GrubHub Restaurants Beware; They Could be Killing Your Brand
GrubHub Restaurants Beware; They Could be Killing Your Brand

Restaurant brands might want to think twice before outsourcing their delivery services.

The food was scheduled to come at 5:50 p.m. With two hungry kids (a five-year-old and a two-year-old) and an equally hungry wife, I was now the restaurant operator dealing with a ready to chow group. The problem was, it was now 5:51 p.m. and there was no food in sight.

Before I tell the rest of the story, this GrubHub battle is not the point of this column (I have written about plenty of battles with poor customer service). This column is all about knowing that outsourcing can have a negative impact on your business.

Back to my story. It was now 6:01 p.m. and my grace period had expired. I logged onto Grubhub’s site, clicked chat (didn’t feel like talking to a phone rep if the food was only a few minutes away), and entered my order number (the website was down so I couldn’t capture an order status on there).

The customer service rep said he would check on the status of my order.

I decided to call the restaurant – as we ordered two turkey burgers (which won’t hold well if sitting – especially resting on a bun with sauce) and wings (which definitely won’t hold). The restaurant said they hadn’t seen a delivery driver yet and that the food had been ready for ten minutes.

This is where the warning comes in.

With Grubhub, you spend the same amount as you do in the restaurant + a delivery fee. The benefit is that they bring the restaurant to you. The negative is what happened here. Imagine ordering at a restaurant and the wait staff comes out and tells you your food is ready, but they won’t give it to you for ten minutes. You would be frustrated, even more hungry and the quality of that product would deteriorate.

Another ten minutes passes and the rep replies that the food should be there in ten minutes; he simply has to contact the driver to make sure it’s on its way.

At this point, I add up the time and become skeptical if this meal’s taste will align with the cost. Another five minutes passes and the rep says he is still checking.

I was doing work on one screen with the chat screen on the other. By this time, it’s past 6:30 and we are 40 minutes late. I call the restaurant again and they say there still is no delivery driver. I ask how much longer I should wait. The manager takes down my name and number and says she will call Grubhub.

I quickly get a call. I answer.

“Hello, this is Nick,” I say.

“Hello, Nick, this is Chris from Grubhub,” he says. “Our customer wants to cancel the food order. They don’t want the food anymore.”

“Um, this is the customer. I do still want the food. We have been chatting about this online.”

“Uh, I’m sorry. Uh, I thought this was the restaurant,” Chris from Grubhub says.

“Nope. I want you to make this right. What are you going to do?” I ask.

“I am going to go back on chat and figure this out,” he says as he hangs up.

Then, he writes, I am going to give you a $5 credit, does that fix this?

“Um, no,” I write. “You better do better than that.”

At this point we are an hour past delivery time. My kids are not having it.

I call the restaurant and ask if they can remake the food since it has been sitting out for an hour. They promise to do it – great service and great commitment to fixing the issue.

Grubhub ups their offer to $10, which doesn’t even cover the tip I had given the driver when I ordered.

“Not good enough,” I say.

The issues now are as follows: My order is an hour late (two hours have passed since I ordered), the food has to be remade (that will cost the restaurant), we paid restaurant prices for convenience (definitely not convenient now) and the restaurant was willing to do what they could to make it right, but Grubhub’s customer service (at this point) was far below average. So, the restaurant outsourced delivery to a company that couldn’t produce and wouldn’t make it right. Who does that hurt? Both companies. Did the restaurant do anything wrong? Nope.

Eventually I request for a manager at Grubhub to call me. The service rep transfers me online, doesn’t have the manager call. They could have personalized the issue and fixed it. After catching the manager up for another ten minutes, she finally agrees to charge me $0 for the ordeal (now nearly 2.5 hours past order time).

I get a call. It’s the delivery driver.

“I am outside and you are not answering your doorbell,” he says.

“That’s odd, I didn’t hear the doorbell,” I reply. “I will be at the door in just a second.”

Frustrated, but calming, I run to the door; swing it open. No driver. He is at our neighbor’s house with his hand on the doorbell again.

“Wrong house,” I say, as I take the bags from him. He doesn’t apologize.

I march upstairs, open the bags – there is a note from the manager apologizing for the experience with a $10 gift card attached.

Perhaps the restaurant should take over customer service for Grubhub. When you have a chance to correct things, do it. You can gain so much more customer value.

Could Grubhub hurt your restaurant? Absolutely, yes. Grubhub didn’t once say it was their fault, they provided horrible customer service and almost delivered food that sat out. Delivery is great – but think twice before you outsource without standards.

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