Did you order delivery of chicken wings or some other grub for Sunday’s showdown between the Rams and the Bengals? Fifty-nine percent of American households watching the game were likely to order in for the big game, according to a survey by Nextbite, a virtual restaurant company.
Who doesn’t like the idea of getting food delivered from their favorite restaurants with just a couple of taps? Well, some Utah eateries say those apps are costing them business by selling orders they can’t fulfill and creating angry customers.
In a small annex off I-80 near Park City, LuAnn’s Cupcakes and Delights shares the same building as an auto repair shop. Like many restaurant owners, owner LuAnn Lukenbach has been approached by delivery services hoping to add her product to their menu. It is not for her.
“No, because we do mostly bake to order,” Lukenbach said. “So, we don’t have a lot of people that just stop in and pick something up.”
So, imagine her surprise when she got a phone call from a frustrated customer demanding to know why the order for which she’d paid never “showed up.” An order placed through the Uber Eats app.
“I explained to them that we didn’t have an Uber Eats agreement or any way to do business with Uber Eats,” Lukenbach recalled.
But with that experience, she got online and surprise! There is LuAnn’s Cupcakes right on Uber Eats, though not really. It lists items she no longer sells and has pictures of items she’s never sold, such as donuts.
Lukenbach said she has tried to contact Uber Eats and have her shop removed from its site, but it has not worked.
“I tried to fill in a form that said to contact them. I tried to call and ask them how they got our information. What was going on? I asked if there could be a supervisor call me so I could find out what the deal was, and they said, ‘no.’”
Meanwhile, Lukenbach said the angry calls keep coming, and she worries it could ruin her business.
“We’re a place that relies on reviews.”
So, she called the KSL Investigators.
As we began digging, we learned that she is not alone. For example, down the highway in Salt Lake City, The Bayou, a Cajun restaurant, says on its website that it doesn’t do business with delivery apps because, “All the delivery services charge the restaurants about a 30% commission,” and “30% is a lot.” But from time to time, the Bayou says its restaurant still pops up on the apps, and it is “still getting orders from them.”
And it is not just a Utah issue. In fact, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., passed a law to prohibit third-party meal delivery platforms from arranging to deliver a meal order from a restaurant without first obtaining an agreement with the restaurant. Seattle also passed a similar measure after several restaurants said they were getting orders from outdated menus and old pricing, resulting in complaints and negative reviews from customers.
So, what does Uber Eats have to say about all of this?
Nothing to us. We reached out to the company’s PR people, but never got a response. But it seems someone may have gotten the message, because just a day later, some good news for LuAnn’s Cupcakes — it is no longer listed on Uber Eats.
Lukenbach said she is glad to have control of her product back.
“We want to serve our customers properly.”
Bottom line, if you find yourself ordering from a delivery app and you are frustrated by the restaurant not being responsive, food being cold, or items not being available — it may be out of the restaurant’s hands.