A recent report claims that delivery apps such as Seamless, GrubHub, and DoorDash are listing restaurants on their services that don’t even offer takeout options.
Eater.com reports that Silicon Valley delivery apps such as Seamless, GrubHub, and DoorDash have been listing websites that don’t offer takeout options on their platforms. Eater notes that the Michelin-starred San Francisco Thai restaurant Kin Khao received a phone call one day from a customer asking about the status of their online order, the customer was informed by Chef Pim Techamuanvivit that the restaurant doesn’t deliver, “we don’t even do takeout,” the chef said.
The customer stated that they had placed an order through Seamless from a business under Kin Khao’s name and address, Techamuanvivit googled the restaurant’s name and discovered that it had been listed online without her knowledge or consent. The restaurant had been listed across multiple delivery apps including GrubHub, Seamless, and DoorDash, an “order now” button had even been added to the restaurant’s Yelp page which linked to DoorDash.
As a series of public complaints and lawsuits in recent months has shown, that practice isn’t entirely new: Several delivery services, including Postmates, Seamless, Grubhub, and DoorDash, offer food from restaurants without their explicit permission. The delivery apps pull up restaurant menus listed online, from which customers make their selections, and couriers working for the apps place orders on their behalf. The process essentially inserts third-party apps as middlemen into a service many restaurants say they want control over, or wish to opt out of entirely.
This, however, was different. The Kin Khao showing up on all the delivery apps wasn’t Techamuanvivit’s Kin Khao at all. “I looked at the menu, and my [restaurant] name, and the address, and thought, what the hell is this?” she says. Instead of Kin Khao’s popular dishes, like mushroom hor mok terrine with crispy rice cakes, this menu showed dishes like pad thai, fried noodles, and Vietnamese pho. The customer, who had recently enjoyed dinner at Kin Khao’s sister restaurant Nari, told Eater he specifically checked for Kin Khao on Seamless and found the listing. It seemed too good to be true, he admits now: For one thing, the prices were pretty low, and he didn’t think that Kin Khao did dishes like fried noodles, but he shrugged off those concerns. Shortly after placing his order, he got a text from Seamless reporting it had been “delayed.” Eventually, he called the restaurant directly. “We were both really confused,” says Techamuanvivit.
DoorDash blamed the issue on a “clerical error” in its system which confused the Michelin-starred Kin Khao with a new “virtual restaurant” called Happy Khao Thai which does not yet serve food and was prematurely listed on the service. GrubHub, which owns Seamless, stated that it had made the same mistake.
Read more at Eater.com here.