As restaurants continue to cope with the many changes affecting them amid quarantine, patrons are being encouraged to order takeout or pick-up — especially from small, local establishments — to help keep them running.
But Giuseppe Badalamenti, the owner of a small Chicago pizza joint, posted a photo on Facebook that might make you wary of ordering through a third-party — at least if your goal is to help support your favorite local spot.
“Stop believing you are supporting your community by ordering from a 3rd party delivery company,” Badalamenti wrote.
The screenshot shows that Badalamenti’s restaurant, Chicago Pizza Boss, processed 46 orders in the month of March through the Grubhub app. The eatery made $1,042 in sales on those orders, but due to Grubhub’s commission rate, Chicago Pizza Boss only earned $376.54 of that total.
The post exploded on social media, with more than 2,000 shares and hundreds of replies.
Badalamenti’s comments were a shocking revelation to commenters, many of whom were confused about why Grubhub received a delivery fee from customers and a delivery commission from restaurants.
“How is this even legal?” one commenter asked.
“That’s legal robbery!” another person said.
Others wondered why, if this was an open secret in the restaurant world, they often see advertisements for third-party food delivery sites inside of the restaurants.
“Restaurants initially view it as a necessary evil,” Badalamenti explains. “As consumers are drawn to the platform, companies feel they have to use 3rd party to compete or their customers will forget about them.”
In other words, in order to stay relevant in the customers’ minds, restaurants will reluctantly join third party sites like Grubhub for extra advertising.
“Unfortunately it is a necessary evil,” a fellow restaurant owner commented in agreement. “If you choose not to, you are surely losing the business to your competitor. Some of your competitors are even paying more to be listed higher in the results. The companies have trained the consumer to use them.”
When customers asked what they could do to help, Badalamenti said that calling the restaurant directly is the best way to go. He added that it’s even to call and order for a pick-up instead of delivery.
“I have used GrubHub and DoorDash in the past but never again,” another person replied. “I had no idea how much the restaurant gets shorted. When you know better you do better.”
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