每日英語跟讀 Ep.890: As Diners Flock to Delivery Apps, Restaurants Fear for Their Future
Before the coronavirus lockdowns, Matt Majesky did not take much notice of the fees that Grubhub and Uber Eats charged him every time they processed an order for his restaurant, Pierogi Mountain.
But once the lockdowns began, the apps became essentially the only source of business for the barroom restaurant he ran with a partner, Charlie Greene, in Columbus, Ohio. That was when the fees to the delivery companies turned into the restaurant’s single largest cost — more than what it paid for food or labor.
Pierogi Mountain’s primary delivery company, Grubhub, took more than 40% from the average order, Majesky’s Grubhub statements show. That flipped his restaurant from almost breaking even to plunging deeply into the red. In late April, Pierogi Mountain shut down.
“You have no choice but to sign up, but there is no negotiating,” Majesky, who has applied for unemployment, said of the delivery apps. “It almost turns into a hostage situation.”
Even as apps like Grubhub have cast themselves as economic saviors for restaurants in the pandemic, their fees have become an increasing source of difficulty for the establishments. From Chicago; Pittsburgh; and Tampa, Florida, to Boise, Idaho; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Richardson, Texas, restaurant owners have taken to social media to express their unhappiness. Some restaurants have shut down, while others have cut off the apps and are looking for other ways to take orders.
Complaints about the fees that the apps charge to both restaurants and consumers are long-standing, but the issue has become heightened as many restaurants have shut down in-room dining. Even as they begin reopening, delivery is likely to remain a bigger part of their business than before the pandemic.
The gap between the success of the apps and the pain of the restaurants is striking. Spending at restaurants in recent weeks dropped about 35% from a year earlier, while revenue for the delivery services rose about 140%, according to data from M Science, a firm that analyzes transaction data.
At the heart of the issues is some basic math. For the typical restaurant, fixed costs such as labor, food and rent eat up around 90% of the money coming in. That leaves little room for the base fees that the large delivery services charge small restaurants, which generally are 20% to 30% of what customers pay for each order.
Restaurant owners are concerned about more than the apps’ fees. In 18 interviews with restaurant owners and industry consultants, plus in lawsuits and social media posts, many said Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats also engaged in deceptive practices like setting up websites with inaccurate information for the restaurants, all without asking permission.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/354557/web/