

According to the results of the survey conducted by the CC - the platforms “Wolt” and “Bolt Food” tend to require entrepreneurs to cooperate only with one of the platforms, which may indicate the imposition of exclusivity conditions on cooperation partners. Market participants are obliged to evaluate such terms of cooperation in accordance with the Cabinet of Ministers 29.09.2008. Regulation No. 797 “Regulations Regarding Non-subjection of Certain Vertical Agreements to the Prohibition of the Agreement Specified in Section 11, Paragraph One of the Competition Law” to ensure that they are compatible with fair competition. In the opinion of the CC, other provisions included in the cooperation agreements aimed at restricting competition in the food delivery platform services market should be similarly reassessed.

Given the circumstances created by Covid-19 and the extensive restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and wide-range restrictions imposed on businesses, the duration of the exclusive supply obligation, which also does not exceed one year, can be considered as a significant market restriction for which there is no economic justification. The introduction of exclusivity rights reduces consumer choice and competition between platforms, of which supply charges are an important element. Regarding this and other conditions included in the cooperation agreements, the CC has sent notices to the owners of the "Wolt" and "Bolt Food" platforms to carefully assess and, if necessary, revise them to achieve the development benefits efficiency of competition.