‘This can’t be real’: Grubhub promotion turns New York City restaurants into a ‘war zone’ | New York

  1. That's really interesting, do restaurants not have the ability to limit orders from these apps? I would have thought that there would be some sort of limit on availability. It seems like it would be super easy to get overwhelmed.

  2. The immediate thought I had was Dick Wolf is giving a bonus to the first one in the writer's room to churn out a script with this as a plot point.

  3. All the restaurants in my area simply turned off Grubhub/Seamless until the promotion ended. I was looking forward to the cheap meal, but I totally get why they'd just say fuck that.

  4. Back when I used to manage restaurants I’d turn off all the delivery stuff during peak hours. It got so bad, at some points I’d would have a full restaurant, plus an additional half restaurants worth of orders in delivery. My obligation was to serve the people actually inside the building, not a crappy delivery service.

  5. I live in the ass end of Brooklyn, and managed to get a burrito, but all my usual order places were closed too. When I went to the the Mexican restaurant it looked like the kitchen was absolutely slammed and there were 6-10 orders waiting to be picked up or delivered when I went to pick up my order. I can't imagine the chaos in the city!

  6. This is where having a good FOH manager or just manager who gives a fuck counts. Fuck GrubHub but also fuck any place that allowed their kitchen to get that swamped.

  7. My region is small, probably a half million people when you include the three adjoining cities. Once a local ice cream company decided to do a giveaway where they gave a free cone to kids 10 and under. Seriously nothing major. They ended up with a line of almost a thousand people who wanted their free ice cream (parents and kids, but still a lot of people).

  8. What's funny is they've done this promotion before and claimed to have modeled demand and prepared for the increase of orders.

  9. When someone is that clueless about what the result will be, I have to wonder how they got the job. This insane idea must have been made by someone fairly high up in the company.

  10. This. They did the “research” and found out 69% of New Yorkers skipped lunch so it’s safe to say that you should plan for this 69% to take part in the promotion. Which is a shit ton of people obviously lol.

  11. Yeah they talk way too much to that spokesperson guy after he makes it clear he is just going to spout bullshit. I understand trying to give them a bit of a platform, but man by the end he is just saying clear corporate nonsense. The kind of stuff I would rather a news journalist filter out of my life. It literally adds nothing to the story to continue giving time to this guy's complete nonsense. We already establish in his first sentence that Grubhub has their head in their ass on this issue and doesn't fully understand the kind of stupidity only someone working in a corporate office could accomplish that went into this situation.

  12. Why is it whenever someone says "no one could have anticipated" it's a situation where everyone would have anticipated?

  13. I’m came here to say this. The system needs to give the vendors a way to stop new orders when they can’t handle the volume

  14. I work at a restaurant, it can cause so much problems. We can be having a busy night and then all of a sudden 25 people decide to order grubhub food in like 15 minutes. It can flood the kitchen with orders that actually take longer bc you have to seal them in multiple to go containers and can double the wait time a person who came in to eat will have on their food. I’ll have guests asking where their food is and I can’t tell them my kitchen fell behind bc randomly a bunch of togo orders came in.

  15. Yep did the same when I was waiting to start a new job and was doing all the craigslist gigs. "Kelloggs has a new breakfast bar and you'll be the street team to get the feedback on how busy commuting New Yorkers have preferences and desires for their breakfast, be sure to ask questions to get more than yes or no responses", yeah ok.

  16. In college I was in an event planning club. I understood that they needed to get rid of everything to leave (people promoting products). So id take pictures prove they were there, then when I saw the crowds were dying down I'd tell them to give me what they needed to get rid of and they can go home.

  17. It's bizarre to me that medicine is a consumer product that needs marketing and promos and customers. Is there anybody that would turn down aspirin because it wasn't their preferred brand?

  18. I remember when Doritos was introducing Cooler Ranch and some other flavor/packaging stuff. They just set out tables of free stuff at a water park and gave it away. They didn't ask any questions, even told kids they could take as many as they wanted.

  19. She was “quarantining with COVID” but didn’t have any food so her solution was just to go to the grocery store. I’m guessing not a ton of thinking done on her part.

  20. Door dash and grub hub are the worst. I worked in a sandwich and breakfast place in college and they just stuck an old menu on their website. We never actually signed up for it so we would get call in orders from some random person who had never looked at the menu trying to tell us the price was wrong while sitting in a call center.

  21. I remember working at a Mac n cheese place my freshman year of college and we'd have driver for grub hub come in and say they have orders, thing is we didnt do grub hub. It got really bad that my manger called GrubHub and cussed them out.

  22. It was a great day when my state passed a law that third party apps couldn't just add your restaurant. DD had only been in our area for around six months, but it was hell before we got dropped off the app.

  23. Shit like this is exactly why I don’t do place and pay orders. Far too often they are businesses that didn’t agree to sign up to one delivery service or the other. The services take it upon themselves to add the restaurant so the others don’t have a leg up on them.

  24. That's the issue. Live outside the city and know exacy which restaurants around me were on seamless/grubhub. One day a year or two ago I log on and find that every single restaurant around me is now on except these restaurants have like $10 fees and the menus were all weird.

  25. Yup. They both did the exact same thing to my restaurant, and we had to jump through hoops to get them to stop trying to make orders. We eventually stopped doing take out altogether, but for a while they were calling us trying to make orders, we'd say no more GrubHub orders, bye, and then a driver would still show up 10 minutes later looking for it. Lol. And we could always tell who it was, because they would try ordering off a menu we hadn't used for more than 5 or 6 years.

  26. I worked at a tiny sandwich shop a few years ago when Postmates was just starting out. We were instructed by the boss that when we saw the Postmates name on the caller ID to simply dismiss the call.

  27. It was even worse before. They would list restaurants without informing them and then create a menu based on their prices with a premium attached for the service to skim off the top.

  28. Exact thing happened to my restaurant with door dash!! The reason till today, why we do not use delivery service. We were sick of people complaining to us about delivery being late or being wrong (because their call centre fucked up, not us). And delivery people coming in to pick up food within 5 mins of ordering when we gave them 40 min prep time and pestering us like we've done wrong.

  29. Also, their drivers are some of the worst in the city. They’ve made biking all but impossible in some neighborhoods. Near any popular restaurants there will almost always be a collection of cars idling in the bike lane and right lane with their hazards on. It’s terrifying trying to go around them when other cars are swinging around them like maniacs too.

  30. It’s just truly shocking that introducing a massive demand spike without ensuring adequate supply would cause a shortage. Who could have possibly seen that coming?

  31. Look, such a thing is unprecedented. Like maybe if we had experienced a demand spike coincident with a supply crunch within the last, say, two years or so, then maybe they could have foreseen this. But that would be ridiculous.

  32. The article says they did increase compensation to incentivize more drivers to come out. But the app kept glitching and that caused a lot of problems with orders disappearing and such

  33. ive been explaining to people i know for years one thing: buying shit on sale that you never intended to purchase isnt saving money because youre just spending money you never intended to spend.

  34. Supposedly they did to restaurants who were "in network" but I'm not sure how that was defined and if it was anything more than a line buried in an email.

  35. As restaurant owner I fucking hate grub hub and have hated it since it started. Always trying to get us to sign up to their program that I always thought was just asinine for businesses. They're also very obnoxious and annoying constantly calling us twice a day for a year because we refused to sign up with their service.

  36. Those fucks knew how many businesses would opt out of such chaos if they had been given the choice. They took the "better to apologize than ask for permission" approach.

  37. But being a middle man is the American dream! You don’t have to make anything but you get to take a huge cut like you had something to do with it. It’s just good business.

  38. I've tried using several of these apps, but it was severely cost prohibitive. A $20 meal was $40. No way was the food worth double. I just don't get how people can support this. Take Out Taxi in the D.C. area had a nominal fee, Grub Hub, Uber Eats, and Door Dash all seem to charge double or more, and people are ok with this?

  39. It is 100% for the top 10% of income earners to use on a regular basis, and for the poors who can't afford a car to use more than they should for food that doesn't help them. People in between either pay for the Pass in DD's case or wait for deals in the case of the others.

  40. Only worth it with a promotion, Uber Eats gives 75% off 3 or so orders periodically. I only wait for the promotions to use the app to order, otherwise it’s such a rip off.

  41. Heres an alternative theory: if they had done what you suggested they would have had to pay for a lot more meals. It worked out that they did their big promo and didn't actually have to cover very many - relative to the pool offered.

  42. Supposedly they did model expected demand based on prior years of this promotion and ramped up their drivers accordingly (though many businesses use their own drivers). This isn't the first time they've done the promotion. However the model was clearly very, VERY wrong.

  43. This reminds me of something a buddy said: Grubhub does not treat anyone like a customer. Restaurants, drivers, and us who order food are all seen as annoying groups interfering with the company's success.

  44. Restaurants are their victims. Reduced margins, mediocre food because most food isn't made to sit an hour before it's consumed. Even if someone is trying a new experience they probably won't repeat. They're a bane to the industry.

  45. That’s a great way of putting it. Because I’m GH’s eyes, they’re simply a “middleman,” and doing a favor for all involved.

  46. If they tell them most wouldn't participate. I run a couple restaurants and although the tablets(uber, doordash, grubhub) have become a part of the business, they are still very much an inconvenience and they are very pushy with getting their orders though. They'll start calling the restaurant if you dont confirm an order fast enough, send drivers with their app saying the order is ready and our app saying there's still 20min left to make it because we just got it.

  47. What were they expecting in one of the busiest cities in the World. They were trying to get office workers to not skip lunch and instead made restaurant workers miserable and everyone else frustrated. I feel bad for the Restaurant owners and workers.

  48. Some said that they actually lost money because people kept their orders under $15. It wasn't worth the effort they had to put in.

  49. NYC-based reporter who covered this story here. Grubhub told me that they forewarned operators ahead of time but I spoke with multiple reputable NYC based restaurant chains who are SUPER plugged-in and heard nothing (including Mighty Quinn’s and Fresh&Co)

  50. don't worry, despite putting an enormous strain on the restaurants they're already notorious for screwing over, it was all a "win win" according to an official GrubHub spokesperson.

  51. I'm a restaurant employee in the suburbs Virginia. GrubHub is the absolute worst to deal with. They show up in the middle of a rush and huff and puff at the end of my bar until someone brings their food out. Can't imagine this in NYC.

  52. Many popular nyc takeout spots will have like 10 delivery drivers hanging around the pickup spot.

  53. Having done delivery for Uber eats, it really does suck coming in and having to wait. I blame the rideshare companies though. If someone submits an order, they shouldn't send a driver whos across the street over immediately after. Yes that's difficult to manage logistically, but frankly that's the business they've decided to be in.

  54. I hate when I'm ordering takeout for myself and I get there, only to have GrubHub or door dash drivers force past me to their orders.

  55. This whole article is filled with baffling tidbits, from the decision to do this down to the woman who thought it made sense to pay almost $40 (!) for a Belgian waffle from IHOP.

  56. THANK YOU! No one else is bringing up that Belgian waffle combo. Did you see this part of the article later?

  57. From what I gathered…she was isolating with Covid…but then went to the grocery store anyway? Maybe I’m reading that wrong.

  58. It 100% has. People think paying 200% for food is more worth it than picking it up. Then people go ahead and ignore that the dollar menu at mcdonalds shouldn't be $10 for a meal.

  59. This is why I don't use these third-party delivery services. The restaurants lose money and get jerked around, the drivers barely get paid, and your food costs 10-20% extra after all the fees and price adjustments.

  60. Monday: Hey! I’ve got an idea, lets just make lunch completely free for, i don’t know, like 20 million people in a singular metro area!

  61. GrubHub, DoorDash, and UberEats business model doesn't work if they actually have to pay anyone. It's a scam business meant to attract shareholders who will invest to keep it afloat. It's nearly a Ponzi scheme for idiot investors.

  62. 6000 orders a minute generated! Over 450,000 orders received. The promotion was $15 dollars off orders during lunch time and crashed the system. NYC loves a bargain especially with $6 diesel

  63. Tell me you’re a tech company run by 20-30 year olds with no real work & life experience outside tech without telling me you’re a tech company run by 20-30 year olds.

  64. I can't speak for NYC, but here, that would at least offset the cost of having it delivered. You'd still pay about the same as if you'd gone to get it, but it saves you the effort. Might take longer though.

  65. I mean I I actually got my food and paid $6. Half tip half tax. I got taco combo from my favorite spot that were exactly $15. Ive paid full delivery price there before so I was happy.

  66. I considered ordering, but the only places that still offered delivery had hired out rather than in-house drivers, so the fees were pretty high. After the discount, I still would have had to pay $9 in fees, taxes and tips. Since that's was money I wasn't planning on spending anyway, it didn't feel like free lunch to me and I skipped it. But if you were able to pick up your meal, then you were only paying tax. Unfortunately picking up wasn't an option for me.

  67. I can't wait to see the Ask Reddit post from the employee who tried to tell them what a terrible idea this was and was soundly and repeatedly overruled.

  68. Restaurant manager here: these apps are the absolute scum of the industry. I'm always thankful I work for a company who refuses to do business with any of them.

  69. My local Chick-fil-A removed themselves from all delivery apps recently, no clue why all of a sudden but on the bright side, there’s actually parking for the dine ins

  70. This was such an asshole move. Just like that restaurant owner said, it threatened the reputation of all these restaurants and that could definitely effect their business in the future.

  71. It’s almost like grub hub and the entire gig economy concept is utter shit that has run rampant over the service industry while side stepping workers rights issues with a shrug and a “gig economy” buzzword.

  72. Good god man how are you going to put this kind of strain on restaurants without any warning

  73. Did they think the kitchens and delivery can just ramp up to meet demand like Amazon EC2 server?

  74. This same shit happened to me at a job working at a pizza place years back. Grubhub promoted free slices of pizza(we sold giant slices) , and gave us a week heads up that they were planning it, but dropped it on us day of that it was actually confirmed. We had 2 people scheduled to work that day and it was just a line out the door for my entire shift. The manager came in after an hour or so to help out, but he was fuming that nobody even told him about it. We shut off our grubhub tablets for probably 6 months after that debacle until the renegotiated our deal with them, and our GH "agent" was no longer in charge of the region.

  75. This reminds me of when my college introduced an order via app option. The kids who worked in the other dining halls complained (I washed dishes in the all you can eat one which wasn't on the app) because they would be crazy busy and the app orders would just keep coming and they would just, let the tickets pile up in favor of helping the people actually in line and it could take hours to get your food via the app.

  76. I used to go to one of the largest universities in the US, and one year they opened a brand-new Chipotle just off-campus. To help drum up business, they offered free burritos for the first two days it was open.

  77. I'm reminded of an incident back in like 2007 where a radio station held a promotion for free tickets to Six Flags over Georgia if you made it to the park before like...9 AM? It had I20 properly fucked all morning. Whole thing was a nightmare.

  78. I'll be the first to say it if nobody else has: I largely hate the gig economy. As a consumer, as a business owner, and member of the community. Uber/Lyft are the only ones that have created significant positive change for the industry they have disrupted, but even they have their drawbacks.

  79. Grubhub, Doordash, Ubereats are all bullshit. As a kitchen manager I hate them all. They take all the profit, and when they fuck up the onus always falls on the restaurant. I've had people call in saying their pizza arrived folded in half inside the box....WE got the bad review. I can guarantee you we didn't send out a folded pizza. Any decent restaurant denies them. They always use outdated menus on their site, we have people ordering specials we haven't had on for months.....and then leaving US a bad review for "false adverstising". So fucking stupid. We are literally becoming the future Wall-E showed us.

  80. Grubhub and all third party delivery apps are dumb. They're bad for the workers, the restaurant, and the consumer. If you're still ordering from them, please, please, please stop. When they try to add my places without consent, we first refuse to fill the orders and send the driver away, then I threaten to sue them if they don't remove us.

  81. Yes! Thank you. Many people don't realize that these delivery apps take 20% off the top for restaurants. "Good" margins for a restaurant are 20% so you are literally giving the little profit the restaurant would make to grubhub. Not to mention the start up costs to even get on these apps. Can be upwards of 10k to get all the computers talking and software set up. (Although my experience is with looking in to setting up instacart for a small grocery store, all of these apps work similarly).

  82. From the article, Chloe, who was quarantining at home with COVID decided to go to the grocery store for a can of soup when her GrubHub order didn't arrive. I don't think that's how you quarantine, but I'm no expert.

  83. Turns out that the piece if shit company that charges small restaurants with razor thin margins 25-40% of what they make is a piece of shit company.

  84. Off topic, but I find it pretty irritating that news articles, blogs, etc. tend to bury the little nugget of information you’re looking for somewhere in the middle of the story.

  85. Whenever I feel as though I'm not qualified to do my job, I just read stories like this that remind me that there are unbelievably incompetent people out there whose mistakes fuck over a ton of people, and then I think, "Okay, I'm not so bad."

  86. This just shows what a crappy service Grubhub is. That they didn't realize something of this magnitude would have to be carefully planned and prepared for, with the full participation of all restaurants involved, etc... All these delivery services are way too expensive anyway. Why are people using them?

  87. GrubHub couldn't effectively manage a promotion where the reward for ordering was a digital code for a video game emote. Their handling of my case in that scenario was so bad, I ultimately had my customer data and account scrubbed from their servers.

  88. Third party food delivery apps are never not garbage 100% of the time. They mark up food like 80%, restaurants get no say in it and can get overwhelmed making to-go food on top of dine-in food, drivers get butt flustered, make less on tips, customers waiting 2 hours for $15 of food that they're paying $40 for get butt flustered with the restaurant, third party delivery app still gets their cut regardless, shareholders happy, nothing changes until fat lazy scrubs stop using third party delivery apps.

  89. You'd think that GrubHub would have figured out by now that restaurants can't fulfill an arbitrarily large number of orders in an "average" amount of time.

  90. "no one could anticipate the level of demand and unfortunately that caused strain on some restaurants”

  91. Delivery apps are truly the worst thing that’s happened to food service workers. There’s no limits, I’ll have up to 25 orders on my screen sometimes with a full lobby and drive thru which leads to bad service for the ppl who actually got up and drove themselves there smh

  92. This type of crap is why my restaurant will never be available on Grubhub or uber eats etc. We use a local delivery service and only that one. I feel terrible for foodservice workers and owners that had to deal with this absolute shitshow. Grub Hub had better own it and make it right for those individuals.

  93. I guarantee you there was someone in IT saying “we are going to need a bigger backbone for this” and someone above them kept nixing it.

  94. This sucks and I hope there’s serious repercussions for GrubHub, workers already deal with enough shit. Who thought it would be a good idea to launch this in New York City

  95. Offering free lunch to 20 million people (ish?) made the system crash, and restaurants couldn’t keep up with the demand with no advance warning? I’m shocked! Shocked I say!

  96. Straight up predatory. They stole our menu and would send drivers with no knowledge that we didn’t receive their orders. They were understanding of the situation. We used to do deliveries in house but we lost a person so we suspended delivery temporarily. Apparently, Grubhub received many requests for delivery so they called my boss and basically said they will send us all this business for a commission. She told them to go fuck themselves and explained that the drivers are already in here anyway so she doesn’t need any help. It was so glorious listening to her explain to this marketing douche how they take advantage of small businesses, how we don’t need their help because we’re doing just fine, etc.

  97. Food delivery services are cancer. Additional fees, runner abuses. We used to call a restaurant and they had delivery guys run and tips were 100% for the runner.

  98. Hey, I'm sure nothing could go wrong if we do a huge promotion with no prior training or research on the effects it may have right?

  99. Did the article touch on how the $15 promotion barely covered entire cost of the meal? Hell, Grubhub’s fees alone were almost $15.

  100. They really should've done a staggered, controlled approach where a small number of people get the offer every day. This type of big bang approach is the stuff of nightmares for IT/IS people.

  101. The lack of forethought that went into this is appalling and shows just how disconnected from reality these "gig economy" companies really are. No respect for the restaurants, no respect for their drivers, no respect for their customers. Maybe if they had planned ahead with restaurants and made sure more drivers were ready to work that day this would have worked in a small city, but this would never have worked in NYC.

  102. The way online orders can slam restaurants is incredibly short sighted. There needs to either be a delay, time slots, max orders per hour, or any other kind of protective mechanism for staff who inevitably get an impossible to fulfill amount of online orders through these services.

  103. I'm all for a gig economy, that's how I pay my bills after all. But, these companies have been running free reign and they need some very real regulations or this kind of shit is going to keep happening, putting a huge amount of people's livelihoods at risk.

  104. GrubHub skips out on a potential tip to the workers at the restaurant and it usually goes to the delivery person instead. The restaurant I worked at in my city turned off GrubHub for this reason.

  105. Sweetgreen looked like a concert venue yesterday. Did a quick nope and walked out. I didn’t even know about the promotion. I just wanted lunch lol

  106. question doesn't grubhub allow restaurants to limit the number of orders that can be place at one time?

  107. This shit is absolutely hilarious. As someone who has worked in SV for a bit now I can absolutely see the techbro thinking behind this without a single consideration towards the kitchens. Peak CS right here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Author: admin