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How Meal Delivery Apps are Killing Your Favorite Restaurants

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Another local restaurant has bitten the dust, and food delivery apps are causing restaurants to go under instead of helping them stay afloat. “Online ordering does more damage to a business than it helps,” says the out-of-business sign at just-shuttered Gaslamp Cafe. “Any profit from the sale is stripped away by the fees they charge the restaurant, which leaves only enough to cover the cost of the food.”

Restaurant owners and employees tell us that apps like GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates are more of a hindrance than a help to their bottom line, and the delivery ethic is not particularly strong.

“We had to stop one of the drivers from taking the to-go food into the bathroom with him,” says Erin, a bartender at two local brewpubs that serve food. “Delivery apps are a new thing, but this new thing isn’t working well. People don’t realize what the back end of this is like.”

alberth2 via Flickr


News broke last week that Instacart and Doordash were stiffing divers out of their tips, and the backlash did at least cause Instacart to reverse that policy. Bur DoorDash and other apps still do keep drivers’ tips for themselves, and none of the apps allow for any tips to be given to the actual restaurant staff.

“There’s no way for the receiver of the food to tip the restaurant workers,” says Bethany, a server at a popular chain of San Francisco restaurants. She gets screwed out of tips every single shift, and the same goes for the back-of-the-house staff in the kitchen.

“I’ve actually overtipped [kitchen staff] from my own money on to-go food, because I know Manny got hit by this,” Erin tells us. “I know multiple servers who do this. Because we’re a family.”

That is a statement you will never hear from someone who works for a food delivery app.

“It’s not just tips to me, we tip our kitchen out,” Erin says. “You’re not just stiffing us, you’re stiffing my kitchen staff.”

Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr


We assume that these high-tech apps deliver food very efficiently. They do not! Delivery apps are far less efficient than just calling the restaurant delivery service yourself.

“I end up with a lot of food that sits forever,” Erin tells us. She recalls a typical delivery driver incident where a driver could deliver your food, but instead merely sits around the restaurant waiting for more orders to come in.

“The guy says, ‘Well I’m going to wait for that order to be ready as well’. I said, we have this food ready now. That food will be another 20 minutes. “So I now I have ‘Amanda,’ whose food is ready, but he sits there for another 20 minutes with ‘Amanda’s’ food in his hand waiting for ‘Roger’ to be ready.”

“Fifty percent of their bad reviews are ‘The food arrived late, it was cold.’” Erin says. “That has zero reflection on the business.”

Tater Tot Tom via Flickr


These complaints might seem like sour grapes coming from little restaurants who are not as profitable as the big tech apps. That’s not true. None of the delivery apps have ever shown a real profit, they just have a shit-ton of other people’s money to burn through. And their business model is costing restaurants money.

“I’ve had a few times where Postmates credit cards haven’t worked,” Bethany says. “That makes a big to-do, because the delivery driver wants the food but the card doesn’t work and you can’t give them the food. And they get angry at you.”

Helen Penjam via Flickr


Half the goddamn places on DoorDash, GrubHub, etc. already have delivery, and they do it better.

“If you call Supreme Pizza, who have their own delivery drivers, you’re directly putting your money into that business,” Erin says. “That guy brings that cash back and generally speaking they tip that amongst all of them. And your food is going to get there faster.”

It’s sad reflection on society that the best and brightest minds of our generation are not curing cancer or solving global warming, but instead developing the 200th completely redundant food delivery app.  The convenience of isolation comes at a great cost.

“It urges people to stay at home and disconnect from their community and society,” Erin tells us. “We have so many restaurants closing down. But when’s the last time you went to one of them?”

Food delivery apps are designed by messiah-complex techies who have never worked a food or beverage service job in their life. They do not care how many restaurants perish over their self-absorbed, money-losing ‘disruption’ fantasies. When you use meal delivery apps, you’re taking whatever meager profits local restaurants can cobble together, and sending it straight into the pockets of billionaire bros who refuse to pay their workers even minimum wage. People, that is delivery of the wrong kind.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.