Food delivery platforms took the world by storm, and between Doordash, GrubHub, Seamless, Uber Eats (shall we go on?) the options are virtually endless. But with the amount of food options us hungry New Yorkers have to choose from, it seems as if some spots are getting a bit crafty–and deceptive to say the least.
As reported by Upper East Site, delivery apps encourage restaurants to “take on multiple personas with different menus to fill gaps in the neighborhood.” In other words, the food you’re ordering may not actually be from where you think it is.
The local UES platform has reportedly discovered 76 different restaurant listings on Seamless, including two long-shuttered Yorkville restaurants, that, behind the scenes, are actually being operated by four different bodegas.
If you’ve ever ordered food from Fatties Philly Cheesesteaks, Baker’s Boys Breakfast Sandwiches, or Croissant Club, for example, your food actually was coming from East Side Market, located at 1463 York Avenue.
According to Eater, this practice is part of a new phenomenon of “virtual brands,” says Scott Landers, co-founder of delivery consultancy Figure 8.
The virtual brands are a way for restaurants to appeal to consumers in categories other than what they’re typically known for, therefore maximizing their revenues.
The brands operate out of already existing brick-and-mortar restaurants, says Eater. Outside companies will come up with the brands and license them to already existing bars and restaurants, who then fulfill the food deliveries and takeout orders.
And these virtual brands may account for more restaurants than we think.
NBC News says a sample of 1,656 NYC Uber Eats listings showed that more than 1 in 5 of them appear to be virtual, and, according to Eater, Williamsburg’s circa-1973 diner Kellogg’s reportedly is responsible for almost 20 different food delivery listings.
So, the next time you’re ordering food on a delivery app you may want to check the restaurant’s address to figure out where your food deliveries are coming from.