LA restaurants are closing because bad people abuse food delivery services' refund policies

There are already restaurants inside other restaurants’ kitchens that basically sell the same food from different online storefronts/delivery services as if they’re actually different entities.

The next obvious step is for the delivery services with their vulture capital to just pull an Amazon and take over the market after they’ve become the dominant player.


Jerks abound. They’ve been with us from the start. A massive chunk of taxpayer dollars goes just to programs like corrections, policing, and defense that we need because too many people are jerks.

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I purposely don’t use Doordash or Ubereats or Postmates. I CALL the restaurant and order over the phone with their web menu in front of me. Then I drive down and get it masked and gloved.

It’s what my dad used to do back in the 60s when mom didn’t want to cook.

I do know some that have everything delivered from groceries to take out, but I prefer to thank the person at the take out window personally.


I assume the responsibility lies with whomever is at fault for whatever the particular problem is. For example, I recently ordered some tacos without onions and they had onions. I would expect a refund in that case to be borne by the restaurant. Now, Doordash also delivered this to a neighbor a few houses away. That should be on them.

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This is hardly the only way these 3rd party apps have been screwing over restaurants.

Many have been setting up websites or listing phone numbers with Google, Yelp and whatever. Masquerading as existing restaurants. Essentially what they do is get the customer to call them or order through the app instead the actual restaurant. Then manually call orders into the restaurant itself for pickup.

Likewise some of them have been setting up ghost kitchens that mimic the menus of popular restaurants, their branding, name, website etc. So that in the end order comes from a wholly different business than who you though you ordered from.

The intent is apparently to crib enough of the restaurants sales to pressure them into signing on, and to cheaply fill out the number of listings in the app without doing the work of actually selling the service to restaurants. Often times even undercutting the real pricing at the restaurant and eating the difference to maximize the effect.

There have been a lot of problems for independent restaurants getting big damage to their reputation with food deliveries they don’t know about, and quality or consistency problems they don’t control. On top of the economic impact that comes with having their sales stolen (with ghost kitchens).

This refund issue isn’t a new one. The base problem being that app will issue no questions asked refunds but then require the restaurant to foot the bill. No opportunity to block problem customers, make the decision themselves or handle another way. The way the apps handle things makes it pretty trivial to just claim the food never showed, or invent a problem.

If you’ve ordered direct and the complaint is that the order was wrong, or never showed. The actual staff will know if you are lying or incorrect. “My steak came without a steak”, well the cook remembers cooking the steak and the server putting the steak in the bag, and the driver is the manager’s son. So fuck off.

Can’t happen with the apps. And the 3rd party companies often fine, or otherwise penalize restaurants for these refunds and charge backs. The base fees and costs are often enough to eat all or most of the profit margin on any orders sent out.

These companies are predatory and have been kicking restaurants while they’re down since the quarantine started.

The Restaurant Association is dominated by, chiefly run for the interests of, and funded by large restaurant chains, big groups, and hotel companies. I believe Fast Food as well, which is generally considered a separate industry (hotels too often enough).

They don’t really have an interest in pushing back on this sort of thing. As it’s the exact sort of market pressure that allows them to press out independent restaurants (which represent the bulk of the industry). You’re generally looking at businesses big enough to develop their own apps, or negotiate national scale corporate partnerships with preferential rates and treatment.

Their major activity is lobbing for the removal of the US minimum wage and assorted other labor rights. They have been one of the biggest sources of anti-Obamacare money.

They’re also rigidly opposed to the $15 minimum wage and the elimination of the tipped wage exception. Despite the fact that a big part of the ground swell in support for such things comes out of service workers and independent restaurants. Some of the most prominent activists on that front are restaurant owners, like Tom Colicchio and Danny Meyer.

The franchise groups that own most of the chain restaurants in the country are actually a core part of that ghost kitchen problem I mentioned. They’re typically the operators of said kitchens. Either on their or on contract from the delivery apps. And the actual food itself is often coming out of your local Applebees or a prep kitchen/warehouse owned by them.

Nope. If ordered and paid through app, it’s always on the restaurant. Not only are they out the cost of order, but often a per order fee and the app company may charge them an additional fee for the return. They also might hike their rates if this happens a lot.

Meanwhile in your onions example, the usual redress is to replace the item with a properly made one, or offer a free item like a drink. Not a refund. The apps deprive the restaurants of any opportunity to make the situation right with any other means. Which means they have no power to control the costs involved.



Yeah I can see that. I mean it’s about accountability. If everyday thought you bid out the security for the night to the lowest bidder who often did security at a different site every day though?

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I’m sorry, but I call “BS” on this. Why? Because when I use GrubHub or DoorDash, the 2 most common companies in my area, my order is nearly always incorrect, sometimes drastically so, whether it’s missing items, is prepared incorrectly, or both. I’m talking literally 9 times out of 10! Each time I call and complain, they freaking refund me the entire purchase, even though that’s not actually what I want; I’d rather simply have my correct order, but that doesn’t make monetary sense for them to consider, so they simply give me the refund.

So now, I’ll only deal with delivery via companies that keep their own fleet of drivers, and it’s gone a lot better. I absolutely am sure there’s lots of abuse of the system but I am also just as absolutely sure, that a lot of the problem is the delivery companies’ and/or the restaurants’ own direct fault, as well.


The delivery app congolmerates are the sort of evil actors that have zero qualms about tricking you into paying undisclosed fees and generally getting a raw deal. So I can see why some people think that turnabout is fair play. The sad thing though is that it just becomes another way for the cabal to do their evil.

I always go directly to restaurant websites to order, but it’s sad how many of them simply direct business to their captors.

Isn’t it a better solution to require those wanting refunds to return the food to the restaurant for a full refund? I’m willing to bet the customers ate all the food every time a refund was requested. They are just gaming the system.

The centralized production concept already exists and is common enough to even have a name – a “Ghost Kitchen”. Many delivery-only restaurants that have opened during the pandemic are run out of kitchens that serve multiple such restaurants.


I would suggest very little given that we are talking about the lowest paid and those least able to afford to lose their income. I’m inclined to think it that the abuse is on the client side and would hesitate at suggesting the lowest rung in the ladder are thieves.

Ok these are desperate times.

Same here, some 20 years ago and now working as a kitchen-hand as I need the bucks.

Gonna bail on the discussion because I think you’ve summed up everything I was going to say.

Work with a great crew, front and back of house, and our thought is that the public shouldn’t be allowed to step inside a restaurant or cafe without spending at least a month working in one :wink:


This! I recently had trouble with an order being delivered a block away and when I complained to the restaurant, they said it was a DoorDash problem, even though I ordered through the restaurant’s site and wasn’t given an indication that this was going through DoorDash. Of course, DoorDash told me that since I didn’t’ use their app, I should contact the restaurant directly.

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