Grubhub, Postmates and Doordash Keep Adding Milwaukee Restaurants to Their Apps Without Permission

Local businesses say, if you truly support them, don’t go through the big businesses. Start with the little guy.

If you use food delivery apps like Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates, you’ve got plenty of restaurant options around Milwaukee. But not all of them are bonafide. A few local eateries were shocked (and upset, upset I say!) when they found out they’d been added to the services’ restaurant lists.

42 Ale House, Odd Duck and Vanguard are all currently listed on various delivery websites. And they’re not happy about it.

Odd Duck made a Facebook post Monday morning, saying that not only had Grubhub added the restaurant to its roster “WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE and WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION,” but the menu Grubhub was using was outdated. And then Odd Duck had to deal with the fallout when Grubhub customers’ orders couldn’t be fulfilled.

Kindred too was added to Grubhub’s list, even though that restaurant has been closed for months.

When we called Vanguard on Monday night — the Bayview cocktail bar with a sausage-specialty made a Facebook post complaining of the situation earlier in the day — one of the managers told us that Grubhub delivery people had kept showing up this week, placing takeout orders then leaving.

“We have no way of receiving orders from them,” the manager said, so even if you were to place an order, you aren’t going to get your food super quickly.

When we asked if that was legal, the manager laughed and said “I would assume so.”Courts are still figuring out the gray areas surrounding these services. It certainly isn’t a Milwaukee-only problem.

In October, Eater magazine published an article entitled “Grubhub’s New Strategy Is to Be an Even Worse Partner to Restaurants.”

One of the most high-profile cases is an Indian restaurant in Philadelphia that is enraptured in a months-long lawsuit, accusing Grubhub for “illegal” business practices.

One such practice: Grubhub takes a commission on orders made through restaurants. But it also takes a commission on phone calls it reroutes to restaurants, even if the caller doesn’t end up placing an order. So basically Grubhub is making money by directing phone calls to restaurants that are getting their time wasted, according to this class-action lawsuit.

New York City’s local government is considering several pieces of legislation to restrict food delivery companies’ powers that are sometimes viewed as abusive of restaurants.

When CBS58 asked DoorDash why it added St. Francis’ 42 Ale House to its website, it kind of deflected, saying “Regardless of the formal or informal relationship, restaurants have told us that they’ve seen increased, incremental sales, new customers and improved operations thanks to our ordering apps and delivery services,” and “Importantly, for any restaurant that wants to be removed from the platform at any time, we will do so immediately upon their request.”

That said, Odd Duck said that it has received multiple requests to be added to services like Grubhub and DoorDash. It has always declined.

Grubhub said something similar to its competitor: “To help restaurants drive additional online delivery orders and revenue while giving diners even more options for delivery, we are adding non-partnered restaurants in a number of our markets, including Milwaukee.”

Again, the services continue to believe they are on the side of the right, even if not every restaurant is happy about it.

Odd Duck doesn’t want Grubhub’s so-called “help,” especially when it has a “teeny-tiny kitchen” and a quickly changing menu that big ol’ websites aren’t1 going to be able to keep up with — Odd Duck wrote on Facebook that, like 42 Ale House, Grubhub’s menu was incorrect.

It also wrote: “Shame on you, Grubhub. Stop abusing small businesses.”

By Monday night, and after rounds of public complaints, 42 Ale House, Odd Duck and Vanguard couldn’t be found on the websites of the delivery services anymore.



Adam is a journalist who recently returned to his Wisconsin home after graduating from Drake University in December 2017. He interned with MilMag in the summer of 2015 and has been a continual contributor ever since. Follow him on social media @Could_Be_Rogan