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When people started showing up at her restaurant looking for orders they said they’d placed, Carla Wade Logan got angry. “I wasn’t mad at the customers,” the owner of Carly’s Bistro is quick to point out. “I was mad at the delivery platform I never signed up for.”
Logan isn’t alone in her ire at DoorDash, a food delivery service headquartered in San Francisco. Other local restaurateurs are up in arms about what they say are DoorDash’s lousy policies and unprofessional approach to delivering dinner. Food is being delivered late, some say; DoorDash is publishing out-of-date menus; they’re under- and over-charging for entrees. And then there are the drivers who turn up looking for orders that were never placed.
“People would call and say, ‘We ordered from DoorDash, why isn’t my food ready? I paid with a card,’” Logan remembers. “And we’d have to tell them that we never got their order. And the driver’s there saying, ‘Where’s the food?’”
Logan pulled the plug on DoorDash, then posted on Facebook about it.
“No more DoorDash for Carly’s,” she wrote. “We lose $ with the 30 percent fees they charge.”
Those delivery fees really irked Charleen Badman, chef and co-owner of FnB in Scottsdale. “Thirty percent when your profit is already at 10 percent? You end up paying someone to take your food home, and that doesn’t make sense.”
Badman said DoorDash’s solution to these high fees was the final straw. “The person I spoke to recommended we raise our prices to make up for [the loss],” she says. “After that, I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’ It’s not fair to our customers.”
Neither Badman nor Logan signed up for DoorDash service to begin with, either.
“I don’t know how they can do that,” Badman says. “Put your menu on their website and make it look like you’re working with them. And the menus they had for us were 12 years old. I didn’t have grilled broccoli on my menu for years, but DoorDash had it, and it was at the wrong price.”
Hana Japanese Eatery was also listed on the DoorDash site without the restaurant’s permission.
In a post on the Hana website headlined “You Can’t Order Hana Japanese Eatery through DoorDash,” co-owners Lori Hashimoto and Lynn Becker wrote:
“We understand customers might want to take advantage of websites like Postmates or DoorDash to get the food they expect from Hana … But we have learned over the years that customers too often end up disappointed by food that is mishandled, not delivered in a timely manner, or mis-advertised. The menus are often out of date, the prices shown are wildly more expensive than what we serve in our restaurant, and the staff of these services are sometimes rude to our customers and staff. It looks badly upon us, but mostly, it just upsets customers.”
DoorDash spokesperson Cat McCormack says the company works with restaurant clients when there’s a formal partnership in place. Preferring not to be quoted, McCormack adds that when DoorDash opens up in a new city, the platform will sometimes list a business without charging membership fees.
According to Logan, that felt like a bullying tactic.
“It was like they were saying, ‘You want to get paid, you need to sign up with us.’ We had no control over how we were being promoted.”
McCormack says that DoorDash has recently stopped listing businesses without permission and offered an official DoorDash statement. “While the majority of the merchants on our platform have partnerships with us, we will occasionally offer to act as a courier service for customers to restaurants in their neighborhood,” the statement reads. “For those not interested in being on DoorDash for any reason, we remove them from the platform upon their request.”
Meantime, Badman says, DoorDash performance is harming local restaurants already struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“Our job is to make people happy,” she says. “When you’ve got the wrong prices, the wrong food, and bad service, you’re doing the opposite. You’re making people unhappy. And I won’t stand for that.”
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