Restaurant owners complain food delivery services leaving customers in the cold

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Small businesses have been fighting an uphill battle during the COVID-19 pandemic but even before then, they’ve been dealing with a food delivery issue that seems to make life more difficult.

Uber Eats, Doordash and Grubhub have a great sales pitch, but some Memphis businesses say they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

For Ricky Hall, the owner of Little Italy in Downtown Memphis, there was one incident that really pushed him over the edge. Two food delivery drivers came late to pick up the same order. They took so long, the original customer showed up too.

“Then there was all this chaos, then in the end, I’m not sure if we ever got paid. She might’ve gotten that food for free,” Hall said. “You just don’t have time to try and solve this mystery. So, everyone leaves unhappy and most important, the customer isn’t getting what they think they’re getting.”

Little Italy wrote a post on Facebook, asking the Memphis food community for feedback about delivery service issues, and many businesses shared similar stories privately and publicly.

They spoke of the wrong menu being posted, prices being incorrect and poor service, all leading to potentially frustrated customer experiences during busy work hours.

“If you’re a working chef like myself, you still got orders coming into the kitchen,” said chef Michael Patrick, owner of Rizzo’s on South Main. “You’ve still got servers moving around the room. So you’re trying to handle this.”

We tried one of the help numbers for a food delivery service and couldn’t get another human being on the phone. That makes it difficult for businesses to fix errors online.

Restaurant owners say for patrons that want to support local, there’s an easy solution — buy from them directly.

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