I texted the owner about being miffed they hadn’t told me they were on DoorDash. He replied. They aren’t. We compared pricing, and found the prices advertised are way off from what the restaurant charges.
So I placed a $5,000 order to the neighbourhood homeless shelter. DoorDash paid him over $20,000, and I get free pasta for the rest of the year. (My neighbours have also partaken.)
Glad to know it’s scaling. SoftBank has assembled a unique concentration of stupidity for itself.
We’re in the midst of a pandemic. The restaurant stays afloat, nothing more. The shelter got a donation, and I got promises of comped deliveries and catering.
It cost me $5,000; it cost DoorDash over twenty thousand.
No worries. I don’t feel anyone did anything wrong here.
> a lot of pizza
Orecchiette and Nebbiolo :).
Any judge with a surname ending with a vowel would pardon you, should they get pinged by DD
Great that you're donating to the homeless!
Generally, €10 for a pizza is the average one in EU. Only in UK people is prone to pay an average of 18 pounds for it, which is sick.
A small basic pizza is $8-$10 here. Domino's always has a deal where you can get 2 medium pizzas for $6/each. (used to be $5).
But if you're buying larger, specialty pizzas without coupons/promotions then you're going to be paying more like $20/pizza.
My pizzas are usually small and plain, so I'm closer to the $10 mark.
Why wouldn't you apply the same principals of ethical hacking, where you would notify the party of the exploit?
in germany, reselling something for less than what you paid for (predatory pricing) is illegal (unless it's already devalued because it's old or used)
Paying part of the meal is part of that strategy. They know full well that large orders and large amounts of transactions cost them more money and they're betting on nobody actually doing this. They're selling products below the cost of production at this point, something that I would argue should not be allowed in ethical capitalism. Investors know fully well what they're investing in, and of not, they've either not kept their responsibility on reading about the company they're investing in, or the company itself is pulling massive investment fraud.
Play shit games, win shit prices. If they don't want to lose money like this, maybe they should have a business strategy that isn't oriented about purposely losing money to bankrupt competitors. They easily could've set a reasonable limit of say $200 dollars to their cheaper transactions but they chose not to.
Would I go full ethical when finding exploits for an inherently unethical company? Would I dutifully report flaws to companies selling "adult supervision" apps used by controlling spouses? Would I give "bank phishing on demand" websites a 90 day trial period? I don't think so. Making such software is perfectly legal (in many jurisdictions) but is rarely ever ethical. Ethics would need to come from two sides for me to consider responsible disclosure. I have flooded several phishing databases with fake information, got some of them over their resource limit and shut down as well, and I don't feel the smallest bit of regret.
Predatory pricing hardly works in economic theory and is working disastrously for a lot of the companies trying it (eg. Ubers financials)
They money grab got a lot worse after they pushed out all the alternatives and just like with Google, everybody has to play by their rules or they'll be mostly undiscoverable for a large portion of the general public. Their delivery people are still underpaid, but by increasing their percentage of the bill they take for themselves they're now turning a profit. It's gotten to the point where companies are not even allowed to lower their prices when people use other delivery systems (or the restaurant's own personnel) which are cheaper.
The company only got this large because they could afford making losses for many years. Now other companies such as Doordash are trying to cut into the market as well, using hundreds of millions of foreign cash flows and putting business owners under even more pressure. Had there not been a company doing this since 2014, Doordash or any of its competitors would have taken the market regardless.
Walmart and McDonalds are masters of this approach.
Uber is a long-term play at disrupting cabs/transportation cartels and incorporated self-driving cars into a non-literal roadmap. They're in it for the long play, and even if they hemorrhage money for a while longer it may, in fact, play out in their favor.
Predatory pricing is intentionally setting loss-making prices to drive out competition to then hike prices to profitable levels.
Notice this isn't what "ultra returns to scale" businesses are doing -- they're just profitably pricing low.
There is presumably some regulatory burden preventing someone from doing this. Maybe you can't move planes from one route to another so easily etc. But then that's how the company does it. Without that method of forcing the new competitor to incur unrecoverable costs, they can't do it.
It's theoretically possible to have a natural market barrier like that, but in practice to be a barrier that large it's nearly always a regulatory compliance issue. The law says you can't sign up customers on long-term contracts, preventing new competitors from locking in customers at the current price rather than the below-cost price. The law says an ISP has to serve the whole city and not just one neighborhood, increasing the startup capital required by a factor of a hundred. The law prohibits adversarial interoperability, so you can't distribute your own apps unless you can manufacture your own phones.
Most monopolies don't come from natural causes.
At best you could try to argue that they make their money fleecing dumb "business owners" who pay for franchises.
Their pricing and food is a gimmick, didn't that movie The Founder and the subsequent articles from various outlets pretty much lineout how Mcdonald's actual business model relies on Property Management and franchising? 
The food, competitively priced (questionable food costs and sources are the bigger story not told) or not is only the hook/marketing costs to get you to show up in Corporate's business model, the real money is in leasing the property and the brand name to the Local owner.
Personally speaking, I had the misfortune of eating at Mcdonalds during this COVID shutdown on more than one occasion as grocery stores were closed by the time I got off work.
And other than nostalgia for what was once a haven of my childhood, I cannot bring myself to put that stuff into my body without feeling nausea afterward. Everything is overly sweet, or salty; I remember the pickles and the fries from the happy meal being pretty decent as a kid in the 90s that went down with the Hi-C orange soda, having had one of those value-meals ($15 is hardly a value mind you) as an adult with the same items was atrocious.
On balance of probability, I think that is just a bullet point to keep the juicy AI flavoured investment funds flowing.
But there are no appreciable logistical or operational efficiencies in how these delivery services operate. And there aren’t any barriers to entry. The workforce is completely fungible so they aren’t locked in. And just the fact that delivery services are popping up like mushrooms suggests it doesn’t take much to start one up.
In theory they could eke put some advantages to scale that keep out upstarts by using machine learning to optimize delivery routes or something. But I doubt that gets them the kind of efficiency gains they would need to actually turn a profit. From what I’ve seen, it looks like their main attempt to freeze out competition is just coming from flooding your search engine hits. I don’t know how sustainable that is either.
And then you make a weird point that software can be unethical (e.g. phising software) and this somehow applies to Doordash. Just to get this straight, making peer to peer scheduling software used for deliveries is unethical? And because of that, its okay to steal from their investors (including many US investors and pension funds)?
Your original comment said it was wrong to exploit a bug, to which the parent poster retorted that this was a feature and not a bug.
Here, you've gone further to claim that this behaviour is stealing, and I'd like to explore that for a minute: what possible moral or legal right does Doordash have to an operating profit when it deliberately operates at a loss?
By all accounts, this below-cost pricing is predatory behaviour on Doordash's part, not the customer's: they seem to break into a market by offering delivery at a subsidized rate, then they take data based on those rates and try to strike fee arrangements with restaurants. At first glance, it seems like they sell themselves based on inflated numbers from the discount period, without disclosing that they were in fact offering customers a discount.
I see no ethical fault in beating a (sophisticated!) predator at their own game, but where do you reach the alternative conclusion?
For me I think it would have. Which makes me pause to consider whether I find the whole scheme too close to the ethical boundary.
Doordash is exploiting and harming the restaurant so that Doordash can make money. I think it's totally fine to make changes to your own site to thwart this. Doordash is in full control of this. They're the ones scraping the site, and they're the ones who should pay the price if they do a poor job.
Also, it occurs to me that if the artificially low prices resulted in doordash recieving more orders than would be usual, I doubt they would have disclosed that in their dealings with the restaurant. Though that is hypothetical and still suffers from the two wrongs don't make a right issue.
> My first thought: I wondered if Doordash is artificially lowering prices for customer acquisition purposes.
> My second thought: I knew Doordash scraped restaurant websites. After we discussed it more, it was clear that the way his menu was set up on his website, Doordash had mistakenly taken the price for a plain cheese pizza and applied it to a 'specialty' pizza with a bunch of toppings.
So I don't think its a feature.
> what possible moral or legal right does Doordash have to an operating profit when it deliberately operates at a loss?
It doesn't have an operating profit whether you exploit the bug or not. Doesn't mean its okay to steal from them. Even if they do deliberately lose money (e.g. first Uber ride free up to $10), exploiting it is unethical (e.g. tricking Uber into thinking you're on a new phone).
The rest of your argument is again, why you don't like Doordash or why Doordash is unethical. I won't address this point because I think its unethical to steal from an unethical company so their ethics is irrelevant.
If I think Walmart is unethical, is it okay shoplift from their stores?
My answer is no. They offered the service at a certain price, you accepted it. Whether either party profits or not is not part of the contract.
So no theft has taken place. If you want to claim that's it's unethical to take the free money that they're offering, you need to provide a justification for why that is. The onus is on you.
The only way I can see you attempting to justify it is by saying that it involves taking advantage of unforeseen consequences of the contract. But as has been pointed out, they fully intended to lose money, so that doesn't work.
In this case a homeless shelter ended up with a lot of pizza (which I'm presuming they consented to receiving), a local business got a cash injection and the OP got some perks. Under your ethical framework a bunch of silicon valley types had to find some other way of pissing $20k up the wall.
I know which outcome I prefer, though I personally wouldn't have done it.
On Wall Street this is called arbitrage.
If you don't want to lose money on sales, don't sell for less than your cost. People buying your product is not "stealing".
Investors know that the company they're investing in will lose a lot of money and the know about the business practices that basically give away money in order to gain popularity. It's not their money anymore after they gave it to the company. It's true that if the company goes bankrupt they lose out, but they can prevent losing that money by not investing on companies handing out free cash.
The software itself is not unethical, the business practices Doordash/Uber/Yelp/etc. follow to make their software popular are. The problem is that these companies seemingly can't make a profit without using huge investments to crush the local competition. If they were to act ethically, I would have no problems with these companies.
Also, taking away future profit is not stealing, it's part of the risk of doing business. Don't stuff your money into risky business ventures if you don't want risk.
It's quite sad that pension funds are investing in these predatory businesses but protecting their investments because they're too big to fail undermine the entire concept of competition in capitalism.
That's fucking awesome. Way to go, man.
This also does probably provide some legal cover as well.
If you order a shitload of real food and the pricing works out well for the restaurant, it's weird but it is still following the rules that DoorDash set out.
That doesn't mean they won't fall afoul of some state or federal laws in doing that.
A delivery service that supported the restaurant would be way way more expensive.
ignoring the fact that this post itself is top of HN and going viral?
He then tweaked his story to say that this cost him $5k. Why did he say he was cutting a deal then?
And when you know your local business owners by name, opportunities like this emerge.
Saudi money (via SoftBank) is paying for poor people's food (and also subsidizing their transportation, via Uber).
And they're also desperate. The future where the world doesn't need their oil (or they've run out) isn't a distant future anymore. It's coming, and coming faster and faster. They need to diversify anyway they can if they want to avoid going back to just being a desert. And so they're jumping at pretty much any deal they see
But yeah, I agree with your main point: they're jumping at deals and chasing big wins, a la Dubai. Cuz they don't really have any other choice.
We'll need oil for plastics even if we stop using it for transportation, and Saudi oil is just about the easiest/cheapest to extract, so we'll be using their oil for a long time, but it won't be as grotesquely profitable for them as in the past.
Oil is just convenient, because you need less energy to make the plastic than if you start with eg water and CO2.
Until WeWork really blew up, it wasn't too hard as an investor to keep up the impression that the track record of Softbank was good enough.
(That's not to say that you couldn't re-interpret the track record in a negative way, even before WeWork. But nothing really forced you to.)
Does that make casinos dumb? No, just imperfect.
Even if the exploited party itself it shady as hell. Say they were a credit card scammer, someone found a way of conning them for money, does that for a while to make some $$$, and then proudly writes a blog article exposing them.
Maybe I'm missing something though. That's looking at it rationally (?), but part of me also feels like, screw Doordash.
Even taking a negligent security posture is not the same as intentionally including a flaw.
If your order to doordash cost $5000, why did they pay the restaurant $20,000? That would suggest their prices are 4 times cheaper to the customer. But I thought everyone complained they were more expensive.
Surely DD are still keeping their commission from your order?
What have I misunderstood?
1) Doordash has some deal with the restaurant, gets a commission on sales, fees, whatever.
2) Doordash has no deal with the restaurant, charges customer $x+y, buys food from restaurant at $x.
In the second case, Doordash may be charging much more than the menu price, if it things it can find customers who will pay it.
So in this story, 'JumpCrisscross paid $x-$y = 5k for an order to a homeless shelter, but the real, restaurant price for that order $x=20k, which means DoorDash has just subsidized the transaction for $y=15k. The restaurant got an extra $20k of business that day, and 'JumpCrisscross bought $20k worth of food for a shelter at 1/4 the price.
And the best part, they could probably do it again :).
EDIT: Reading the article again, it seems to me Doordash is supposed to be charging the customer $x in the lead generation phase; so perhaps the -$y part is a scrapper error.
DD says to Pasta House, see? Look, with DD we facilitated an additional $20k of revenue for you on this day. You should enter into an agreement with us so that we can make this a more seamless process.
In most cases, Pasta House isn’t aware that those orders were drastically under cost and don’t represent actual demand.
5,000$ of pasta would last me and my family until the end of my days.
At ~1-1.2 euros for half a kilo it's around 90 years worth of pasta (based on an average of 28 kilos per person per year in Italy)
What restaurants let you order dry pasta beside the ones in food halls?
I predict we'll see a lot more of that kind of thing with reduced occupancy at restaurants. Come in for a meal, leave with a week's groceries.
And even eating shrimps 3 times a week, with 5,000$ of shrimps a family of 4 could eat shrimps for a year.
Why would someone do this?
"Had no idea you did delivery! Boss just put in an order for a work event! See you Friday?"
A friend of mine works for a restaurant group in NYC and they like many they have had to respond by offering delivery to folks in order to keep some revenue flowing. He and I were chatting and he mentioned that lately, a large majority of high value ($500+) orders were fraudulent with the fraudster ordering things that can be resold such as high-value wine, liquor, etc that isn't necessarily perishable. He says that the scams work like this:
1. The order comes in via Caviar usually with a ridiculous amount of booze. It is usually a courier delivery but he says looking back, some have been picked up by 'customers'.
2. There are some instances where the order gets canceled either by the scammer within the 2 min grace period post ordering of from the actual customer who had their account phished/received some sort of alert/and stopped the transaction.
I am intrigued by this because there is obviously someone on the receiving end that's ending up with a boatload of high-end booze and then offloading it somehow while Caviar eats the dispute later on and still pays the restaurant out.
Literally, thousands of dollars a week of fraudulent booze orders are being fulfilled to people fraudsters using phished accounts with valid cc's. The consumer eventually realizes the charge, disputes it, and gets their money back leaving Caviar with the bill.
Maybe have them try the arbitrage themselves per the article and put the profit _and_ the booze directly in their pockets... (/s?)
I assume DoorDash doesn't want to alienate loyal Caviar customers and so is continuing to operate it independently, similar to how Grubhub and Seamless merged seven years ago but still run two different websites (albeit with identical design).
It's like the 419 emails where they are trying to "recruit a remote working employee in our finance department" where your job is actually to receive fraudulent ACH wire transfers and send the money to some overseas destinations, go to a bitcoin ATM and buy bitcoin to send to the scammer, etc.
If the scammers are reasonably intelligent and have put a degree of thought into how to not get caught doing this, they'll introduce multiple layers of abstraction between the physical delivery of $450 bottles of liquor, and the point at which that booze is turned into (gift cards, bitcoin, ethereum, etc) and ultimately in their hands. They're probably calculating on taking at least a 20-35% haircut on the revenue before the somewhat-cleaned-up cryptocurrency or gift cards makes it to them.
“Not only is this hotel horrible, our guests had their credit card stolen and $500 worth of purchases made on it!!! Reporting this place to the police. Do not even go near this hotel. Total crooks, denied everything when confronted but they were caught red handed” 
...makes you wonder what is really going on.
The reviews are incredible.
The scammers just need to find a fence which is pretty easy if you know where to look. They’ll even tell you what is the best stuff to get.
And because it's the pandemic, i'm sure lots of people wouldn't notice those extra charges to their credit card right away because they already order through those apps. I haven't used UberEats in a year so it was easy for me to notice.
It reminded me of this twitter thread: https://twitter.com/meslin/status/1225834920611848192?lang=e...
In which the author tries to order the Uline "box of boxes", a box of twenty-five (25) 6" x 9" x 6" boxes, only to have Amazon deliver a 6" x 9" x 6" box containing some random product. The collection product from Uline has the same bar code as the box itself, so the pick up robot would scan the shelf for the box, find something that SOME OTHER VENDOR had put into a 6x9x6 Uline box, and pick that to satisfy the query.
Adding automation to a process that any human with visibility to the whole process would say, "Wait, that can't be right." ends up in misbehavior.
No it doesn’t.
Not just because they can be badly calibrated, but also because the range of weight they have to deal with must make it hard to manage any sane range.
The only SCO I’ve seen doing a decent job at dealing with weight use a binary check (“was there any product at all added to the to total weight of the basket ?”) and they still miss products like lollipops or anything too light to pass the range.
Sure much more reliable system could be built, especially at Amazon’s engineering scale. But so far supermarkets are mediocre at best at this game.
Compared the AH in the Netherlands where you just scan the barcode on all your things and they really don't care about the weight or where you put them after scanning.
I'm sure there will be a tiny percentage extra fraud that Tesco may catch with this, but given the choice I don't shop there due to the shitty user experience. That's got to cost them more in lost revenue than the fraud they stop.
I wonder if they built in correlation of items which on a mis-weighed basket.
Those bring their own set of issues, can be difficult to understand and use from the customer, yet they still felt way easier to deal with than the SCO experience.
The handheld scanners are easy to use. All it has is a trigger for scanning (which everyone knows how to do), scroll buttons, and a delete button if you make a mistake.
I checked my order history and my last orders are around:
a box with empty packing would fit within a pound for most of these. I don't intend to nitpick your back of the enveloppe calculation, just that it's not as simple as it seems.
I don't know if I am the typical amazon shopper, but on my 35 orders in the last 6 months the above pattern is repeating with mainly very small items (like cables, dongles etc.) and one big heavy package from time to time.
It can be done, just not sure the parties involved are willing to commit to that level of accuracy.
Weirdly, Amazon still made me mail back the underweight one (I would happily have paid the correct amount for the smaller quantity to save the trouble of remailing) and a few days later sent out the correct one. You'd think in this case they have a record of the actual weight of the package and could sort things out instantly, but apparently not.
Verifying shape would be difficult without knowing what to expect beforehand, but can also be gamed.
You won’t get the precision of supermarket weighting if you are dealing with diverse restaurants with a dynamic menu.
Seems like when the items arrived at the fulfilment centre, they got mis-scanned and ended up comingled. Presumably that's the stage where you can check weight and volume - eg does this item fit with the known dimensions.
This check must be made somewhere otherwise people wouldn't bother returning high value electronics with rocks inside (presumably someone does a cursory check of weight before the inventory gets comingled again).
For a technology example, you might get a network card with a UPC barcode, but also a MAC address barcode, and a manufacturer's part number barcode. A wholesaler/ manufacturer sells boxes of 20 items to resellers? The outer box will have a barcode. That box got sent by courier? Three barcodes on some mailing labels.
So at a goods-in station, the usual response to "multiple barcodes, some don't make sense" is "Keep trying until you find one that does make sense"
What baffles me is that the store/software can't build a dictionary of "known misdirection" barcodes, like "this is the shipping carton not the product itself, fault and tell the user to rescan, but don't just lock up" when they're seen.
The scanners in supermarkets are made by the same companies and I would assume run on the same software. However, it might be more difficult to ensure a specific type of barcode is used on 100% of products in the store. So if you see the scanner picking up the wrong barcode at the check-out aisle, it is most likely either the scanner is not programmed correctly, or the scanned barcode is the same type as a valid barcode used somewhere else in the building.
As far as handling faults, that would probably be done on the POS system, not the scanner itself. The scanner software is perfectly capable of handling errors in different ways (for example, sending a specific code to indicate two different non-matching barcodes were read in the same pass), but from a functional standpoint, the scanner is 'dumb'.
The actual automated fix should be during stock intake I assume. We ship international parcels with DHL etc and it's a clear stipulation there are NO BARCODES at all on the box apart from the mailing barcode that we generate. Being Amazon, nothing probably happened because they have more money than they need, but I assume they have similar rules and would be justified to ding the suppliers for this cost.
But this was far more interesting. The fact that Doordash scrapes prices, and apparently doesn't verify... how does this happen?
I'm not familiar with the reimbursement model. I'm assuming the driver pays with a credit card, and Doordash reimburses this amount. Regardless, there will now be database entries for a customer paying $160 and Doordash reimbursing $240.
What happens in a company that allows $80 to vanish like that? Unless this is an incentive (I'm doubtful this was deliberate). Wouldn't one of the first things you do is validate your financials? In which case, is the driver getting screwed here? (They charge the customer $160, and reimburse the driver for only that amount)
If not, this opens up a huge potential for fraud. There is a semi-popular YouTube video where some young British folks set up a 'restaurant' in their home kitchen and successfully list on a delivery app. They deliver several orders (reimbursing the customer of course). If it's trivial to get listed, and potentially with the wrong prices, then it's trivial to launder money this way.
Set up a fake restaurant, deliver little/nothing to a known party, profit. Now, maybe it would become obvious if you made the same orders or within the same time frame. But again, trivial to generate randomness.
What protection do these companies actually have against fraud? By nature, they're assuming trust, and this is exploitable.
It kind of happens by default if your goal is "growth at any cost".
The video you mention is likely this one, and it's actually even more extreme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqPARIKHbN8
The fake restaurant in their garden shed, which never took customers or delivered any food, climbed up to #1 best restaurant in London (!) in TripAdvisor's rankings, purely on the strength of fake reviews and fake photos (artfully arranged closeups of bleach tablets etc). For kicks and video gold, they did open for their last night, serving 1-pound microwave meals from the supermarket.
This video features (a) delivery and (b) reimbursement, both mentioned in the original comment but not present in your video.
To this day it is one of my favorites.
Youtube videos have reputation for being fake, I wonder if this is actually true.
In the article they say:
> We found out afterward that was all the result of a “demand test” by Doordash. They have a test period where they scrape the restaurant’s website and don’t charge any fees to anyone, so they can ideally go to the restaurant with positive order data to then get the restaurant signed onto the platform.
I'm totally guessing, but I would bet they do an audit of the numbers after the trial period and would have caught it then.
In general, knowingly obtaining money, goods or services you know you are not entitled to is fraud/illegal.
Here's an example of someone going to jail for knowingly exploiting a glitch: https://www.inquirer.com/philly/hp/news_update/20071026_N_C_...
Of course, no one would order it. But in this situation, an aggregator could offer it and the restaurant owner could take advantage of that.
It smells like fraud, except that every individual step seems legitimate (albeit weird). I'm pretty sure you're allowed to charge ridiculous prices for common goods if you so choose...
"I want a supreme pizza, hold the pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions, olives, sauce, and cheese".
While the restaurant preparing "partial" pizzas to ship to coordinated orders is obviously fraud, I'm not so sure "Asking the restaurant owner about their costs, then independently ordering a large number of pizzas" qualifies.
It's not your responsibility if Doordash has shit code and auditing. And given VC-onomics, it's not even clear how you would be certain this isn't "operating as intended."
How so? They're making the pizzas the way the customer wants them. The 'objective' tastiness is none of the delivery middleman's business. And there's nothing wrong with offering a bad pizza for $24, as long as the customer knows what they're getting.
Way around this: private owner places his own orders as customer, pockets profits as owner. That might be legitimate - but remember: if you take legal advice from the Internet, you get what you paid for.
One could place a personal order (or 100) innocently.
One looks substantially less innocent when coordinating with a third party to place orders and transfer money around.
While that speaks to the severity of the crime (if one were proven), as you noted, it doesn't in any way impact whether that behavior is a crime at all.
If anything, the one who's committing fraud is doordash, because they're putting in "takeout" orders with the restaurant and presenting them as "delivery" orders to the customer.
Now, if I order a dough pizza for $16, in coordination with the restaurant, and Doordash pays $24 to the restaurant, and the restaurant gives me a dough pizza, and then the restaurant makes it worth my while, what do we have?
Doordash has been paid $16, and spent $24 + (cost of delivery) = (-) SoftBank money
The restaurant has been paid $24 and spent ~$1 (cost of dough pizza ) = ~$23 profit (minus labor)
I paid $16 (let's ignore tip). The restaurant reimburses me for that (me: $0, restaurant: $7) to make it worth my while, and then splits profits with me (me: $3.50, restaurant: $3.50).
So at the end, Doordash: -$8 - delivery cost, restaurant: $3.50, me: $3.50.
It's the reimbursement of the customer that seems... suspect.
The way to ethically monetize this would be for restaurants to target Doordash misprices, and "sell" coupons (a food box, containing only a paper coupon), good for future food orders directly through the restaurants. Then encourage all their customers to buy as much as possible.
 We'll say we return and recycle the boxes, being environmentally conscious citizens
You have all those elements when backblaze was shucking drives en masse, but nobody would say that was fraud in any way. https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze_drive_farming/
If you intentionally sell a product for cheaper than you buy it to build market share (I think it's fair to call this intentional when they process the payment and don't bother changing the listed price), and you're willing to sell a whole lot of that product to someone, you can't cry foul when someone profits off that.
Nobody's lying to anybody, no price fixing is happening, or anything. Doordash agreed to sell a product at a price to any of their users, and they are fulfilling the promise they made, end of story.
You could make a good argument that this was the case. The restaurant sells to doordash, who paid for a pizza with toppings.
Though none of this matters if there's a 'special instructions' box. Have a code word for bread pizza.
Does Doordash allow customer menu modification requests? "No cheese, no tomato sauce, no onion" etc. That would also then fall under shit code and auditing :)
Since this was part of a “demand test” door dash is more interested in capturing a large number of orders than per order profitability. Once their digital marketing muscle has doordash originating 10%+ of orders to the restaurant they have the leverage to negotiate a per order fee from the restaurant along with an agreement to force the restaurant to manage their prices on door dash, shifting liability to the restaurant for incorrect pricing online.
How would they know what percentage of orders isc coming through them?
Yes, this causes a significant amount of driver support issues where they have to live chat in because their red card is declining.
The driver is instructed to not give the restaurant receipt to the diner.
Doordash's are debit mastercard, iirc.
If it's trivial to launder money this way then it is a really good idea to build your own food delivery service and start doing all sorts of money laundering through it.
Seen it done a number of times at campuses as the GPS helps the pizza guy find you. Although the pizza guy usually has a very good idea of where the residences are anyway.
I do. I find the app to be a much nicer experience. I see all the available coupons/deals in a list instead of the 1-2 deals the phone person wants to guide me towards. With an app I can start and order and my family/friends can have an extended conversation to figure out exactly what we want on our pizza, what sides/drinks/etc. And in a pinch, we can completely start the order over from scratch if we change our plan mid-way. It would be rude to hold someone on the phone for that. Plus the app gives better real-time update on the status of my order. I know when it leaves the oven, when it gets picked up by the driver, etc.
I would be confused why anyone would buy a chain pizza like this through DoorDash (or a similar service). Beyond the one tenuous benefit of not having to install another app; is it really worth the extra surcharge? Are they even listed in these apps?
Papa Johns is listed on Deliveroo. I often order PJs through Deliveroo when I'm hungry and don't want to think too much.
It costs more in money, it costs less in cognitive load. I know what I'm getting as far as the food is concerned, PJs is remarkably consistent, and I don't need to bother signing up for a new account with someone, working out payment details, etc.
You'd be surprised how many people like myself exist. Not everyone has every aspect of their financial life fully optimised. This is one area where I definitely have room for improvement.
In the mean time, Deliveroo ensures that when I'm exhausted at the end of a long week, I'm only a few clicks away from repeating my last PJs order and my Friday lunch pizza will arrive with minimal effort.
I don't know why but I am saddened by this. I mean, even in the UK they are the biggest?
Outside of a few odd situations now and then, most big chain apps (if they typically take mobile type orders) .. offer a competent experience.
Other benefit is if you sing up for some "club" or email list you'll often get a coupon or etc.
Edit: I have also both read about & seen firsthand food delivery drivers with someone else in the car. It's almost certainly someone from the same household, but still, that's potentially yet another unknown, potentially untraceable person in the loop.
Yes, obviously that will solve the problem that family faces.
To be fair, I guess, the days of random people driving junky old compact sedans filled to the roof with Amazon packages seems to be gone in my area. All the Amazon deliveries are now done by a guy driving a large Sprinter van painted glossy gray with Prime written on the side.
> Note 1: We found out afterward that was all the result of a “demand test” by Doordash. They have a test period where they scrape the restaurant’s website and don’t charge any fees to anyone, so they can ideally go to the restaurant with positive order data to then get the restaurant signed onto the platform.
Like DD, GrubHub, or whatever aren't pretending to be the restaurant (shady website bullshit notwithstanding). They're just saying that they can buy and drive the food to you on your behalf.
As article pointed out it picked up full-toppings pizza as plain cheese.
"Hey in the last month we delivered X amount of your food! If we don't list you then you'll lose those sales."
Table Column A, menu items, lowest to highest in cost.
Table Column B, prices, highest to lowest in cost.
Naive scraper associates rows as menu item and cost.
You use CSS, etc., to rearrange things correctly. People looking at your site get info as intended, scrapers have problems, and it's only a dark pattern to them.
If you're the director, which would you go for?
The author likes to pin this on zero-interest rates ("ZIRP") and that certainly explains why the system is awash with cash but I'd say he's missing a key point here.
When I moved to NYC (~10 years ago) I didn't order delivery at all. Honestly it's a huge pain. To call someone up and try and communicate an order to someone who probably doesn't have the best grasp of English (no offense intended here). I just couldn't be bothered.
What changed was Seamless came along and suddenly I could order food and not have to talk to anyone. It was (and is) amazing. In NYC at least the restaurants are still handling deliveries (with Seamless anyway) so there's still that control. Seamless/Grubhub seem to charge exorbitant fees but that's another issue.
As an aside, this is a key factor in my use for Uber/Lyft: the fact that the process is seamless (pardon the pun). You order a car without talking to anyone, it arrives and it drops you off. There's no awkward payment step. No dealing with a machine that's broken. No card skimming. It just reduces friction.
This is the promise of food delivery platforms: they benefit the consumer in terms of discovery, convenience and the seamlessness of ordering and payment. You might point out that people get cold pizza because UberEats drivers don't have the bag and you're right. But that's not an unsolvable problem.
Oh and this is the first I'd heard of Grubhub replacing Yelp phone numbers with their own call center. More evidence that Yelp is a cess pool that needs to be flushed. It's sad Grubhub is engaging in this. We have enough rent-seekers. Thanks anyway.
It's the same here. Everyone will always tell you that these knew gig economy companies are so much better! Their service is better, they're quicker, you don't have to deal with people, you can order whenever you want etc. etc. But actually, it's probably going to turn out it's just cheap.
It's very likely these services are basically used by 90% of people because they're cheap, and they're cheap because they're losing money to gain market share. The problem is that once they need to turn a profit, they have to drive up margins and now that $16 pizza needs processing fees and costs for the delivery driver - now it's $22. Or more importantly, your $8 starbucks order is now $13. So the second that the prices reflect the true costs these businesses are going to shed customers like you wouldn't believe. Oh and in order to try and curb those costs you're going to see some guy in a broken down car do a tour of the city delivering everyone else's food before yours gets to you.
It's a similar story for rideshares; I think the major benefit they offer over regular taxi is seamless payment that (almost) always works, and is always available.
For example, it's a little bit confusing how to find my place, so something as simple as not having to explain it every time I call up (and inevitably have it transcribed incorrectly) makes a huge difference in friction.
I also don't know how "not having to talk to someone" is a perk.
Written text is just so much nicer. And I can send the link to family still in the office or whatever and co-ordinate.
"I'd like a cheeseburger, only lettuce and ketchup."
But when I visited Australia, I had a much harder time placing the same order. Most of the order takers there were not native English speakers, and I learned pretty quickly that the difference between American English and Australian English was bigger than I realized.
Language is interesting.
Anyway, yeah. I'm also a soft speaker which is my problem, but it doesn't mean that's not a valid reason to prefer text! I don't avoid speaking to people, I just prefer not to and I find it simpler and more certain I'll get what I need that way. Others want to pick up a phone.
I think it's only happened a couple of times in my few decades but dealing with "Where is the X?" "You didn't order that!" is annoying.
Also a fan of the Chinese restaurants like Din Tai Fung with the menu that you pass around and everyone ticks off what they want. It's so easy to coordinate a group of 10 that way.
It all depends on where you're hailing and where you're going to. Also on what you look like. Drivers don't like some locations and appearances.
For us introverts it is.
Yes, it will cause me anxiety to talk to someone, and go pickup an order. But if I was to avoid that and use an app, I'd be dipping my hand into their pockets and stealing money for a middleman. So I end up calling my preferred restaurant and picking it up myself.
I rather face the discomfort from time to time and learn to handle it than being paralised in situations when there's no other way and you can't avoid it.
There's a spectrum within introversion, and this sounds more on the edge of that spectrum.
Full disclaimer: I too originally had trouble with calling to order pizza. But in retrospect it wasn't introversion: I just wasn't used to initiating conversations with strangers on the phone. The solution was trivial: Script the "opening lines" before calling. After a few of these, it all became natural.
In my experience, though, this is rarely true of restaurants, especially the less expensive ones. I usually won't even do drive-through, under the experience-informed observation that they're less likely to mess it up if they know I'll be standing at the counter checking their work.
I don't think the apps really add anything substantial for restaurants that have their own delivery network.
I have done the same with Uber in Poland, and with countless services in Germany before I learned German.
I really appreciate consuming a service at my pace, especially when there is a language barrier, a large order or alcohol involved.