Wilmington restaurants frustrated over unauthorized listings on food delivery websites

Consumer alert: Beware of fake food delivery apps

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -With pick-up and carry-out food orders going through the roof during the pandemic, businesses like GrubHub, DoorDash and Uber Eats became household names.

You’d think that if your favorite restaurant was listed on a delivery site, that they’d provide that service. Lately though, local restaurants are finding delivery sites are using their restaurant names and menus without permission.

Sometimes, owners don’t know they’re listed until an order has already come in and the customer has paid.

”We found out when we had a delivery driver show up here to pick up food,” said William Mellon of manna Ave.

The issue in this case, is that manna doesn’t do takeout.

The restaurant’s whole philosophy is centered around a warm experience for their guests and specially crafted food and wine. Their farm-to-table menu changes each day and doesn’t lend itself to the take-out concept.

Ever since the first delivery driver showed up at manna, he’s been constantly dodging phone calls and emails of groups requesting an update to post online for their respective sites.

A few blocks away, Fork and Cork is also fighting the same battle, with staff checking each day to make sure they’re not showing up on the newest meal delivery service.

”They do perform a great service that I think is necessary and needed, I just think it needs to be clear to everybody involved,” said Fork and Cork owner James Smith.

With sites sometimes using outdated menus, publishing inflated prices, passing along incomplete orders and resulting in outrageous wait times, the delivery platforms are something many owners just don’t want to participate in.

Both owners agree the extra orders from the apps aren’t worth it if the quality isn’t there for customers.

“For me it’s a matter of the guests’ perception and the guest experience, and if that suffers, an extra dollar here doesn’t really matter to me,” said Smith.

At the end of the day, the owners want people to experience what their restaurants have to offer, they just want customers to know what they’re getting into when they use a third party service.

”The frustrating part about it is we the restaurant are the ones who get the bad wrap when the customer thinks they can get something from you and you can’t deliver it to them, despite the fact that we never agreed to do that,” said Mellon. “It’s sad because you’re not really given the opportunity or chance to convey that...communicate that to the guests because they’re hungry and they’re ordering food and they’re expecting the food to get there.”

GrubHub is battling a lawsuit, accusing the app of adding 150,000 restaurants without permission and telling drivers to pretend to be customers picking up orders.

WECT reached out to the company today for comment and received the following statement from a spokesperson:

“Our mission since we were founded in 2004 has been to connect hungry diners with great, local restaurants. We send over 680,000 orders to restaurants a day and restaurants have received $6 billion in sales from orders on Grubhub so far this year.

We partner with hundreds of thousands of restaurants across the country, and the overwhelming 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. This is a model that other food delivery companies have been doing for years as a way to widen their restaurant supply, and we’re trying it as well to close the restaurant supply gap created by our competitors.

We work to provide accurate menus and hours based on available information online, and 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 restaurants@grubhub.com, and we’ll work as quickly as possible to make necessary updates or remove them.”

Hey Y'all! We have been notified that Grubhub has listed us on their website without our permission. We have no...

Posted by Winnie's Tavern on Friday, November 6, 2020

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.