Food Delivery Apps? 'Let Them Burn'

'Food & Wine' writer says Grubhub, DoorDash are hurting restaurants with excessive commissions
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2020 12:45 PM CDT
Food Delivery Apps? 'Let Them Burn'
This Feb. 20, 2018, file photo shows the Grubhub app on an iPhone in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Few restaurants remain open for people to frequent during the pandemic, though many eateries continue to offer takeout and delivery options. And tapping into delivery apps like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash is an easy way to get meals brought right to your doorstep—though Khushbu Shah would be happier if you just deleted the apps altogether. Writing for Food & Wine, Shah details the "predatory" practices of these apps, specifically regarding the commissions they lay on restaurants, which typically range between 20% and 30%. That's in addition to the hundreds of dollars in initiation fees the apps charge restaurants to sign up in the first place. Plus, when customers see promotions for restaurants on the apps—say, a certain amount off an order placed during set hours—the apps pass that loss onto the restaurants, even though it's the apps' offering.

Add that onto how much the apps pay their delivery drivers—usually just $10 to $15 an hour—and a previous outrage is even worse now that the pandemic has made their jobs dangerous and thrown the restaurant industry into chaos, Shah writes. "As restaurants debate the moral dilemmas of keeping their staffs safe versus the financial dilemma of closing, as restaurants reckon with the fact that much of the industry was broken before this crisis, as restaurants figure out how to operate in a world full of unknowns, delivery apps should not be allowed to continue the same vulturous practices they deployed in a pre-coronavirus world," he writes. What Shah thinks the apps should do: Cap their commissions at 10% or less. And if they don't? "It's time to delete your delivery apps and let them burn," he writes. More from Shah here. (More delivery service stories.)

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