It’s Time to Place Orders Again Directly From Restaurants

One of the many problems you are stuck at home during this pandemic is not knowing the best ways to help local businesses that we love and depend on. Take, well, takeaway: we have been instructed to order takeaway and delivery from our favorite restaurants, especially small family businesses, to ensure they generate at least some income while their canteens are closed during this strenuous period. distancing. And while this is a great plan, the extent to which you help them depends on exactly how you place the order.

Problem with third party delivery platforms

Over the past few years, many of us have gotten into the habit of ordering food through third-party delivery apps like GrubHub, Seamless, or Caviar. And over the past few weeks, you’ve probably received a steady stream of emails from these companies trying to lure us in with promotions like Dinner Support, where GrubHub users get extra discounts on ordering food at local restaurants during certain hours. … At first glance, this seems like a great idea: to maintain business in your favorite restaurants and get cheaper food? Yes please.

But not so fast: as it turns out, these discounts are related to restaurant profits and are certainly not altruistic actions that third-party apps want you to believe in.

Let’s take a look at some numbers. Susie Cagle, a reporter for The Guardian, recently wrote in a Twitter account GrubHub of Chicago Pizza Boss, which accurately indicated where your money goes when you are using a third-party application and use its promotions. (Spoiler: This isn’t about restaurants.)

Unfortunately, this is not a new situation: we have written for a long time about how ordering food through third-party applications harms local restaurants . The difference is that people are ordering more shipping now than ever before, and perhaps because of the misperception that they are helping the business stay afloat without being aware of the shady application practices. On top of that, restaurants can no longer offer table service altogether, and since pick-up and drop-off account for 100% of their orders, they may feel like they cannot afford to remove themselves from these third-party service lists.

For example, as Baba’s Pierogies in Brooklyn recently explained in an Instagram post , the restaurant has spent over $ 20,000 on third-party platform interest fees since January 1, 2020. So why did they join at all? And this is also explained:

We had no choice, we gave in. The revenues from these platforms have impacted our business and, I’m sure, many other New York businesses. Like other business colleagues, we never liked the partnership, but we agreed with it. Now, during this crisis, which is truly holding the industry hostage to third-party platforms, we are even more aware of the amounts of money we withdraw from our account just to have our name on their site. We prepare food and deliver food. It seems unfair because it is.

Yes, this is all pretty grim, especially if you thought you were really doing the right thing by ordering through these third-party apps, but there is something you can do to help.

Order directly from the restaurant

By ordering food straight from the restaurant, you ensure that they make a profit on the sale. Remember when everyone in the kitchen had a drawer full of take-out menus and other miscellaneous junk like pens, duct tape, and rubber bands? Well, it’s time to resurrect the menu drawer – at least in some form.

But couldn’t you just open GrubHub and browse the menu and find a phone number to call and order food? While this sounds great in theory, in practice third-party sites can provide their own restaurant phone numbers – which means that if you call to place an order, it still goes through their platform. The app uses this as an excuse to receive a commission even if your order did not go through their website or app, as it “proves” that the transaction was initiated there.

This is where the good old paper menus come in – or at least jump directly to the restaurant’s own website. This eliminates the middleman entirely and ensures that your favorite local eatery gets the most out of your order.

In the same Instagram post, Baba’s Pierogies announced that they have set up a link on their website that allows customers to place orders directly with them for delivery or pickup. It also allows you to pay online, so delivery / pickup remains contactless. Other restaurants have done the same, so check to see if there is an option before ordering.

And if you don’t like clutter or papery menus, just take a picture of the menu and save it to your phone or to a special folder on your computer. The bottom line is to put in the tiny extra effort required to order directly from the company you are trying to support. This can mean the difference between keeping them open and leaving before you can dine there in person again.


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