CHOICE membership

Which food delivery service is best for the restaurant?

When I try to Google this I just get what’s best for me. I want to know which benefits the restaurant (and driver, but that’s easier to find) more.

I would have thought restaurants would have inflated their prices to offset the cost of the app but this doesn’t seem to happen?

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The only ones which ‘benefits’ the restaurant are those which are run by the restaurant themselves. That being they use their own cars/bikes and employees to deliver their own meals.

Alternatively, one goes and collects their ordered meals if they use a delivery service

Other third party deliver services charge significant commissions which substantially reduces the margins the restaurant/food outlet makes.

Why do businesses use them…the businesses which use them think it is a necessary evil. If they didn’t, their turn over and potential exposure to new customers would be reduced as many use these services for meal delivery for their convenience, without realising the impact in the business.

This hasn’t happened in the food industry like the accommodation industry which has increased prices to cover commissions. I understand that food outlets haven’t increased as there are many outlets which don’t deliver, thus causing those who deliver to match prices. Imagine the number of customers lost if prices increased by a third to those businesses who don’t deliver and increase their prices.

The accommodation industry is different and almost all use the booking services which charge commissions and there isn’t substantial competitors who don’t use the services. This is why when you go direct to an accommodation provider, they will most likely give a discount as booking commission doesn’t need to be paid. Getting discount from a food outlet because you don’t use the delivery service is near impossible as non-delivery meals are where the food outlets make money.

Some food outlets have also moved away from delivery services as they can significantly impact on a businesses profitability, especially when competing for customers with those businesses who don’t deliver.

Edit: would I use a delivery service, no. This is based in working in the hospitality industry, knowing the impact on the business. While it is ‘nice’ to have convenience, should such convenience be at the cost of the business or those who desire it. Currently it sits solely with the business.

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Restaurants are forced into price competition and also into participating in the discount programs of the order/delivery services. Recently my inbox has been flooded with 5 to 10% discounts on orders to free delivery for a minimum spend. There are ‘opportunities’ to tip the drivers who otherwise seem to get paid/earn very little. :roll_eyes:

I only ever ordered for online purchase/delivery twice during lockdown, and both were OK experiences such as take-away delivery can be. In contrast I occasionally order from some favoured locals who ‘own and operate’ their own delivery.

Other than exposure and volume and being forced to join the marketplace as a matter of competition restaurant P/L has to be affected. Order/delivery is one of many ‘new industries’ providing ‘valuable services’ many of us did not know we needed, that allows them to skim more money from the pot. Some consider this good for the economy because it creates (gig) jobs and dividends and helps small businesses with advertising and volume. Others do not agree.

As to comparative benefits of which is best for the restaurant? I suspect most restaurants have the ‘standard’ contract, but it is probable those with high enough volume get more beneficial or even bespoke deals as is common with many contracts for various products and services.

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I can relate the experience of a friend who owns a moderately sized restaurant. the introduction of Jobkeeper allowed him to afford to do an experiment: employ his own delivery drivers, and compare the cost to what he pays UberEats. He didn’t have a special deal with UberEats - it was the normal 30%. Turned out, it costs him exactly the same to keep a team of delivery drivers on as the commission he pays to UberEats. (The jobkeeper subsidy was not factored into the cost - he was talking about the cost on an ongoing basis). That’s probably not what what people would expect. The main benefit would be for his drivers, who were paid award rates, not the below minimum wage outcomes that we hear of from gig economy workers. A potential downside for the customers though is UberEats makes getting surge capacity easy, so if the restaurant is really busy the wait time for the meals won’t be as long.

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My local pub (preferred for home delivery, yummy food) started out by doing their own deliveries but switched to Menulog. The prices have gradually increased over the past 12 months. a year ago, their snittie, salad and chips was $10 in the pub, and $12 delivered. Now, its $17. I havent eaten in the pub for a year so I dont know what the current in house price is.

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I think it’s shonky that Menulog have been inserting themselves as an unwanted middleman between myself and a restaurant I patronise.

There is a lovely Indian Restaurant at my local shops called Delhi to Canberra. During the last year we have ordered takeaway from this restaurant on several occasions.

As I see it, I have searched for this restaurant’s website, so that I can order directly from them. I have found the website, pressed the “Order Online” button, placed my order, and driven up to the restaurant some time later to collect the order. And the restaurant staff said to me, “Can you please order from our website, because Menulog take a cut when you order through them.”

It’s taken me several tries to unravel this confusion, and I’ve only succeeded because I heard rumours that fake websites had been created for American restaurants.

The restaurant’s own website is www.delhitocanberra.com.au. This genuine website can be found in Google’s profile for the business. It provides an online ordering interface. There’s a phone number and a ‘book a table’ button.

But the website that comes up at the top of the google search for “Delhi To Canberra” - the only likely candidate on the first page of the results - is www.delhi-to-canberra.com.au. These are not readily distinguishable in spoken conversation, nor is it likely to attract notice as being a different domain name unless and until you become aware that there are two such websites.

I think that Menulog are exploiting Google’s Pagerank algorithm via their own network of websites; naturally their main website outscales that of a single outlet restaurant, and if they provide a link to their fake website from their main website, then that fake website is going to get a major boost in search ranking prominence.

This web page passes itself off as the restaurant’s own. It includes photographs of indian food, as you’d expect. It includes a thumbnail version of the same logo that appears on the restaurant’s menus etc. It says, “You can find us in Melba at 12 Chinner Crescent, just a short drive from Melba Shops.“ - and those are my quote marks; there are no quote marks on the web page at the time of writing.

It is only if you scroll to the very bottom of the page that Menulog’s name and logo appears. Even after seeing that, a reasonable person would think that the restaurant had chosen to have Menulog host their website - the word ‘us’ is significant. The prominently placed “Order Online” button leads to menulog.com.au as if this were the restaurant’s preferred online ordering mechanism. There is no phone number.

This looks like false advertising to me.

Worse, if you order through Menulog, the price is higher; at 29 March 2021 I find that Butter Chicken is $18.90 direct from the restaurant, but $20.90 through Menulog, and there’s no indication that the price has been inflated.

I don’t want to do business with Menulog. I dislike the way they exploit their delivery drivers. Yet, on at least two occasions, I have thought I had little choice but to do so. I must have paid $10-$20 more than I would have directly, on each occasion, and since I can use the genuine ordering interface just fine, and I collect the food myself, Menulog have done nothing for me. Shonky as!

My local Indian Restaurant is very small by comparison to Menulog. And no person who had visited the restaurant in question would describe them as being “just a short drive from Melba Shops” - they’re part of the main square of the shops, they use the same parking spaces.

This suggests to me that Menulog probably have a very large number of fake websites for Australian restaurants.

Edit 30/3/2021 links corrected, thanks syncretic!

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The links you give do not work, if I add the suffix .au to them both they do. I cannot see that menulog could put up their web site using all the same details as the restaurant without the agreement of the restaurant, it looks to me that the restaurant has signed up with menulog so it is odd that they tell you not to use the service.

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Menulog can’t jus randomly decide to take a restaurant on. I use menulog for its convenience. I prefer to use Paypal to pay for my meals, or Apple Pay, but the restaurants which are local to me don’t take PP. and some don’t take apple pay and insist on cash. They lost me when the pandemic hit. Also, now, I have access to many more restaurants than I did, originally, and more are getting on board with menulog as time goes on. There was only 5 available to my address when I first used “Eat Now” which seems to have been taken over by menulog, but in the last 6 months that number has increased to 36.

I get that the restaurants increase the delivery price as opposed to the walk in price… I imagine menulog takes a rather large cut. The drivers don’t get much, and its rare to get the same driver twice, because they move on to other jobs asap. Menulog also seems to scoop up immigrants… I sometimes wonder if they are all quite legal, but they have to earn a crust and menulog is clearly exploiting them. Delivery fee of $1.99 will never cover the cost of running the car to do the job. I’m betting delivery fee will bounce back to $4.99 over this coming weekend.

Restaurants can also choose to allow ordering via Menulog but still take care of the delivery themselves but some have ridiculously expensive fees and one avoids those like the plague. I’m not paying $8 - $15 for a $20 meal to be delivered only a couple of km.

Not necessarily how it works around here. Although Menulog are quite prominent when using Google.

I tried our area, firstly by going directly to Menulog. I found only 3 fast food providers listed by Menulog, including Bombay Bliss, Pizza Hut and a local Italian burger/pizza/pasta/F&C. All 3 indicated delivery was by the business. All had minimum orders and delivery fees, $5, for PH and $9, $10 for the other two.

When I searched by name with Google, Pizza Hut and Bombay Bliss outrank Menulog. Google does bring up a large sidebar entry that can lead to Menulog.

It’s important to read the fine print on a web page and check what the address bar is indicating.

The third Da Marino, the “famous Landsborough Italian Restaurant” does not have a website, other than the top hit on Menulog. It also does have listings on Facebook, Trip Advisor etc with a local phone number. A local tourism site (business listing service) provides a web address that returns a server not found error.

The menu looks great and is probably the best and widest selection of Indian food I have seen.

Luckily I was already planning to cook Chicken Tandoori tonight with a half-price Coles free range chicken I bought yesterday or I would be having withdrawl symptons after reading that menu.

DuckDuckGo has the same problem - and the restaurant’s legitimate website did not show up in the first four pages. That said, I wonder if this is a problem with the website itself - although when I do a Google search it provides the Menulog link in search but the correct link in its side bar.

A quick scroll through Google tells me that the restaurant’s own site is not in the first 300 results - although these do include https://delhitocanberraindianrestaurant.business.site. (No idea who owns that one - I didn’t visit it.)

Bing also features the correct website - this time top and centre of the search results.

That said, I have had a look at the website code. While I am no expert, I suspect that the line:

meta name=“robots” content=“noindex,nofollow”

(brackets removed so the forum will actually show it) means what this site says it means. That is, the website has been tagged to tell search engine bots to stay away. Experts welcome to correct me, otherwise you may want to mention this problem next time you deal with the restaurant.

I agree with you that it looks like misleading and deceptive conduct by Menulog. Not sure what the business can reasonably do, though - unless it has spent the time and money needed to trademark the name.

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It is a tag to do as you say ie inform robots/crawlers not to index the site, but it isn’t enough to stop all of them. If they however use any google cookies/meta-cookies/analytics/maps etc they can be contractually obliged to allow the Google crawlers and the Crawlers will happily ignore the no crawlers tag.

https://delhitocanberraindianrestaurant.business.site/ is run by https://www.ozfoodhunter.com.au and is the Restaurant’s ozfoodhunter site. This site is “powered by Google” and so will be subject to those conditions.

The Menulog® site is also similarly laced with Google™ as is the business’s own website

The business seems to rely heavily on delivery services to supply it’s ordering system and even includes google’s tagmanager to manage it’s tags. The business has placed the link to drive the ordering to Menulog, this is their own addition not Menulog’s. When they created/updated the website they must have added in the Menulog script as provided by Menulog to provide the link or Menulog created the site on their behalf as part of their service agreement with the business. Please note the coding below has been slightly changed to make it inactive as a referrer. It may display on some devices as Order Online as it is still a bit of legitimate code

<a class="header__call-to-action" href="https://www DOT menulog DOT com DOT au/restaurants-dehli-to-canberra-melba/menu?utm_source=delhi-to-canberra DOT com DOT au&amp;utm_medium=microsites&amp;utm_campaign=microsites" aria-label="Order Online" onclick="setIsNavigatedToTrue()">
                                Order Online
                            </a>

In regards to https://delhi-to-canberra.com.au/
The Domain Registrant is Instra, the site uses Cloudflare and from blacklight is the following report

" This site allows Google Analytics to follow you across the internet.

This site uses Google Analytics and seems to use its ”remarketing audiences” feature that enables user tracking for targeted advertising across the internet. This feature allows a website to build custom audiences based on how a user interacts with this particular site and then follow those users across the internet and target them with advertising on other sites using Google Ads and Display & Video 360. A Google spokesperson told The Markup that site operators are supposed to inform visitors when data collected with this feature is used to connect this browsing data with someone’s real-world identity. You know when those shoes you were looking at follow you around the internet? This is one of the trackers leading to that. This feature appeared in fifty percent of popular websites when we scanned them in September 2020."

This business also has a Facebook page at

@racheldbarker is probably better off ringing the Restaurant on (02) 6259 8033 to order their meals than to order online in this case to avoid both the Menulog system and any tracking they are trying to avoid.

I don’t think this is a shonky just rather too much reliance on other providers to supply their presence.

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I agree. Many businesses try to expose themselves across as many platforms as possible to try and increase their patronage. While some platforms may cost the business an ‘arm and leg’ and may not be in the interests of the business (nor the customer), it could be seen as a necessary evil.

It is possible that the restaurant has created the additional website using the Menulog platform to cover some of the additional costs associated with using Menulog (increasing their prices on this platform website)…rather than Menulog poaching information from their own website (which have lower prices). It appears that they have done this to pass on the cost of convenience to their customers.

What you have raised is to check that a website and pricing is of the restaurant and not that used through Menulog.

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Although trademarks can be registered to speed up the process, trademarks (like copyright) are automatic. As long as you can prove that you were the first to be using that name, the other business is in the same market and it could reasonably be confused with you.

The problem lies in that if Menulog has created the website, they would throw all the lawyers they could at the case, lest it become a precedent. And most small businesses cannot afford to fight that (that’s where trademark registration does speed the process)

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