Techamuanvivit’s tweet went viral this weekend after an unusual encounter she had with a ‘customer’ who was waiting for his delivery.
While managing the floor in her Kin Khao Thai restaurant in San Francisco, Techamuanvivit took a call from someone inquiring about their food order, which they said they placed on Seamless, 45 minutes earlier.
Confused, Techamuanvivit explained that her Kin Khao restaurant had never been on Seamless, doesn’t do food delivery or even takeout. She then went online and had a look at Seamless, where she found a fake profile for her restaurant doing food deliveries. Someone was using her restaurant’s name to take orders and fulfil deliveries and not only on Seamless but on Grubhub too.
What is more, the food delivery widget also appeared on the legitimate Yelp page for her Kin Khao restaurant (since removed) as well.
Chef Techamuanvivit is a Michelin starred, world-leading Thai chef. Needless to say, Techamuanvivit is not best pleased and is planning litigation. It’s not the first time that Grubhub’s (the parent company of Seamless and other delivery platforms), practices have come under scrutiny.
Last year New Food Economy reported how Grubhub was allegedly buying up as many as 23,000 domains of restaurants or similar to restaurants who were either on the platform or vying to get on the platform, in order to create landing pages for the official businesses, complete with online ordering form, despite the sites having nothing to do with the restaurants themselves.
Restaurant owners complained about the practice, saying that Grubhub was leading customers to believe they were ordering directly from restaurants to help businesses avoid paying fees to Grubhub.
According to The Verge, Grubhub charges anywhere from a 3 to 15 per cent commission fee "depending on whether a restaurant provides its own delivery fleet. However, if a customer orders from a restaurant using Grubhub’s “marketing” tactics, whether through an app search or these unassociated websites, Grubhub can bill for an additional 20 per cent commission on a single order.
Naturally, Grubhub denied any wrongdoing saying they created the shadow websites "as a service to our restaurants, we have created microsites for them as another source of orders and to increase their online brand presence. Additionally, we have registered domains on their behalf, consistent with our restaurant contracts. We no longer provide that service and it has always been our practice to transfer the domain to the restaurant as soon as they request it."