Windsor-Essex restaurant ordering app Jubzi says farewell

Thanos Zikantas, founder CEO of Jubzi, says the food delivery app has been officially shut down.  (CBC - image credit)
Thanos Zikantas, founder CEO of Jubzi, says the food delivery app has been officially shut down. (CBC - image credit)

Jubzi, a Windsor-based service that allowed customers to order from restaurants through an app, announced Thursday that it is shutting down.

Jubzi chief executive officer Thanos Zikantas delivered the announcement through a Facebook video.

"We did our absolute best, but there was no way of saving it," he said.

Zikantas, who also owns Sofos Restaurant, created Jubzi as a way to help local restaurants skip the extra fees other delivery apps tack onto orders.

Jubzi also donated a percentage of every sale to charity, notably the Downtown Mission.

"About one in four people have used Jubzi Windsor-Essex, and this is a brand that is known for being socially responsible and doing something really, really good in our community," Zikantas said.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

Rising gas prices led to pick-up only service

The app stopped providing delivery in August due to the rising cost of gas and lack of drivers, instead offering only pick up service.

"The high gas prices made it super difficult to retain drivers, and when we focused just on pick-up the business began to unravel,"  Zikantas said.

Wendy Mejalli-Golevski co-owns Cheecho's Sandwich Shop on Ottawa Street. The owners are friends of Zikantas and have had the shop on Jubzi since the app was launched.

"We decided that maybe it was a good idea to have Jubzi as one of our delivery services," she said, adding that she liked that some proceeds of sales through the app went to charity.

Mejalli-Golevski said additional charges by Uber Eats and SkipTheDishes meant she had to raise her prices by 20 to 30 per cent on their apps.

On the Jubzi app, she was able to charge menu prices.

When Jubzi became a pick-up only service, she said only one of her customers continued using the app. She said other customers were "disappointed and confused" that Jubzi stopped offering delivery.

"You could only pick up, but you're still paying for the service and the five per cent, which is the same as coming into my shop and ordering," she said.

Hopes for the future 

Mejalli-Golevski said she hopes Jubzi can make a return in the future.

"I would really like to see that particular app come back," she said, adding that the Jubzi delivery drivers were always courteous, professional and on time.

While the app is gone, Zikantas said this might now be the end of Jubzi.

"Although this is the end for now, there might be a new beginning in the future. Keep your eye out for Jubzi," he said without elaborating on what that future might entail.

He also wanted to show his appreciation for the community he created Jubzi for.

"On behalf of the entire team, I wanted to thank everybody for ordering from us."