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🥡 Google’s sketchy restaurant play

The Hustle

Good news if you hate changing clocks. Yesterday, the US Senate passed legislation to make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023, citing potential reductions in seasonal depression and benefits for businesses that use light, like golf courses. It’s not official yet — the bill, appropriately named the “Sunshine Protection Act,” still needs to clear the House.

In today’s email:

  • Order hijacking: Restaurants vs. Google, explained.
  • Chart: Why people are really leaving their jobs.
  • Destabilizing: The war’s impact on the global gig economy.
  • Around the web: The internet’s carbon footprint, finding your next great read, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about Starbucks’ plan to build the gas station of the future, why AMC bought a literal gold mine, Meta making its employees do their own laundry, and more.

The Big Idea
Google diner

Restaurants vs. Google, explained

In 2020, Forbes reported that Google gets 1B+ searches for restaurants each month, leading it to add new features like star ratings, photos of popular dishes, and partnerships with delivery platforms.

All of this was supposedly to help merchants, but one restaurant group claims Google is actually hijacking orders.

Left Field Holdings operates Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, a fast-casual chain in Florida. Left Field is suing Google, saying it tricks customers via an “unauthorized online storefront.”

How it works:

  • Customers search for a restaurant on Google
  • A business profile appears on the left with a big blue “Order Online” button
  • The button leads to a page where 3rd-party apps like DoorDash and Grubhub are prominently featured, while the restaurant’s own website appears as a simple link

The claim argues that Google does this without permission, deceiving customers and leading them to place orders with delivery services, not the restaurant itself.

A Google spokesperson disagrees…

…and told Ars Technica that Google receives no compensation from the tool, which only exists so that customers can easily order from restaurants that allow delivery.

Per Google’s support page, the button is available to any restaurant that accepts 3rd-party orders and restaurants can set preferences or turn it off.

But if restaurants do nothing, Google seems to set up a default page.

Keller Lenkner, a law firm representing Left Field, sees class-action potential and is soliciting other plaintiffs on its website.

Why it matters

Third-party apps charge commissions as high as 30% of the order value. Amid the pandemic, when restaurants could only do takeout or delivery, several cities had to put caps on those fees to help struggling business owners.

So why do business with them?

The lawsuit claims restaurants often partner with apps in the hopes that customers will discover them, then begin ordering from them directly.

Lime Fresh, for example, has its own ordering system. It incurs no fees for takeout, and partners with DoorDash on delivery for a lower, fixed fee. But it loses money if you use an app instead, and therein lies the problem.

Related: In 2019, Grubhub was lambasted for registering 23k+ domain names matching restaurant names, without the businesses’ consent, to capture orders. Grubhub claimed it was just trying to help.

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Starbucks wants to ditch disposable cups by 2025, meaning customers will have to either bring their own mug or borrow one. #ecommerce-retail

An environmental law organization in the UK has sued 13 Shell directors, claiming the company has not prepared a strategy for net-zero. #clean-energy

Ouch: Former Nintendo exec Reggie Fils-Aimé says that Meta isn’t an “innovative company,” instead acquiring or copying others — and he doubts its metaverse vision. #emerging-tech

Marketing: A study found customers don’t like retargeted or location-based ads, but they’re chill with email, loyalty programs, and contests. #privacy

Cowbell Cyber, a startup that uses AI to help small businesses manage cybersecurity risks, just raised $100m. #fintech-crypto

Fare hike: Lyft joins Uber in adding a gas surcharge. Passengers will pay an unknown amount — Uber’s is 45-55 cents — to go to drivers. #big-tech

% of workers leaving their jobs

Zachary Crockett

Why people are really leaving their jobs

The Great Resignation has been the economic buzzword of the pandemic.

The share of workers voluntarily resigning jumped from 2.3% in January 2021 to 3% in December, per Federal Reserve data.

But why are so many leaving their jobs? And what are they doing afterward?

We wanted to know, so we surveyed 1.1k+ people who left jobs during the pandemic. We met with all kinds of folks, including:

  • Lucas Ochoa and Madeleine Pembelton, who resigned from roles in food and retail for wildly different reasons.
  • Verena Goetz, who strove to find more family time.
  • Dominic Walton, a new entrepreneur who left high-paying corporate life.

Surprisingly, some of their good fortune probably wouldn’t have happened in any other job market. Read on to find out why.

Read the full story →
Free Resource

So… Instagram Reels, Snapchat, or TikTok?

Gen Z’s favorite short-form video social platforms (bleh) are heavy hitters.

We miss Vine. Just felt right.

But the good news is these 3 apps are major assets for marketers: Instagram and TikTok maintain the 2nd and 4th highest ROI, respectively.

This HubSpot blog post expounds on Instagram Reels, Snapchat, and TikTok to help you decide which platform best fits your business’s needs.

Inside this blog post:

  • Overview on Instagram Reels, Snapchat, and TikTok
  • Breakdowns on user base, user behavior, and platform features
  • Data-backed summaries to help you rake in more ROI

If you haven’t noticed, we keep on trying to feed you.

Read the blog post for well-filtered insights.

Reels, Snap, or Tik? →
Global Gigs
gig websites

How the war is destabilizing the digital gig economy

The gig economy is one of the clearest examples of globalization, connecting companies with qualified workers around the world.

Many of those contractors live in Ukraine and Russia.

A 2017 University of Oxford study found Ukraine and Russia represent the 7th and 12th largest global suppliers of digital gig work, respectively -– meaning it’s a tumultuous time for gig workers and the companies that hire them.

So what’s going on?

In Russia, tens of thousands of gig workers have been barred from platforms like Upwork due to economic sanctions against the country.

In Ukraine, many gig workers are still working, but others have had to push deadlines and put projects on pause.

American companies…

… use gig work platforms — like Upwork, Fiverr, and — to find highly skilled talent in fields including software development, graphic design, and video editing.

Per Wired, countries like Ukraine and Russia have attracted American and European companies because workers tend to be:

  • Well-educated
  • Tech savvy
  • Willing to work for lower wages than their American and Western European counterparts

Continued conflict could lead to further destabilization, exposing just how much these companies and workers rely on each other.

BTW: If you’re interested in supporting Ukrainian gig workers, Upwork is allowing direct donations through its platform.

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🚗 On this day: In 1966, GM celebrated its 100-millionth car built in North America, an Oldsmobile Toronado. It celebrated its 100-millionth US-built car, a Chevy Caprice Custom Coupe, on April 21, 1967.

💻 That’s interesting: The internet uses 416.2TWh per year. Use this site to see the carbon footprint of any website.

📗 Useful: The StoryGraph helps you find the perfect book to read based on your preferences.

🌕 That’s cool: This site lets you experience the Apollo 11 moon landing from the perspective of the crew and Mission Control.

🗑️ Art: An artist makes a tiny dumpster.

Meme of the day

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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