Fellow Melbourne residents may have come across delivery drivers and/or vehicles sporting a yellow uniform and a large, yellow bag covered in nothing but Chinese writing. Melbourne has many options for food delivery, we have Menu Log, Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber Eats who each offer different services revolving around food delivery.
Menu Log encourages restaurants to offer loyalty programs to keep customers coming back, Foodora who only delivers from restaurants deemed by the company to be “the best” and includes places like 7/11 and venues that serve alcohol, Deliveroo allows you to track orders in real time and promises less than 30 minutes for each delivery and Uber Eats who ensures a 60 percent chance of your food getting delivered.
However, little is known about a new service that has been active since January of 2016 and has since expanded into Sydney in Australia’s Chinese stronghold. This is more than likely due to the fact that all advertisements outside of the internet for this business are in Mandarin as if to remain exclusive to the Chinese population. How is the average Australian, who does not understand the language supposed to look this company up and give them his/her business? Anyone who knows anything about marketing will immediately realise this as a bad idea.
After a quick search online, I managed to work out that the Mandarin on the back of the uniforms stands for Melbourne Delivery, seems simple enough even though as a journalist I am more obliged to do the search. I was greeted with a website that contained English language as well as Mandarin. Now We’re talking.
However, downloading the app brought an end to that ray of sunshine as the only English there was the location, with no traces of any options to edit the language settings.
Aside from the language breakthrough, the website does not give off very inclusive vibes. It advertises an “Unbeatable amount of Chinese Users” to potential restaurant clients which shows little interest in any other race or culture.
What’s also strange is their recruitment form. They prefer you to have a referrer and ask you to pick one out of about 20 names. They also ask applicants if they are fluent in Mandarin. Why should that matter? We are in an English-speaking country after all, shouldn’t English be more important? I guess not. Users can pick either yes, no or average to Mandarin fluency. I wonder which answer is the correct one? After all, if it didn’t matter the question would not be asked in the first place.
Through these elements of the website, we can safely assume that if you are not Mandarin speaking or Chinese born your employment chances are slim with this business.
I’m not going to go into a discussion of ethics here but I am going to pose a question. If a hypothetically Australian was to go into China with a business that advertised exclusively in English and hired only Australians, only marketed to Australians and only did business with other Australians, what would be the reaction? Publicly, in the business world and politically?
Also, what does this say about our immigration policies? A business that is able to alienate the main demographic of the country its serving in and only cater to one single racial demographic and not only survive but be able to expand nationwide.
Either the Chinese are phenomenal at doing business or our immigration is getting slightly out of hand. How many more businesses will be able to start doing things like this? Melbourne is already home to many Chinese restaurants, phone shops, internet cafes and various other walk-ins that have no English in sight and with more and more people from the orient immigrating here these types of businesses and the demand for them will only grow.
This begs a question of what the future will hold for Chinese business in Australia? Will young Australians have to start learning Mandarin in order to increase their employment chances in their own country? Or will they just have to be born Chinese?
I’ll leave you with that. Stay tuned to see which one of my applications get through: The one sent in by Morgan Munro who doesn’t speak Mandarin or the one by Lewis Cheng (Journey) who is fluent.