You’re probably familiar with the Grubhub food delivery app. You pull it up, find the food you want, and Grubhub connects with a local restaurant to get it to you. Simple, right? Not always, says Philadelphia restaurateur Munish Narula, founder of the Tiffin chain of Indian restaurants, which now boasts 12 locations in the Philadelphia area.
The Wharton graduate, who “sparked Philly’s Indian explosion” with his Tiffin concept, has filed a class-action lawsuit in Philadelphia’s federal court against Grubhub. He is demanding at least $5 million over what he calls a “scheme” involving “sham telephone orders.”
The thing is, points out Narula’s lawsuit, the phone number listed on the Grubhub app is not actually the restaurant’s phone number. We checked the Grubhub landing pages for several Philadelphia restaurants and, sure enough, a different number is listed than the one registered to the restaurant. When you call the number on the Grubhub landing page, the call is rerouted to the restaurant’s own phone number, and you have your conversation with the restaurant directly. Grubhub has no involvement.
The complaint at the center of Narula’s lawsuit alleges that Grubhub has, for years, been charging commissions on those phone calls that are routed through Grubhub, without his knowledge, even if the phone calls don’t result in a customer placing an order.