A chef cracks a case of food-delivery funny business

The chef of a Michelin-starred Thai restaurant said popular food-delivery apps served her some shenanigans.

January 27, 2020

Pim Techamuanvivit had a weird weekend.

The San Francisco restaurateur went viral in foodie circles when she tweeted about an unusual interaction with a customer. He had called to ask about his delivery order.

But her restaurant doesn’t do delivery

Techamuanvivit did some digging and discovered something alarming.

Someone had used the name of Kin Khao, her Michelin-starred restaurant, to build fake Seamless, Grubhub, and Yelp pages. They all hawked delivery options that don’t actually exist.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, even the menus were fake. They advertised dishes like Vietnamese pho — when Techamuanvivit’s restaurant specializes in regional Thai cuisine.

Smells like shenanigans

Culinary-minded journalists have uncovered lots of shady practices in the food-delivery biz:

  • Grubhub gobbled up thousands of restaurant web domains, and sometimes published them without the real owners’ permission.
  • Yelp even replaced restaurants’ phone numbers — then billed them for a marketing fee.

So how did these faux delivery sites end up online in the first place?

Grubub began adding high-demand restaurants to its platform months ago to give restaurant owners a shot at earning more revenue. But it never actually asked the owners first.

Grubhub said restaurant owners can contact the company to be removed from its platform. Techamuanvivit said she’d be calling her lawyer instead.

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