Delivery charges applied, of course.
Judging by all the bikes and scooters with their logo I sees whizzing around town, Uber Eats has found a healthy market in Japan, especially now that more and more people are turning towards home delivery to eat.
However, many users in Japan might not be aware that way at the bottom of the McDonald’s menu screen lies the notorious “free smile” often seen on their in-house menu.
It serves its purpose of creating awkward situations between customers and staff in restaurants quite well, but how well does it translate to home delivery?
As we found out before, using the McDonald’s delivery app, users are given the option of an additional free smile at the checkout. If selected, a happy face and message will be drawn on the bag.
However, Uber Eats is different in that the smile is positioned as a regular menu item, meaning you don’t need to order anything else in order to order it.
Probably they assumed no one would be silly enough to order just a smile. Luckily, freelance writer and Twitter user Yusuke Yamano (@yamanoyy) was here to prove them wrong, and decided to find out by ordering nothing but a free smile through Uber Eats one day.
“When I asked for a smile from Uber Eats, the order went through normally, and all I got was a 390-yen paper bag.” (Photo)
While the smile itself was free, Yamano still needed to pay for the delivery which in this case amounted to 240 yen (US$2.21). On top of that, since his order of a free smile was under 700 yen ($6.45) an additional 150 yen ($1.38) delivery fee was applied for a total of 390 yen ($3.59).
This is of course poor cost performance by most smile indexes. Apparently, Yamano failed to notice that there’s an option to order multiple smiles, as another Twitter user demonstrated.
“Or, if you ask for a lot, they’ll draw them all out properly. I asked for 21 smiles and they put all 21 on the back of the bag. I kind of feel sorry for doing that to the staff…”
Other Twitter users were impressed and curious about this fast-food experiment.
“Wow, he got the legendary ‘free smile to go.’”
“Seems like a rip-off to me.”
“That’s good customer service.”
“Was the smile from the delivery guy? If it is can you complain and demand one from the girl at the counter?”
“That delivery guy was lucky.”
“What an annoying customer lol.”
“McDonald’s lost money on the bag, Uber Eats had to pay the labor cost, and the customer paid 390 yen for a paper bag. The driver is the only one who came out ahead here.”
“Thank you for doing what I always wanted to but couldn’t.”
“It would have been even better if McDonald’s covered the delivery charge for a truly free smile.”
I think McDonald’s paying for delivery would have set a very dangerous precedent. Speaking of which, checking my own app, there appears to be no upper limit to how many smiles you can order. I tapped it up to 2,018 smiles before my hand started cramping up.
But the app booted me out of that request automatically when I attempted to enter the checkout.
The other person got 21 smiles though, so there must be some kind of cut-off. Using my now arthritic wrist, I managed another 174 smiles.
It worked! And since I had a 50% coupon, I’d only have to pay 125 yen ($1.15) for them all.
But having written about them so many times over the years, I know a potential obstruction of business charge when I see one, so I McChickened out and cancelled the order.