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The Food Delivery App Dilemma

An AFP journalist checks the DoorDash food delivery application on her smartphone in Washington, DC.
An AFP journalist checks the DoorDash food delivery application on her smartphone in Washington, DC.

Social distancing has now become the norm in many parts of the country, which means that businesses that rely on crowds of customers are struggling. Local restaurants are in particular need.

That’s why many loyal customers have turned to apps like GrubHub, DoorDash and Seamless to have their favorite dishes delivered right to their doors. These apps provide useful infrastructure to many businesses looking for ways to fill as many orders as possible.

But how much of the bill actually makes it back to those local restaurants?

The short answer is that it varies.

Some customers avoid using the apps at all so their entire payment stays within their community. But some apps have found ways to charge local restaurants even if customers attempt to phone directly.

What’s the relationship between delivery apps and local restaurants really like? What’s the right balance between customer convenience and responsibility?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

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