PITTSBURGH — A local restaurant is calling out several food delivery service apps, claiming their menu was hijacked and they’re being forced to participate in the take-out service.
It all came to a head with a heated confrontation this week between a GrubHub driver and a server at Union Grill in Oakland.
Samantha Davis said the GrubHub driver angrily confronted her when she told him they don’t accept orders from delivery services. They called police, and he eventually left, but Union Grill’s chef said they shouldn’t be forced to participate in delivery services.
“It’s my business. It’s how I chose to run it, and it’s the quality that I choose and I set -- not what they set,” said Victor Tome.
Tome told Channel 11 they deliberately choose not to participate because their food is best served hot and is not suitable for take-out, but repeated requests to be removed from the GrubHub website were not honored.
“They don’t care if you contract the restaurant or not. They’re gonna choose to represent you whether you like it or not," Tome said.
Websites like GrubHub, DoorDash and Postmates take menus from restaurants and post them, sometimes without permission -- which can cause issues.
For example, one of the menu items available to order from Union Grill on Postmates, the Carolina She Crab Soup, hasn’t been served in the restaurant for years.
Tome said it also reflects bad on them for discrepancies in what they get versus what they expect to get.
“(The) customer receives the order, and it’s nothing what they expect ... and we get the call back of the customer complaining to us that we messed up their order,” he said. “It definitely hurts our reputation. We’re getting calls and complaints and we rarely ever get complaints.”
Channel 11 received the following statements from food delivery services regarding these issues:
"We removed Union Grill Oakland from our marketplace on February 28, 2020.
Our mission since we were founded in 2004 has been to connect hungry diners with great, local restaurants.
We partner with more than 155,000 takeout restaurants in over 3,200 U.S. cities, and we provided nearly $6 billion in gross food sales to our local takeout restaurants in 2019, processing an average of more than 500,000 orders a day. The vast majority of our orders are and will continue to be from these restaurants we partner with.
Starting in late 2019 in select cities across the country, we’ll add restaurants to our marketplace when we see local diner demand for delivery so the restaurant can receive more orders and revenue from deliveries completed by our drivers. We work to provide accurate menus and hours for these restaurants on our marketplace based on available information online.
Historically, we’d only chosen to list partnered restaurants, and we still firmly believe this is the right way to build the marketplace and the only way to drive long term value for diners, restaurants and drivers. As other food delivery companies have chosen to list non-partnered restaurants on their marketplaces for years to widen their supply of restaurants, we’re now trying this strategy in select markets as a way to close the restaurant supply gap and drive more delivery orders to local restaurants. Because we know that partnered relationships are critical to the long-term success of this business, we’re aiming to convert these non-partnered restaurants to partnered restaurants – and we’ve scaled our restaurant sales organization – to create a better experience for drivers, diners and restaurants.
It’s our aim to bring the best delivery experience possible while balancing the interests of our diners, restaurants and drivers, and complying with all local laws and regulations in connection with our business. If a restaurant prefers not to be on our marketplace or needs to change any information like menu items or hours, they should reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll work as quickly as possible to make necessary updates or remove them."
"DoorDash was founded as a platform to help grow local businesses, and restaurants tell us that being on DoorDash brings them new customers and incremental revenue. While the majority of the merchants on our platform have partnerships with us, we will occasionally offer to act as a courier service for customers to restaurants in their neighborhood. This listing is at no cost to the restaurant, and orders are paid for in the same way that any other customer would. For those not interested in being on DoorDash for any reason, we remove them from the platform upon their request.
Restaurants can request to be removed here."
“Our customers rely on Postmates because we offer the most choice of any platform. We have great partnerships with restaurants large and small across the country and drive incremental business to them. In fact nationally, restaurants see an average 4X lift in sales when they are on the Postmates platform. With that said, in the off chance a merchant wants to be removed from the platform, all they have to do is reach out to us and we’ll remove them.”
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