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Food delivery apps taking a bigger bite out of restaurants than you think

The fees you pay as customer aren't the only ones apps are collecting. Sometimes restaurants pay up to 40% of your bill, too.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Food delivery has become a pandemic staple, but those third-party apps may be costing your favorite restaurant more than you think. Consumers’ Checkbook did a deep dive into the industry practices.

What they found is that fees you see as a consumer are not the only fees delivery apps are collecting.

"While the fee to you might only be 49 cents, or a 15% service fee, the fees they are charging the restaurants for each order can add up to 40% or more of everything you're ordering,” says Kevin Brasler with Consumers’ Checkbook.

Not only do restaurants pony up to the delivery apps, in some cases the more they pay, the higher up they can get placed on the list of food options.

“When you use these apps a lot of the restaurants that you see first are big, big national or regional chains because those are the ones that can afford to do this," Brasler says.

And the big delivery players like Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and Door Dash are boxing out restaurants on Google, too.

Credit: AP
The big delivery players like Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and Door Dash are boxing out restaurants on Google.

“So when you do a search on Google, and this was really disturbing to us, you'll often see, hey order delivery, and Google is channeling you toward one of these big services to place your order because Google is getting a cut of that,” says Brasler.

And if you don't use these delivery companies, don't think you're escaping the problem. Prices are likely to go up for all eaters to keep pace. So, why would restaurants participate? Well, customers have come to expect it, and takeout and delivery have become the majority of business since the pandemic started. Restaurants simply have no choice.

“Restaurants, they're using these services because they feel like they have to in order to survive," Brasler says.

So, if you really want to do your favorite local restaurant a solid... order direct.

"The way around this is to make sure you're placing your order with your restaurant. Either call it in, or use their own website to do it, by doing so all of your money goes to support that restaurant,” says Brasler.

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