(This post originally appeared on Inc.)
So let me get this straight.
A salesperson is selling my products to his customers without my knowledge. When he makes the sale he’s buying from me at my stated prices and then charging whatever he’s charging. I get the sale. He makes a profit. This costs me nothing. Should I be complaining?
No, I’d be celebrating. I’d be thrilled. Unfortunately, I guess I’m missing something. Because the same thing is going on with restaurants around the country, and they’re not so thrilled.
By the same thing I’m talking about the recent news that that Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash and other delivery services are demonstrating what some are calling “shady practices” by listing establishments on their websites and then taking orders from customers for these restaurants that are not officially “partnered with them.”
How dare they! Who asked them to increase those restaurants’ sales, anyway? Shame on them!
“I’ve made hundreds of sandwiches. I make specials every single day. I’m constantly recreating and changing menus,” Adam Mesnick, the owner of a San Francisco deli that found his restaurant listed without his permission on Grubhub told SFGATE. “Sometimes I have extra turkey, sometimes I don’t. We have unexpected changes, but this wasn’t my current menu at all.”
What? This is an outrage! Poor Adam. Someone bought his food.
Mesnick and other business owners complain that these popular delivery services are listing their restaurants without their permission and sometimes – now brace yourself, people – selling items that are no longer on their menus. Other restaurateurs say that delivery people show up unexpectedly for orders that were never placed or that the delivery site posted wrong information about their business.
“This is bad news for everyone,” complained one Philadelphia restaurant owner. “As restaurant employees, we don’t want to put our customers at risk — of disappointment or something worse — by sending them something they didn’t want.”
“It’s almost like counterfeiting,” another business owner wailed. “It was like they hacked our restaurant.”
Hacked your restaurant?
For God’s sake, calm down. These delivery services are helping you sell more product dude! They’re expanding your market reach. They’re introducing your food to customers that never heard of you before. They’re building your customer base. And oh…they’re not asking for anything in return (reps from these companies say that they are merely trying to offer their visitors “more choices” in their efforts to outpace their competitors).
If someone was proactively selling my products without any investment or cost from me, I wouldn’t get angry with him. I would embrace him.
Here’s a suggestion: stop whining about being “hacked” and take advantage of the free marketing. You’re not offering some type of technical product that requires the seller to have certifications or experience. You’re selling sandwiches.
Mistakes are going to happen, so work with the delivery service to fix any incorrect information. Communicate with your employees. Smile and then say “thank you Grubhub for selling my products…please sell more.” Take a minute and think: would you turn down these sales in slower times? Or if you were a startup? What’s so different today?
If you’re a restaurant owner and you’re complaining about Grubhub and others selling your products at no cost to you, I say: count your blessings. Grubhub says it generated more than $5 billion in gross food sales to local takeout restaurants in 2018, and handles an average of more than 400,000 orders a day. I wish someone would be doing the same for my business.
But hey, if you’re so incensed, then tell the delivery services to remove your restaurant from their sites. They will. But before you do, think about it. Considering that sixty percent of restaurants don’t make it past their first year and 80 percent go out of business within five years you can probably use all the help you can get.