Between sluggish sales and strict indoor dining restrictions, New York City restaurants already have a lot on their plates. But now some are fighting yet another battle, with food delivery platforms the owners say are eating into their profits — even sometimes putting up fake menus on their sites.
Such a thing happened to Little Tiffin's Thai Home Cooking in Brooklyn, which said the confusing orders started coming on Saturday.
"Their delivery person came in and said oh, we're here to pick up the order from Grubhub," said Monurai Bhakbina, who works at the Greenpoint restaurant.
The owners couldn't figure it out at first, given that they deliberately made a decision not to sign up for Grubhub or Seamless because they said they didn't like the service. And yet, they discovered their information was on the app anyway. Customers had been placing orders, and never getting their food.
"I was angry and frustrated," Bhakbina said. The restaurant reached out to the food delivery app and got their information pulled, but were still wary about why it was even on there in the first place — and they're not the only ones with that problem.
Mossimo Laviglia owns L'industrie Pizzeria in Williamsburg, and said he's encountered the problem. He also has no idea how his business ended up on Grubhub, forcing him to post on Instagram to urge customers not to place orders using that site or others like Seamless, Doordash and more.
"We had a phone call the day after from a customer complaining about it and they didn't receive the food," Laviglia said. "It's just a shame for a multi-billion dollar company, they have to use the name of a small business to get money on it? That's incredible."
In a statement, Grubhub said "Starting in late 2019 in select cities across the country, we've added 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." The company added that other delivery platforms did the practice first, and they're only trying to create a "level playing field."
"Such a shame. I didn't think they would try to attempt to do this." said Bhakbina. "Just leave us alone. I don't want anything to do with your company."
Both restaurants are off the app now. Massimo said he knows lots of other restaurant owners in the same predicament, and he is urging them to speak up so the practice stops.