Wary of third-party delivery, some restaurateurs say, ‘It’s a parasitic relationship.’

Dinette in East Liberty may specialize in gourmet pizza. But don’t try to find the menu on a delivery app such as DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub or Uber Eats. 

Unlike an increasing number of casual restaurant owners in Pittsburgh, Sonja Finn is fending off food-delivery companies because they undercut the very reason she opened Dinette.

…Convenience comes at a cost. Delivery companies like DoorDash may tack on an upcharge — like $1.35 onto the $4.15 price of a venti latte at Starbucks — plus a $3 to $6 delivery fee. Then there’s a tip for the driver (but no tip for the restaurant or server). Uber Eats imposes surge pricing at peak times: On a Monday night order through Uber Eats, for example, an $18 food total increased to $24 before tip.

But higher prices don’t just hit the consumer: They affect the restaurant, too, with companies like Uber Eats and Grubhub charging restaurants between 25 and 30 percent of the cost of each order. Some restaurants’ delivery menus list prices that are higher per dish than dining in to cover these extra charges.  

…So while delivery might pull in a few more dollars profit, “we can’t control the food, the quality, and the time it takes to get there,” she said. “So when things don’t go well, it reflects badly on the restaurateur.”

She also believes that delivery apps have created a “parasitic relationship” with restaurants.

“They’re feeding off me to make their money, but I created the main thing,” she said.

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