Fresh food-delivery shenanigans

January 28, 2020

The Hustle

Five-star hotels are out, and 8-bit accommodations are apparently in. The ’70s-era gaming company Atari announced yesterday that it’s building video-game themed getaways in major cities across the US. If throwbacks aren’t your thing, today:

  • A chef exposes food-business fraud
  • Spirit’s success story borders on odd
  • Diamond miners try to rule the sod
The Hustle Daily Email

A chef cracks a case of food-delivery funny business

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.

Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter View in Browser

⌛Only 96 hours left to score 40% off an annual Skillshare membership⌛

Excellent news, our sweet baby beagles: There’s a way to improve yourself and your career in 2020 that doesn’t involve reading The Economist while you hit the elliptical. 

How? Simple — develop the kind of skills that would put both Napoleons (Dynamite and Bonaparte) to shame with Skillshare.

Way more skills for way less money

Get access to their entire catalogue of skills, including…

  • Art of the Start: Creating Your First High-Growth Business,
  • Intro to Mobile App Design, and my personal favorite,
  • How to Write (Smart)

… all for less than $5/month. But heads up: The sale ends January 31st.

If you’re ready to take your photography, creative writing, web design, marketing, coding, business, and basically any other skill you can think of to the next level, get 40% off an annual Skillshare subscrippy now.

Skills, baby, skills →
keyboard image

An anti-virus program keeps your computer clean. It sells your data, too

An offshoot of the cybersecurity titan Avast Antivirus sells its users’ web-browsing data to some of the world’s biggest companies, according to an investigation by Motherboard and PCMag.

What kind of data? Practically everything. Keywords people punch into Google, YouTube clips they watch, and, um, X-rated videos they ogle.

Nervous yet? Don’t go scrubbing that Chrome history

The data doesn’t include personal information, so users can’t be identified by name. Even so, the market for the data is sprawling, and corporate America wants a piece of the pie.

  • Avast claims to have 435m+ active users per month
  • The subsidiary that collects the data, Jumpshot, says it has information from 100m+ devices.
  • Google, Pepsi, Sephora, and Home Depot are all past, present, or potential clients.

Here’s why it’s important: Jumpshot’s data may not be totally anonymous — in fact, it’s hard to completely de-identify any data. 

In the big picture, the investigation is just more evidence of how huge tech companies are making money off your digital footprints. As Jumpshot itself once boasted: “Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site.”

Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter View in Browser
Spirit Airlines airplane image

Spirit’s reputation sucks. Here’s why it’s successful anyway

Everybody has a story about an airplane flight from hell. But for some reason, the internet’s true tales of flying Spirit Airlines are usually the weirdest. Consider:

  • The bat that was flying around in the cabin. 
  • The pet hamster that was flushed down an airport toilet. 
  • The mysterious stench that forced the plane to land.

These are just a few reasons why the budget-conscious carrier is such a popular punching bag. 

A recent analysis of major airlines’ positive and negative Twitter mentions found that 69% of tweets about Spirit were negative — a higher share than any other major carrier.

But the company keeps making money. How?

The short answer: It’s all about unbundling. Travelers complain about Spirit’s nickel-and-dime pricing. But as Rob Walker writes for Medium, the company’s innovative approach may have been ahead of its time:

  • Spirit’s no-frills fares put pressure on its competitors. Those “basic economy” tickets you see everywhere else? Thank Spirit for them.
  • It succeeds because it has a clear value proposition. “Spirit has delivered on what it actually promises,” Walker writes: cheap flights. For many customers, the price tag is all that matters.
Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter View in Browser
The Hustle says…

2020 is the year to go green (if you haven’t already). Here’s an easy way to start: pick up a kitchen compost bin like this one on Amazon. 

It’s 2020 — stop passing out business cards that look like they’re from 2006. Take advantage of MOO’s 25% off sale to stock up on top-of-the-line collateral (but hurry, it ends tomorrow).*

What if you’d invested in Netflix at $1.85/share? You’d be up 18,196.00%. Who called it? The Motley Fool. Check out their top 5 growth stock picks under $49 before they blow up.*

*This is a sponsored post.

diamond image

Meet the company that upended the world’s diamond economy

As the old saying goes, diamonds are forever. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be disrupted.

A Canadian company called Lucara figured out how to do it. The company is known for unearthing some truly gigantic gems. A diamond known as the Sewelô was discovered at a Lucara mine in Botswana last year. 

  • The Sewelô weighs 1,700+ carats. (!)
  • That’s about as big as a tennis ball.
  • One expert estimated that the stone is worth $6.5m to $19.6m.
  • Louis Vuitton actually bought a stake in it.

The New Yorker’s fascinating story of the company’s rise sounds a little like the way diamonds are formed — it took pressure, time, and geographic good luck.

People worry that diamonds are dirty, but demand is soaring

There are only a few dozen big diamond mines operating across the world. But 150m+ carats of rough diamonds were produced in 2017 — one of the highest-volume years on record. 

Um, what about those blood diamonds?

Everybody’s asking. So mining companies have had to get creative.

Enter Lucara, diamond-disruptor extraordinaire

Here are three ways Lucara shook things up:

  1. It looked in new places. The frozen reaches of northern Canada are a hot source of diamonds. Lucara’s CEO made some big discoveries there, back when she worked for her father’s company.
  2. It looked to other industries. Lucara used X-ray transmission technology, which is more commonly used in recycling, to better locate diamonds without damaging them.
  3. It created a new market. The company’s blockchain-secured platform, Clara, makes it easier to sell rough diamonds individually to retailers.

For all the company’s success, its outlook isn’t all diamonds and pearls. Canadian mines are relatively young, but they might soon be tapped out.

Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter View in Browser

🏈 Fumble! The Twitter accounts of a bunch of NFL teams got hacked.

📱Is secondhand screen time as dangerous to kids as secondhand smoke?

🚂 Overnight-rail travel is on the rise. “Flight shame” might be the cause.

🔬Video-game company to players: Don’t use our game to model coronavirus.

🏀 Kobe Bryant has an enduring legacy among gamers. Here’s why.

Want snippets like these in your browser? Download our Chrome extension here.

How did you like today’s email?

hate it


love it
Now Playing Now Playing:
Chromatics, Toy.
[%Count%] Share the Hustle
Conor Grant
Conor Grant
Nick Desantis
Nick DeSantis
Bobby Durben
Bobby Durben
Meg Furey-Marquess
Meg Furey-Marquess
Brad “1 Michelin Star” Wolverton
Sandy Berger
Director of Desert Food Supplies
Facebook Instagram Trends
You opted in by signing up, attending an event, or through divine intervention. 251 KEARNY ST. STE 300, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94108, UNITED STATES • 415.506.7210 Never want to hear from us again? Break our hearts and unsubscribe
The Hustle

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

100% free. We don’t spam. Unsubscribe whenever.


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?

We’re shooting our shot…

Start your mornings with The Daily.

Get the freshly baked 5-minute newsletter every day except Saturdays.

It’s filled with the most interesting stories on business, tech, and the internet.

And written for innovators of every industry. Sign up for the news that slaps.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.

[email-submission-form redirect-to-home="true" button-text="Join Free" include-trends-opt-in="true" id="main-signup-form" fail-url="" success-url="" default-source="thehustleco" default-campaign="home"]
<script type="text/javascript"> var onloadCallback = function() { grecaptcha.render('verify-your-humanity', { 'sitekey' : '6LdddrcZAAAAALyttpvOqiwQGwq5BNhgDz4tMQGE' }); }; function getCookieValue(a) { var b = document.cookie.match('(^|[^;]+)\\s*' + a + '\\s*=\\s*([^;]+)'); return b ? atob(decodeURIComponent(b.pop())) : ''; } function setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, cookieName, defaultValue) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; var existingVal = el.getAttribute('value'); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookieValue(cookieName); if ((existingVal == null || existingVal == '' || existingVal == defaultValue) && (newVal != null && newVal != '')) { el.setAttribute('value', newVal); } } function setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm( wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, defaultValue ) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; if (el != null) { var existingVal = el.getAttribute("value"); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName); if (newVal != null && newVal != "") { el.setAttribute("value", newVal); } } } function initForm() { var wrappingDivs = document.getElementsByClassName('email-submission'); wrappingDivs.forEach(wrappingDiv => { var sp = new URLSearchParams(; setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-source', 'utm_source', 'funnel_source', 'thehustleco'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-campaign', 'utm_campaign', 'funnel_campaign', 'home'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-medium', 'utm_medium', 'funnel_medium', ''); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-referral', 'ref', 'funnel_referral', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-a', 'a', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-c', 'c', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-o', 'o', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-oc', 'oc', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-e', 'e', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-f', 'f', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-r', 'r', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-t', 't', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s1', 's1', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s2', 's2', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s3', 's3', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s4', 's4', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s5', 's5', ''); var error_message = getCookieValue('funnel_error_message'); if (error_message && error_message.trim() != '') { var error = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('funnel-error')[0]; var prev_email = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); error_message = prev_email + " is not valid. Please try again"; error.innerHTML = error_message; = ''; } }); if (false) { initCaptchaFormV2(); } } function initCaptchaFormV2() { var v3RecaptchaResponseEl = document.getElementById('recaptcha-response-v3'); v3RecaptchaResponseEl.parentNode.removeChild(v3RecaptchaResponseEl); var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('main-signup-form'); var subForm = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('email-submission')[0]; var captchaVersion = document.createElement('input'); captchaVersion.class = 'g-recaptcha hidden-input'; captchaVersion.type = 'hidden'; = 'g-recaptcha-response-v2'; captchaVersion.value = 'true'; subForm.appendChild(captchaVersion); var captchaEl = document.createElement('div'); = 'verify-your-humanity'; subForm.appendChild(captchaEl); var captchaApiScriptEl = document.createElement('script'); captchaApiScriptEl.src = ''; captchaApiScriptEl.async = true; captchaApiScriptEl.defer = true; document.head.appendChild(captchaApiScriptEl); } function appendCheckboxes() { var optInDivs = document.querySelectorAll('.trends-opt-in'); optInDivs.forEach(el => { if (el.getElementsByClassName('trends-opt-in-checkbox').length < 1) { var checkbox = document.createElement('input'); checkbox.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('type', 'checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('name', 'trends_opt_in'); var label = document.createElement('label'); label.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-text'); label.textContent = "Yes, I'd like to receive updates on market opportunities before they explode from Trends by The Hustle"; el.appendChild(checkbox); el.appendChild(label);; } }) } window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => { var funnel_email_cookie = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); if ( (true) && (funnel_email_cookie != null && funnel_email_cookie != '') ) { window.location.replace('/home'); } initForm(); if (true) { appendCheckboxes(); } }); </script> <div class="email-signup" id=main-signup-form> <div class="funnel-error" style="display:none;"></div> <form class="email-submission" action="" method="post"> <div class="email-form-wrap"> <input class="funnel-source hidden-input" type="hidden" name="source" value="thehustleco"> <input class="funnel-campaign hidden-input" type="hidden" name="campaign" value="home"> <input class="funnel-medium hidden-input" type="hidden" name="medium"> <input class="funnel-referral hidden-input" type="hidden" name="referral_code"> <input class="funnel-fail-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="fail_url" value=""> <input class="funnel-a hidden-input" type="hidden" name="a" value=""> <input class="funnel-c hidden-input" type="hidden" name="c" value=""> <input class="funnel-o hidden-input" type="hidden" name="o" value=""> <input class="funnel-oc hidden-input" type="hidden" name="oc" value=""> <input class="funnel-e hidden-input" type="hidden" name="e" value=""> <input class="funnel-f hidden-input" type="hidden" name="f" value=""> <input class="funnel-r hidden-input" type="hidden" name="r" value=""> <input class="funnel-t hidden-input" type="hidden" name="t" value=""> <input class="funnel-s1 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s1" value=""> <input class="funnel-s2 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s2" value=""> <input class="funnel-s3 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s3" value=""> <input class="funnel-s4 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s4" value=""> <input class="funnel-s5 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s5" value=""> <input class="funnel-success-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="success_url" value=""> <input id="recaptcha-response-v3" class="g-recaptcha hidden-input" type="hidden" name="g-recaptcha-response" value=""> <input class="signup-email" type="email" name="email" placeholder="Your email address" required> <input class="email-submit" type="submit" value="Join Free"> </div> <div class="trends-opt-in"></div> <div submit-success> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--success">Thank you for subscribing.</p> </template> </div> <div submit-error> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--failed">Your submission failed. Please try again!</p> </template> </div> </form> </div>