Generally speaking, restaurant phone numbers you find on Yelp are the entity’s actual, real-world phone number. But there’s also a way to dial the wrong number for a restaurant, which connects you through Grubhub and allows the company to claim referral fee for anything you might then order.
…Why the confusion? Because when you go through the Grubhub “Delivery or Takeout” option, Grubhub can then claim the referral and take a “marketing cut” based on your order. Are they doing any actual work? No. They just own the phone number that’s routing you to the restaurant in question. It’s a scam—one that affects your favorite restaurant more than you, since they’ll be the ones giving the cut to Yelp partner Grubhub.
Here’s what a Grubhub spokesperson had to say about the setup, when asked by Vice to explain what was happening:
“It is important to keep in mind that we are a marketing platform and, in almost all of these cases, the diner would not have discovered or placed an order with this restaurant without our platform. The order is the result of our marketing efforts.”
Right. Grubhub isn’t even taking a commission based on a percentage of the actual phone order itself. All it can do is scan the calls to determine whether an order was placed; it then takes a commission based on the average of a restaurant’s “last six non-phone orders,” Vice describes.