Forsyth County restaurants ‘put off’ by delivery app GrubHub’s tactics

Dutch Monkey Doughnuts said the store, off Atlanta Highway, offers in-store or drive-thru pickups for their products but don’t offer any delivery options. 

That made it a surprise when Dutch Monkey’s owners found out customers were getting deliveries of their doughnuts through GrubHub, a company that offers delivery services for restaurants that don’t usually deliver. 

Despite being contacted several times by GrubHub officials, Dutch Monkey owners Martin Burge and Arpana Satyu-Burge said the two businesses have never had an agreement and they didn’t know GrubHub drivers were delivering their food until hearing from customers and employees. 

“Every time GrubHub has contacted us, we’ve not answered them or just replied that we’re not interested, so it was really kind of bizarre,” Arpana said. “So, I clicked on the link and went to the GrubHub site and they have our logo, they have our full standard menu that used to be on our website with all of the pictures that we took for our website.” 

In a statement, officials with GrubHub said the company has partnered with 225,000 restaurants in 4,000 cities and “the vast majority of our orders are and will continue to be from these restaurants we partner with.” 

“Starting in late 2019 in select cities across the country, we’ll add restaurants to our marketplace when we see local diner demand for delivery so the restaurant can receive more orders and revenue from deliveries completed by our drivers,” the statement said. 

 “This is a model that other food delivery companies have been doing for years as a way to widen their restaurant supply, and we’re trying it as well to close the restaurant supply gap created by our competitors. We strongly believe partnering with restaurants is the only way to drive long-term value in this business.” 

The officials said both restaurants had been removed from the website and any restaurants can reach out to the company to have their page removed. 

Martin said one of Dutch Monkey’s issues was the website had shown products that were no longer offered at the restaurant.  

“Someone came to pick up an order and we were sold out,” he said. “We had no communication with anyone involving this, so it doesn’t make any sense to us.” 

Arpana said along with not asking, GrubHub had also increased prices, added service fees and used descriptions from Dutch Monkey’s website.  

“So what would be a $7 order in-store turns out to be a $13-and-change order when you have it delivered, which isn’t crazy, but we don’t have any agreement with them to use our logo or market our stuff,” she said. “All of the wording that they have on their site is the wording I put in our website; like it’s my words on their website, which just sounds crazy to me because we can’t guarantee how things arrive at people’s houses.” 

Dawn Hall, owner of Happy Belly Kitchen at Vickery Village, said she also had issues with GrubHub delivering her products without a deal, which soured her on doing business with the company at all. 

“Just for the way they chose to go about their business process, their business model, that put me off right away,” Hall said, “and I chose — it was like, I don’t want to do business with you guys if this is how it’s going to be.’” 

Hall said Happy Belly does use Uber Eats, a competitor to GrubHub, and may have considered going with GrubHub if not for the previous experience.  

“It was dishonesty on their part because they were misrepresenting themselves as being a vendor of ours, or however you want to say it, that we were working with them,” Hall said, “but that was a misrepresentation because we never agreed to work with them.” 

Both businesses also had concerns about another company’s employees representing them during delivery. 

“And we have no communication with the customer,” Arpana said. “I don’t know who they are, so we can’t even apologize or compensate them for something.” 

Arpana said she understands why other businesses use takeout services but didn’t think it made financial sense for Dutch Monkey.  

“Really our big beef with it is that we don’t want our regular customers to be disappointed in the experience they get from another service,” Arpana said. 

“Especially during the shutdown when everyone’s been trying to support small, local restaurants,” she added. “When they order from GrubHub or Uber Eats, they’re really not doing a great job supporting the restaurants because a lot of those checks are going to be losses for the restaurant [compared to dining in or taking out].” 

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