The State of Food Delivery Apps in the Restaurant Industry

Competition is fierce within the food industry. As consumer demands continue to dictate this new wave of a real-life unique user-experience, industry professionals are chomping at the bit to be more efficient and provide the very best. But in this accelerated process, frankly, the lines are getting a bit blurred. We’ve seen the agriculture industry go up in arms as plant-based meats have hit the market in a whole new way. Similarly, dairy farmers have been in an uproar over the array of different milks hitting the refrigerated section at the grocery store. Now, in a new tete a tete requiring a restaurant referee, foodservice businesses are beginning to rally together against food delivery apps. A once beautiful partnership between restaurants and food delivery apps has begun to go a bit sour. Can’t we all just get along?

A Tale of Two Cities

Apparently not. Just this past month, Crain’s business reported that over 800 Chicago restaurants have joined together to lobby against popular food delivery apps like UberEats, GrubHub and Postmates in regards to food safety. Meanwhile, legislation in California known as the Gig Economy Law, requires that the food-delivery apps treat their drivers as employees– entitling them to perks like insurance benefits, but also holding them to stricter standards. A law, that has not been complied with since its inception. This law being put into place so that drivers are held to higher standards to eliminate some of the issues these restaurants have been encountering via these once game-changing food delivery apps.

So what would it take to bring peace again between these two entities to restore food-delivery bliss for consumers everywhere?

Though food delivery apps and restaurant establishments may currently be at odds, it isn’t too late to start turning the tide.

Seems like a little TLC is in order. From a restaurant standpoint, the complaints that are being compiled against the food-delivery apps have more to do with proper practice than infringing on profits. These apps open up a whole new world of business for restaurants, including more orders and a longer reach, but there’s a little bit of concern around representation.

Guilty By Association

Because food delivery companies like UberEats and GrubHub treat their drivers as independent contractors, this means more freedom for the drivers which has turned into less drive to meet restaurant standards. When a third-party app is delivering food for a restaurant, they become the face and the experience that consumers assign to the restaurant itself, although they are of no relation whatsoever. When the customer has a bad experience — a late order, unprofessional driver behavior or anything else — this becomes how the customer views the restaurant itself, and not the food delivery apps. The restaurant then becomes guilty by association. After years of building a reputable brand, it is understandable why food establishments could become salty (couldn’t resist) after a poor delivery review (or several) hit their yelp page.

Taking Liberties

Another notable issue in the food-delivery apps vs. restaurant business battle is the the liberties being taken by the 3rd party apps. Several restaurants have reported instances of delivery orders being taken, when the restaurant didn’t have a delivery service in place. One particular report detailing instances where a delivery order button appeared on the restaurant’s actual Yelp page. If food delivery apps wanted to resurrect their relationship with food establishments, taking the CTA’s down might be a good start.

Perhaps it’s time to stop taking liberties and start talking partnerships. Any good relationship begins with going through the proper channels. With plenty of revenue to go around and benefits to be reaped by everyone, perhaps it’s time to place a new kind of order, on the app and off.


MenuCalc is the most-trusted nutrition analysis and menu categorization app in the restaurant industry. To connect, contact us today. 

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