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Boston officials to restaurant delivery companies: Do something about your fees or we'll do it for you

Small Business & Workforce Development (Docket #0663)

Several city councilors and an aide to Mayor Walsh put delivery companies on notice today: Do more to help out restaurants and consumers by curbing fees during the pandemic or the city will impose fee caps as is being done in other cities.

An official with Grubhub - the only one of the four main delivery companies to agree to participate in a City Council hearing today - cautioned that if Boston wants a legal fight, it will get one, and besides, making the companies cap fees would actually increase consumer costs.

Several councilors accused the delivery companies - Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats - of essentially screwing restaurants that didn't do delivery before - restaurants the councilors said had had their knees knocked out by the closure of their dining rooms and are now losing money on deliveries made through the companies. They warned that without help on fees, restaurants might be forced out of business altogether by the fees.

"We're in a pandemic, we're in an economic recession," an angry Councilor Ed Flynn (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, Downtown) said. "I'm asking the delivery companies to be reasonable. They haven't been reasonable. They're not being a good neighbor," unlike locally owned restaurants whose owners are integral parts of their communities. He added, "When someone's down on their luck, down on the ground, you offer them a helping hand to get them back on their feet. ... You need to be a better neighbor."

Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) said that by capping fees, the companies would be helping restaurants - and he called on them to stop creating "ghost Web sites" for restaurants that don't have contracts with them to grab some of their business.

Kaitlyn Passafaro, director of policy of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development agreed that restaurants need a break from fees that threaten their ability to make money and so stay open. "This is unacceptable," she said.

John Schall, who owns the El Jefe Mexican restaurant in Harvard Square, and who was about to open one in the Little Building at Tremont and Boylston streets when the pandemic hit, said he is doing far more delivery business now, but he's losing money on deliveries due to delivery-company fees.

Schall pointed to a "support for super" program Grubhub ran last month - in which customers could get $10 off every order of at least $30 they made between 5 and 9 p.m. Sounds nice, but the restaurants were charged the $10 on top of their normal fees - which meant that on a typical order for him, he would only get 37% of his menu price, he said.

David Doyle, co-owner of three small restaurants in Jamaica Plain, said all had relied almost exclusively on in-restaurant diners before the current restrictions. After looking at the costs of orders with the delivery systems, he concluded it made little economic sense to sign up and so he's going to either have to figure out how do his own delivery or hope local people will continue to drop by the restaurants for pickup. "Why would I chose to have a relationship with Grubhub if it makes me no money?"

Amy Healy, director of public affairs at Grubhub, responded that the "30%" everybody keeps using as a figure for markup on restaurant deliveries doesn't mean the company is keeping all that money: Grubhub has bills to pay as well, for things from background checks on drivers and Google advertising to other marketing programs for restaurants. She said restaurants are typically charged about 10% of the order, consumers 20%.

She said that a cap would be "overreach" on the part of the city and said the company would not simply let its lawyers sit idly by. The company, she said, is not a public utility subject to regulation. She added it's not even a delivery service, because it connects restaurants, diners and independent-contractor drivers, rather than delivering the food itself.

Reducing fees would actually drive up costs because people would order less from restaurants and would mean drivers who now earn a living delivering meals would lose their jobs, she said, adding the company is hardly in the business of screwing restaurants - on whose survival the company depends. She said it recently made a $1.25-million contribution to the Boston-based Restaurant Strong Fund for restaurant workers, has pledged additional funds to support restaurants and, besides, lost money in the last quarter.

And nobody is forcing restaurants to sign up with Grubhub or its competitors - they can try to arrange alternatives or hire their own drivers - she said.

But Stephen Clark, vice president of government affairs at the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said his members who don't have delivery contracts are particularly disturbed by the way the companies have taken to putting up faux sites that consumers find and then order through - sending drivers to pick up orders the restaurants did not know about and could not ask about such issues as allergies.

Healy agreed the practice is distasteful and said she'd be willing to to work with the association to figure out an alternative - but acknowledged that Grubhub now does it as well to keep up with its competitors.

"I think the alternative is not doing it because it's a duplicitous practice," O'Malley said, adding it particularly hurts restaurants owned by immigrants - and Boston has a lot of those - who may not even realize the services exist.

O'Malley asked Healy if the company is thinking of pulling out of New York City now that the city council there has passed an ordinance - which still requires the mayor's signature - to cap delivery fees at 15%.

Healy said the company is still considering its options there.O'Malley replied with a statement about the ordinance he is unlikely to ever use again: "If it's good enough for New York City ..."

The next step for the council's Committee on Small Business and Workforce Development is to hold at least one "working session" in which to draft a specific ordinance that could then go to the full city council for its vote.

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Comments

If you click it, it seems to start all the way at the end for some reason, so you'll have to "rewind" it first.

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Voting closed 5

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Voting closed 34

So no fees at the video store when you return the tape.

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Price controls = say bye bye to lawful restaurant delivery and hello to an under the table black market. No one is going to provide delivery at a loss without a government subsidy to make up the difference.

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how the millions of restaurants that did delivery managed to do it before Grubhub or UberEats or any of these other predatory 'services' existed?

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Voting closed 37

Alot of those restaurants didn't deliver, only takeout.

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Probably a lot easier without everyone being stuck at home and ordering delivery all at once.

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A story that doesn't bury the lede. From the third paragraph:

Several councilors accused the delivery companies - Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats - of essentially screwing restaurants that didn't do delivery before, have had their knees knocked out by the closure of their dining rooms

I couldn't make that up. Government tells the business that they have to close their dining rooms, but it's private enterprise that's screwing restaurants?

When does it get to be my turn to be a stupid, obstinate prick for $108,000 a year? I'm tired of being smart and telling it like it is for $34,000.

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Voting closed 47

I work with restaurants. These "delivery" (technology) companies are evil scum. Enjoy living in your libertarian playground where a tiny number of rich shitheads get even richer and everyone else begs for scraps. For me, I'd welcome government regulation with open arms. If the Federal government had actually done their job back in January and February, most restaurants wouldn't have to close to diners in the first place.

Look, as a small, indy restaurant it's almost impossible to run your own delivery business. Yes, legally, it can be done. But if you aren't on one of a few major platforms people won't find you and won't order. So you're options are "submit to grubhub" or entirely close up shop.

Grubhub and Uber eats know this. So they treat restaurants as disposable as they do their delivery drivers. They don't give a shit if you go out of business. Because your business is not their business. They are in it for the fees. And much like drivers, there's always someone else in line to do the heavy lifting. That isn't to say Grubhub shouldn't get paid, but as a company they should represent a tiny portion of the check with the remainder going to drivers. Instead, they do almost nothing and get a lion's share of the profit.

But it doesn't stop there. Grubhub/etc create fake restaurant websites and phone numbers for real restaurants. So if you try to order "direct" they get a cut of the order total even if they did absolutely nothing but silently redirect the call. The restaurants are almost powerless to push back.

Massachusetts and America needs tight regulation of companies like this. Those trillions of dollars of recovery funds should come straight from the pockets of these companies. Hey, if they go out of business, someone can always replace them.

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I'm using this hot new method to get my pie. It's called "getting in my car and getting it my own damn self."

Delivery services exist on sloth, not greed.

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A few years back I saw an ad for Burger King delivery. I cannot see how that is cost effective. If you are in a delivery area, it’s just as quick to pick it up yourself.

Now, if you don’t mind, I need to decide between getting food a short drive from home and getting food a decent walk from home.

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Many restaurants would have already closed if it wasn't for delivery, even before COVID. Many loose money or break even on delivery with Grubhub but the alternative is to loose even more money by paying staff with even fewer orders.

Restaurants are an extremely hard business. Raw ingredients go bad quickly and there's a minimal level of staffing required. (Both problems retail stores don't have.) So the rise of delivery services have allowed restaurants to stay in business when they would have otherwise had to close. (Costs are rising quicker than what people are willing to spend, so you can't just keep rising prices.) The hope is delivery at least keeps the staff paid during slow times so that the restaurant has a shot at making some actual money during peak times.

Grubhub and others figured this out. So they keep twisting the knife with fees, effectively giving the restaurant the option to close right away or keep taking a slow loss in hopes that the "good night" will cover the looses. As a restaurant, you can charge a premium for delivery (most have a separate, higher cost menu) but there's a limit on how much you can charge.

With COVID, there are no more "Good nights". All they have left is delivery with a bulk coming from the delivery apps.

This is where government comes in. Do we, as a society allow Grubhub and others to pray on restaurant's misfortune or do we put limits on tech companies. Grubhub isn't going out of business regardless.

You can claim restaurants who can't survive should just die. But personally, I'd like to see restaurants instead be given an fighting chance in the form of limits on Grubhub & Uber fees.

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Voting closed 33

BostonDog, Thanks for your comments. I neglected to mention in my testimony yesterday that GrubHub, Door Dash, etc are not in danger of going out of business during this pandemic, whereas thousands upon thousands of small, independent restaurants are. The GrubHub rep states the last thing they want is for restaurants to fail, and that may be true, because they literally live and thrive off the blood of restaurants, but if these companies really want restaurants around for the long haul, they will agree to lower fees (and in certain cities, like San Fran and NYC, and hopefully Boston) they will accept mandated caps on fees. Otherwise, many restaurants WILL fail, taking their lifeblood with them. The restaurants I co-own have avoided using delivery services because financially it doesn't make sense. Now, with dine-in revenue sure to be decimated for many months to come, we HAVE to consider some form of delivery, or else rely on most of our guests to pick up their take-out.

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Can't wait for that resume.

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And I might start to do that.

Spare your comments but I do love some fast food on occasion. I have a McD and a BK walking distance from me. I really am not lazy and with the apps (McD's app) I can pre order and have it just about ready when I get in.

My local McD closed (it was a walk up one only), and for a while I was riding a less than 5 min bus ride to another one (on the parkway). But meh. Risky a bit.

I just could not justify a 13 dollar order being close to 24 on UberEATS BEFORE TIP. Wendy's, which for fast food is on the high end was 28 after fees.

And its not just fees, watch closely. If you're bored pick different times of day and your favorite fast food place. The prices change.. not by much, like pennies. But enough where you'd notice the increase. And they are already inflated the prices some (McD dollar menu .. ya right its the 2.05 menu).

Yeah fast food the comments will be lovely but its how they rake you on this stuff. Its why I've never used these services much until now. (using UberEats was a treat cuz its pricey) I'd rather rather walk and patronize my local (chains) food places.

DoorDash isnt much better. Postmates, while they are advertising heavily here. I sat for 30 mins waiting for a driver to accept the order before I cancelled it. They do not have a large driver base here yet.

Edit: damn sorry, left a less than sign in and web pages dont like that :P

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Right now government at all levels is optimized for the largest, most wealthy businesses. They are the ones who get tax breaks when times are good and bailouts when times are bad. They are the ones who get to write the laws. I'm in favor of anything which levels the field.

Grubhub is the sleazy doctor who's suppose to help the patient but instead lets them die because they get paid regardless. I want government to represent the family member who sues for malpractice.

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Many of us have disabilities and can't go pick up food. Some are homebound for other reasons. Some don't have cars and would like food from a place that's not practical to do pick-up from without wheels.

There's no need to denigrate people who do things differently than you.

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Do you live anywhere near Oak Square? Message me with FB Messenger.

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.

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And of the people who demand delivery, how many are actually in the group who need it vs just use it as a mere convenience?

For the vast majority of cases, Will's comment stands.

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It's nobody's damn business as to why they are doing delivery or even pickup. Some people are disabled, some have compromised immune systems and shouldn't leave, some have kids and can't leave, some are busy, some are just hungry - stop gatekeeping. In some cases, you have to use the service just to do pickup anyway so they are included in this issue.

But, if you are charged a food charge, a convenience charge, a delivery charge, and a tip, it's not unreasonable to think that the restaurant you think you're helping keep open is getting the lion's share if not all of the food charge - I've done comparisons of the in restaurant menu and food delivery charges and thought the fees broken out made it clear as to who gets what. To find out that the restaurants aren't even getting 1/2 of the menu listed food charges is disgusting - the delivery services are getting the fees and putting their costs on the restaurant owners, who also have costs associated with marketing, etc that they now have to pay out of their 37%. Even worse, if the service is terrible (like it takes an hour for the delivery guy to go from the Back Bay to Allston due to deliveries in Mission Hill and the medical district - great dispatch), or the food is missing items, or the food was ruined en route (melted, soggy, etc esp due to late delivery), any refunds that the customer gets comes from the restaurant not the delivery guy. The delivery people take no responsibility to the customer, the drivers, and the restaurant and they're making the lions share of the money. This is exactly like charging $20 for a six pack of water after a hurricane and should be treated as such.

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You claim to be against sloth yet you drive everywhere even though you live in a city.

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His walk from the house to the car, from the car to wherever he collects his food, and vice versa is much longer than your walk from the couch to the door to pick up the delivery you ordered online.

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"I'm using this hot new method to get my pie. It's called "getting in my car and getting it my own damn self."

Delivery services exist on sloth, not greed."

That's not an option for those of us who do not own a car. It's not laziness if I'd prefer not to walk 30 minutes to and from a restaurant to pick up an order that will be cold by the time I get home.

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Not a user of any of these services due to poor service and high fees, but if this pandemic had happened just 10 years ago when delivery was almost exclusively through a restaurant itself what would these owners have done? Based on the statements here, they would have just closed down or hired their own drivers, and both of these options are available to them today. I sometimes order from neighborhood restaurants that have their own drivers for a $3-4 fee, and the customer experience e is fine. No middleman required.

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Services like Doordash, Grubhub and so on are consolidators. They provide the convenience of a search engine and menu browser that lets you say, "Hmm, what do I want, Indian or Mexican, oh look there's Thai, maybe that...", look for specials, etc.. Ordering direct from the restaurant works fine if you know where you want to order from and doing so is convenient, which these days it mostly isn't. A lot of restaurants don't have apps, and telephone ordering relies on the line being free (yes, for most restaurants it's a matter of calling up and getting a human being on the line). Then combine this with reduced hours and changing menus, which most restaurants have these days, and the increasing demand on order-ahead takeout since that's the only way to get food from many restaurants, and ordering directly from the restaurant is a chore compared to ordering through a consolidator.

To give an example, I know a popular barbecue restaurant that used to do some takeout but mostly dine-in. They have a big barn of a place with room for live music, and last summer they built a great deck. Then...covid. They pivoted to all takeout, turned one of the restaurant windows into the "takeout window". They are usually "open" Friday-Sunday, with varying hours - sometimes 5-9, sometimes 3-9, yesterday it was 1-9 because they had a lot of stuff to sell. The menu varies. Every day that they're open, they post on Facebook when they plan to start taking orders and what's on the menu. You call in, keep trying until you get a person, ask what hasn't run out, order what you want, they put your order in (with an unpredictable number of orders ahead of it), you go there and it's ready some unspecified time later. Does Doordash change any of that? Probably not at the restaurant level - the system is that hard because the job is that hard - but it makes it seem easier to the person using it.

That's all a long-winded way of saying that it's not really true that restaurants can offer an equivalent service. They can offer delivery, but that's not all that the consolidators are offering.

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Local/state/federal officials asking or ordering to close dining rooms isn't to screw restaurant owners, it's to protect the public and not overwhelm our healthcare system.

These delivery companies are taking advantage that situation to make money. To me, that's bad intentions.

The fact that you can't see the difference is probably why you only make 34k

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Voting closed 37

Here you go.

I'm sure you'll definitely go for it and not just spend all your time whining on the Internet that no one listens to your "smart" ideas like "we should get rid of drivers licenses".

(there's also something pretty hilarious about a Libertarian complaining that they don't get paid enough for the value of their ideas, but I'm not sure you're capable of understanding the irony there)

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I make the private enterprise market value for what I do. City councilors decide their own pay.

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Spoiler alert: get high enough in a privately owned company, and you get to do the same thing. How much money do you think the board of directors of a company with a budget similar to the City of Boston make? I bet its more than $100k...

In the meantime, if you feel city councilors make too much, you're free to run on a platform saying so and then if you get elected, work to reduce your own salary. Or, you could start a public campaign to try to put pressure on the current councilors to do the same thing. Or maybe even try to pass something at the state level that controls how much a city councilor can make.

Or...you could sit and complain on the Internet. Up to you, but it doesn't seem like a very effective decision from an economic perspective.

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Voting closed 29

Yeesh, what a Godawful sentence. I meant to say that such restaurants had had their knees knocked out by the closing of their dining rooms, now whatever horrible thing I wound up just hanging out there like a sentence composed by somebody who does not know how to accommodate two thoughts in a single sentence.

Fixed.

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When i noticed the outrages fees, i decided to get my exercise walking to the resturant or cheating the driver out of a tip. Problem solved. I am thinner and my wallet is fatter.

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I can certainly understand the value that GrubHub and others are providing to restaurants by providing online ordering capabilities, their own set of drivers who can do deliveries, and to some extent "marketing" by helping people discover the restaurants.

HOWEVER, their business practices are atrocious. For any business who wants to participate, they force the businesses themselves to eat most of the fees and not pass them along to customers either directly or through higher prices. The fees themselves are very high, presumably because their services also include "marketing." And they also have been found to post fake phone numbers for restaurants so that they can route orders through themselves and then charge the restaurants fees for having the order come through their system.

More than anything, I hope that there are some competitors that pop up and provide reasonable, honest services to the restaurants. Right now, your best option is to call and order directly from a restaurant or use the online ordering that the restaurant provides on their website. Although they may also be on GrubHub, many restaurants provide online ordering and delivery services on their websites that take a much smaller cut.

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I miss Foodler, which at least SEEMED like a better company than GrubHub and other similar sites.

I hope someone does manage to get a local competitor to GrubHub off the ground that doesn't constantly coupon the restaurants to death. Restaurants should be collecting the complete face value of the delivery.
If I order say $20 of food from a restaurant online, I expect to pay:
$20 for the food, ALL of which goes to the restaurant.
$5 for delivery, ALL of which goes to the delivery service [to pay the driver's base wages and customer service and maybe throw a few pennies at any boss types].
$5 for the driver tip ALL of which goes to the driver [yes, many of these company's skim the driver's tip too even though it's illegal]

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But $5 is not enough to pay for a driver, unless you live 5 minutes away from the restaurant and are too busy to pick up your meal.

Simple math: the minimum wage is $12.75/hr. A restaurant that is 10 minutes away by car requires a total of ~25 minutes' labor at the very least: 5 minutes waiting at the restaurant, 10 minutes to get to your house, 10 minutes back (or to the driver's next restaurant). That is more than $5 already.

This estimate already disregards the many other expenses associated with keeping an employee: Social Security taxes, health insurance, unemployment insurance payments, sick leave, etc. There's also wear and tear on the delivery vehicle, as well as gas.

Things don't come cheap in this world - and as MA gets closer to the $15 minimum wage, that cost will only go up, for better or for worse. If you think $5 is enough, you're way out of touch with the economic realities of the working class.

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Five bucks cash for the driver. Neither their "partner" nor Uncle Sam is going to do jack (expletive) for them ever. Straight cash, homie.

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Ex-Denos delivery driver here: we Used to get paid $1 per delivery and (I believe) $1 per hour plus tips. Each ride out from the restaurant we would take between 2-4 orders. After tips, I remember coming home with about 70-90 dollars each night for a 6 hour shift. A $5 to was considered pretty good then (late 90s) but then again, Denos had a ton of volume and most deliveries were local.

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Voting closed 5

I used to be a dispatcher and a courier. I don't know if all the delivery services practice good routing via dispatch. And I can tell you that yes, if they are doing a single run at a time, $5 is not enough of a delivery fee to cover the driver pay, plus ancillary costs like website, customer service etc. But they likely aren't doing single runs, or should not be if properly dispatched.

Courier services have been doing this for centuries, and if say a bike messenger ever went from downtown to the back bay with a just a single envelope there was some major failure involved.

A good dispatcher stacks up deliveries coming from - and going to similar destinations. The drivers should be making multiple or constant pickups and drop offs as they go. That practice results in drivers pulling in multiple fees for the company each hour, and making multiple tips each hour.

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Voting closed 11

If the system is allocating drivers so as to result in a dedicated round trip for a single order, it is grossly broken. What happened to loading up the delivery driver with 10 pizzas to deliver to 20 addresses in the same general area?

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Toast is a Boston area company that already runs the ordering system in many local restaurants, and they've started up Toast Takeout. I have no inside knowledge here, but their press is emphasizing that they're taking less of a cut, especially from small restaurants. A week ago their app was pretty bare of restaurants but now seems to be picking up pretty nicely.

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Acquaintance of mine works for them and says they are a great employer as well.

Pre-pandemic I used them frequently during the workweek to order from a popular lunch place. Ordering is very simple via the app and I enjoyed waving at my co-workers standing in line waiting to order in person.

I'm glad to hear more establishments are using it (not the case in my neighborhood yet but I'll keep checking).

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You're saying you're willing to pay 50% more than the cost of your food in order to get it delivered?

$20 food
$10 fees, tips
$30 total

No?

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So if I was ordering $40 of food I would expect a $5 fee and maybe an $8 tip, so $53 total,

But yes, if you order online delivery you typically end up paying fees and a tip on top of the cost of the food. That's normal and how you're supposed to pay for said delivery.

What's happening though is Grubhub et al are not giving the restaurants the full cost of the food, or double charging the restaurant for services they already billed the client for.

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Voting closed 8

What the customer see:
Food: $40
Delivery: $8
Processing: $2
Tip: $6
Total Paid: $56

What the Restaurant gets:
Order Total: $40
Subtract Marketing: -$3
Subtract Service: -$12

Total Remitted: $25

The customer thinks they paid for delivery and the restaurant got $40. But the restaurant actually only got $25. Grubhub got $25. The driver might have got $10 in total.

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Voting closed 31

I miss the old foodler. I have to make that clear because they went all weird when GrubHub bought them and ran the brand side by side.

I remember when Foodler started. I was living in Porter at the time, it was the best thing. All it was was a fax service meets web front end for restaurants. It just seemed like (and from talking with places) their fees were minimal, maybe a 2 or three to cover the order processing. Then the food would come via their (stores) driver.

It just seemed like a great way to connect with places who deliver without having to sit and find menus or call N guess over the phone. I'd pay 2-3 bucks 'charge' for that, as a single fee added on to regularly priced items.

But to pay 15 bucks more (see above) than I would have if i just went there, is just stupid. These companies got greedy.

Now I just call ahead or use the preferred online ordering system . My local pizza shop, after I asked if it was $$ to use it. He said, don't use the big ones, and use the one off the shop's website (ediningexpress.com) which was much cheaper for fees.

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Voting closed 11

The old Foodler was fantastic.

Anyway, yeah, I always check to see if you can order from a place via their own website.

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Excellent service and great loyalty program. Swallowed up by Grubhub, I believe, which promptly killed everything that made it special.

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I agree with everything you wrote. It's important to understand how Grubhub the like came to be. They start with a few rich people who had a good idea. First, they found some investors with boatloads of cash. (These investors are banks, funds, etc. They aren't grandparents.) Then they spent millions, sometimes billions (Uber) to saturate the market and buy out their competitors.

Oh, all the while, the executives paid themselves like kings. They don't decline a paycheck until the company turns a profit.

Once they are the dominate player, they use their newly found leverage to extort money from their "clients" (restaurants, etc) while also making it nearly impossible for anyone else to come along. And those investors with the billions of dollars only gave the money on the condition the tech companies be as ruthless as possible. After all, they want a nice return on their investment.

A restaurant doesn't have an angel investor with billions of dollars that can take a loss for years while grew. That's why I don't think Grubhub and Uber Eats deserve the "credit" people give them for becoming the dominate players. It's not hard to make a ton of money when you start with a ton of money.

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Did anyone anywhere suggest the restaurants in question simply hire their own delivery drivers?

Lots of people out of work now.

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But maybe the City can start its own service. Backgrounds should be easy (police can do this cheap and easy) and advertising can be very free and easy (unlimited city property to post ads on).

Hire crossing guards, bus drivers, meter maids, parking clerks, etc who already have insurance and backgrounds first. Then hire others who are out of a job.

The overhead has been taken care of, and the rest can go to the drivers and the city. (Bringing Stevils real estate taxes down a little for this year maybe?)

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not a terrible idea... but I doubt it will ever happen due to the huge scope

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The company, she said, is not a public utility subject to regulation. She added it's not even a delivery service, because it connects restaurants, diners and independent-contractor drivers, rather than delivering the food itself.

If you're not providing the food or the service, then you're not essential. Shut down.

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Voting closed 26

Making fake websites is beyond the pale.

Another slimy practice - when a favorite restaurant stopped using GrubHub, it started listing them as "closed", when they are open and making their own deliveries.

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... should be looking into shutting these folks down for deceptive (and even fraudulent) practices.

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Voting closed 26

I had to go to work one weekend and decided to get food literally 2 minutes away. I couldn't just call them with the order as they couldn't process the payment - Caviar or Grubhub for pickup and delivery. I already had a grubhub acct but they said the restaurant was closed - I had just spoken with them! I had to join Caviar to get food in the building next to mine but because I wasn't doing delivery, Grubhub tried to get me to pick a different restaurant. It has happened with other restaurants as well between services - listing as closed when they're really open. I didn't realize how shady it was until recently.

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Voting closed 4

Regulate. Before they consolidate.

GrubHub seemed like a good idea, but it raises the price of food with too much going to the company and not the driver/delivery person. I found it trivial to actually call the restaurant, order and go pick it up in the neighborhood. At least it's one small way to support the locally owned, non-franchise restaurants.

GubHub is in play. The investors and management will take home a fortune after the sale to UBER, leaving the driver and restaurant none the better.

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Voting closed 11

The answer was that the senior executive only knows what O'Malley knows, because she reads the papers (well, maybe these days the Web sites), too. O'Malley asked if it's true that if Uber Eats followed through, the resulting company would control 55% of the restaurant-delivery business, and she gave the same basic answer.

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Voting closed 14

I agree that the delivery fees are outrageous but part of the prominence of GrubHub etc. is a failure of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, awash in money that could be used to create an app or the entire service (app, car and driver) for participating small restaurants at little or no cost to the restaurants. I don't think the MA Restaurant Association is as rich as the Chamber but the MRA could do more to facilitate a cooperative delivery service for all Boston restaurants, in all neighborhoods. The Chamber and MRA should be involved in these small-business boosting activities instead of politics.

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Boston Chamber of Commerce, awash in money that could be used to create an app or the entire service (app, car and driver) for participating small restaurants at little or no cost to the restaurants.

You're missing a few key ingredients, such as talent and subject matter expertise. You need someone who understands both the problem and the technology. Without both you'll spend a lot of money and get garbage.

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"I'm asking the delivery companies to be reasonable. They haven't been reasonable. They're not being a good neighbor," unlike locally owned restaurants whose owners are integral parts of their communities. He added, "When someone's down on their luck, down on the ground, you offer them a helping hand to get them back on their feet. ... You need to be a better neighbor."

And if you don't want to, the government will point guns at you and force you to.

I just got finished reading (coincidentally) another article on these delivery companies and think they're pretty scummy. But they're not threatening to force anyone to do business with them. Way to go, government, for making me actually root for them in this fight, because you're actually worse.

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Voting closed 12

Speak truth to power.

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And if you don't want to, the government will point guns at you and force you to.

You're running a fever, aren't you?

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For those old enough to remember the gas shortage.
In beacon hill on Cambridge st a gas station owner pulled the same Shit.
When things calmed down we remembered.
He closed down because people remembered his BS.
Lets see if this will produce the same results
I hope so

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Voting closed 19

Build an app that any restaurant can adopt. The fee is enough to cover the development and maintenance costs, and pay drivers a real wage, I'm going to throw $20 an hour out there. There are plenty of MIT geeks who are at home, wishing they could conceive the next SMOOT. Win, all student debt is wiped out, and you get free delivery for life.

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I'm willing to bet most of GrubHub's customers during the stay at home advisory are the gainfully employed babies of the 90s whose happy faces appear on the Orange Line ads. Therefore, of course fees are going to go up and money will be had. Damn, didn't your Grandma teach you how to cook ?

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trying to keep their jobs so they don't end up driving for Grubhub to avoid eviction. I have meetings all day now and still have to get work done. No time to get to the supermarkets during the week with the limited hours or when I do, dinner is 10 pm. Sometimes delivery means getting to eat a nutritious meal vs. crackers and cheese. Also those 90s babies you're whining about keep getting told that the restaurants need people to order food to keep them alive - people who are still working can do that but thought they were actually helping keep the restaurants alive, not lining the delivery services pockets at their expenses. MA won't recover post Covid without functioning restaurants and the people they attract to the area.

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Can Boston create a public agency, or, perhaps more cleanly, a non-profit owned by the city, that would serve as an at-cost facilitator of online ordering? Reduce fees to both restaurants and consumers; keep money in the city; maybe create a few jobs. Plus, once it’s going, we could lease the tech to other cities to create their own versions. Net win for us, sorry to the shareholders of the companies.

Maybe call it “BuyBoston” “Bosawalla” “HubGrub.”

(Ok, I need help with branding.)

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Kenzi Bok proposed a delivery co-op. The Massachusetts Restaurant Guy said he hadn't heard of such an idea, but he's open to anything that would help restaurants.

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This is all puffery.

The reason no other company showed up is because the council made their mind up long before this session. They didn't go in to hear the company's position.

Why not cap the vendors who sell these restaurants supplies/food?

Restaurants are not compelled to use the services.

David Doyle, and his like, is upset because he has to pay more for a service (delivery) than paying his servers for dine-in at $3/hr. If he could pay $3/hr for delivery he would have no problem.

If its good enough for NYC is good for Boston? Way to lead. Why not just eliminate the council and copy whatever the NYC council implements?

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Voting closed 1