Popular delivery apps taking advantage of Topeka restaurants

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Some local restaurant owners say delivery apps are dealing them another blow to their businesses after the pandemic’s already damaging effects.

Jon Bohlander, owner of The Wheel Barrel in Topeka’s NOTO Arts District, has partnered with well-known delivery apps in the past. However, he no longer does for the quality of both the timing of the service and how long it takes for the food to get in hungry customer’s hands.

“They give bad service,” Bohlander said. “When we have used them in the past, takeout sitting on the bar for an hour. I don’t want my name, our food, associated with that service.”

Bohlander was disappointed to see The Wheel Barrel’s menu back on the popular delivery app, DoorDash, on Friday.

“If you want to do business with someone, you should talk to them,” Bohlander said.

The Wheel Barrel isn’t the only Topeka business that has experienced this. Paisano’s Ristorante is contracted with two delivery apps, and Manager Doug Pollock said it’s going great.

However, they also saw their menu on the app Grubhub, whom they did not agree to work with.

“When a delivery does go out they’ll go through them,” Pollock said. “Then, when the customer complains, they call the restaurant and the restaurant doesn’t know what anybody’s talking about.”

Pollock said he worries that one bad review about the delivery through the app could have a negative effect on the restaurant.

“Everybody’s going through rough times right now and it just makes it rougher for everybody else, customers and the business owners,” Pollock said.

A majority of orders through GrubHub are from restaurants the delivery app partners with, according to a spokesperson. However, that is not the case for all.

“Starting in late 2019 in select cities across the country, we’ve added restaurants to our marketplace when we see local diner demands for delivery so the restaurant can receive more orders and revenue from deliveries completed by our drivers,” the spokesperson said. “This is a model that other food delivery companies have been doing for years as a way to widen their restaurant supply, and we’re using it as well in some markets to create a level playing field.”

Jeremiah Bullfrogs Bar and Grille has also experienced this same situation, with orders placed through Grubhub and DoorDash without working with them, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Before you place an order, Pollock said it’s best to call local restaurants to see what delivery apps they do partner with, because, for these local businesses, that support goes a long way.

“It means the world,” Bohlander said. “That’s the only reason we’re here.”

Pollock and Bohlander said they have reached out to these delivery apps, and their concerns have been ignored.

KSNT News reached out to DoorDash for comment, and have not heard back.

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