Restaurants adjust with online delivery options
By John McCracken
GREEN BAY – Local restaurants have relied on customers ordering food with a single click from the comfort of their couches throughout the pandemic, but not without a few technical glitches.
Green Bay breakfast institution The Pancake Place has seen an estimated 90 percent increase in online orders through third-party delivery websites Uber Eats and the Wisconsin-based EatStreet since the start of the pandemic.
The Military Avenue diner has been using both services since late 2019.
Barlament said some hiccups can occur, such as drivers picking up wrong orders during busy times, but nothing has occurred to make Pancake Place discontinue the partnership.
UberEats is a San Francisco-based company founded in 2014 by popular ride-share parent company Uber.
It currently operates in cities around the globe.
Restaurants pay a service fee for each order coming through their platform, ranging from 20 to 30 percent.
Barlament said Pancake Place offsets this fee by raising the price of its online menu by 30 percent.
Apart from online orders, Pancake Place has seen a continued rise in over-the-phone orders, and it continues to offer dine-in services, with some days yielding better results than others.
Barlament’s main concern is the potential for another shutdown.
“Without the indoor dining, we will suffer greatly,” she said.
A piece of the pie
Cristine Larson, manager at Heartland Pizza Company, said online delivery services markup the price for their menu items, and the restaurant doesn’t make an adjustment.
“For the most part, we just take a hit,” Larson said.
The pizzeria tucked between Interstate 41 and South Oneida Street has seen a roughly 50/50 split between third-party delivery orders and orders its own drivers handle.
Larson anticipates more delivery orders throughout the colder months, but come summer 2021, Heartland Pizza Company is hoping to phase out all third-party delivery services.
Larson said Heartland Pizza Company has its own app available for download and it’s how the pizza place prefers to receive online orders.
GrubHub shot first
Versed in hefty, cheese-laden comfort food and taking inspiration from the Star Wars franchise, The Cheesesteak Rebellion on South Broadway pictured its opening year going smoother, but that was a long, long time ago.
After debuting in February, co-owners Jason Burkard and Jolinda Gorzelanczyk see third party services as necessary to their current survival.
Cheesesteak Rebellion wasn’t able to take on online ordering when it launched, as it was swamped with in-house orders.
Since the pandemic hit, the operations of the restaurant have changed, but it wasn’t prepared for mysterious orders which started to show up.
Gorzelanczyk said the publicly-traded, Chicago-based delivery platform GrubHub listed Cheesesteak Rebellion’s menu on the GrubHub website without consent from the restaurant.
The listing included inaccurate menu prices and led to more than $100 in lost orders in a single night, as well as hangry, puzzled patrons.
Neither Gorzelanczyk or Burkard have received a response from GrubHub regarding the situation.
The rebels aren’t alone in their grievances as GrubHub has allegedly listed 150,000 restaurants online without the permission of the business, resulting in an ongoing class action lawsuit filed in October.
A GrubHub spokesperson said in late 2019, it began adding restaurants to its marketplace based on diner demand for delivery in the area, a model used by food delivery companies for years as a way to widen restaurant supply.
According to the spokesperson, Cheesesteak Rebellion was removed from the marketplace Dec. 7.
A popular street
Both owners have since educated their fleet of customers to order only through Wisconsin-based online ordering platform, EatStreet.
The Madison company operates in more than 250 cities across the country, and was founded in 2010 by UW-Madison students.
“They’re the only delivery company that has W2 employees,” said Gorzelanczyk.
EatStreet has 143 active drivers in Green Bay, a 176 percent increase since March, said Matt Howard, founder and CEO.
Drivers are employed W2 workers who undergo background checks and receive a base wage in addition to 100 percent of their tips, unlike other independent 1099 contract delivery drivers used by other delivery competitors.
EatStreet partners with 263 restaurants in Green Bay.
It has seen an increase in online orders since the pandemic hit and added 93 new restaurants to its platform since early March.
With indoor gatherings limited and winter approaching, hibernation by way of a hearty meal has shown Gorzelanczyk and Burkard an increase in orders during October and November.
“Our food is comfort food, and we’re moving into food season, as we like to call it,” Gorzelanczyk said.
Howard said EatStreet has seen a 200 percent increase in weekly orders in Green Bay compared to the first week of December last year.
“EatStreet is a Wisconsin-based company that works closely to support our restaurant partners,” said Howard. “Without them we don’t exist, and we take that seriously.”