Here is a message from a local restaurant owner:

“Hi John,
I hope you’re doing well. With the proliferation of so many restaurant delivery companies, I thought you might like to hear from a local restaurant owner about some of the differences. We currently offer delivery from 3 companies: Restaurant Connection, Grub Hub and SB Bites.

Restaurant Connection has been around many years, they offer very professional service, and charge 30% over the restaurant menu pricing (which the customer pays), along with a delivery fee (usually $5-$7)  then the 30% is  deducted from what is paid to the restaurant. Essentially the restaurant gets paid pretty close to full price.

The local service for Grub Hub used to be run by SB Menus, but was taken over last year, and they offer pretty much the same % and pricing, but use Uber drivers. When they took over last year, they were overwhelmed, and the orders took a long time (sometimes up to an hour) to be picked up/delivered, but their service has improved.

We used to use Doordash, but discontinued, as they did not increase the price charged to the customer, but deducted 30% from what the restaurant was paid, so it wasn’t profitable for us.

A little hidden secret is SB Bites. Orders are delivered from a taxi driver, but they only charge the customer 10% over the menu price, and a small delivery fee (I think it’s $5-$7) then they deduct the 10% from what we are reimbursed, but the bill is substantially lower  for the customer.”

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  1. John says:

    This service is not inexpensive after reading about the 30% bump to the menu PLUS the delivery fee & then the delivery person will certainly want a TIP. That puts the meal in the very spendy range, IMO.

  2. Amanda says:

    Wow, thanks for the insider info! We rarely use Restaurant Connection since they are so pricey, but I love that they will deliver good food from a further distance. For example, China Pavilion on Chapala and Honor Bar in Montecito can get delivered to us out in Goleta. Normally we have a much shorter delivery range using GrubHub or Postmates. :/

    I will look into SB Bites!

  3. Ted says:

    I would also like to hear from the workers themselves, as I prefer to go with companies that treat their employees well. Doordash was infamously discovered to be stealing tips from drivers, promised not to do it again (bc they got caught), and then went right ahead and did the exact same thing.

    Any drivers care to comment?

  4. Ednsb says:

    The sales model for these delivery companies is close to fraud. Either they charge the restaurant 30% of the food cost and then the consumer a delivery charge. Restaurants operate on a small profit margin so a 30% hit will put them out of business. And yes some swallow the charge because they care about their customers first. Others just add 30% on to the cost for the consumer and then the consumer gets charged for the delivery. I just talked to a longtime restaurateur in Santa Barbara who said this model could close his restaurant. I care a lot more about the restaurants so I refuse to use these predatory ‘services’.

    • Brandon from Goleta says:

      Ummm heard of capitalism? Throw around the word fraud if you want (you do), but come on. Restaurants generally operate on the verge of bankruptcy but so do taxi and ridesharing services. Predatory services? Ok guy. Use them or don’t (the restaurants or the drivers), but none of them are killing it. FYI, I don’t use any as a restaurateur, diner, or as a ‘gig economy’ participant. But nobody is forcing any restaurant to utilize these services, and if it was so easy they’d ALL employ their own drivers. PERIOD.

  5. jiminsb says:

    Some of the info in this thread is accurate, some not so much.
    Restaurant Connection is the better of all the services. They are local, professional, and efficient. They charge the least to the restaurant and their charge includes the credit card fees. Restaurants can choose to pad their prices in an attempt to offset the fees, some do some don’t.

    The fees for all the delivery services (GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats) are about the same and are slightly negotiable, 25% – 30%, but except for RC the credit card fees are NOT included and are an extra fee. GrubHub technically won’t allow a restaurant to pad their prices, the others will.

    Ednsb is right, these services are predatory and not sustainable, much like Groupon (they put restaurants out of business). If restaurants need a third party service they should make a deal with Restaurant Connection and stop using the national services (I don’t have skin in the game, btw).

    Some services like DoorDash and Postmates won’t even get approval from the restaurant to list them. They call in orders and pay with a credit card, the restaurant may not even know that their food is being delivered, it’s nuts. They do this to try to force the restaurant to signup, in the meantime they (DoorDash) just eat the fees. It doesn’t cost the restaurant anything but they have no oversight and can’t control anything about the process, cleanliness/appearance of the driver, the car, the travel time or the customer satisfaction.

    Stay local…let the big players make their money in big cities and stop preying on the SB restaurants who can’t afford it.

    • debbie says:

      Absolutely correct!

      If you have restaurants that you love please go and support them by eating at their location!
      First of all the food will taste much better at the restaurant! People seem to forget that the ambiance actually improves your food experience! Also go ahead talk to the chef, the owner and tell them that you appreciate what they do, connect with the people that make your food….
      And , as a bonus, the restaurant has at least a chance to make a profit on what they serve you!
      There is generally no 30% profit margin in food anyways!

    • David says:

      You don’t get to come in here and make a blanket statement that says some information is “accurate, some not so much” then start backing Restaurant Connection with another opinion that’s entirely your own. My experience with Restaurant Connection is they are constantly late, charge high fees, and make constant mistakes at least half the time. They have terrible customer service and when you are left with the wrong food or late order, there is no recourse. So it’s a complete counterpoint to your pick, Jim.

      • JC says:

        I have used Restaurant Connection numerous times and they always make sure to take care of me. They have always been on time. There’s been a time when the restaurant was extremely busy and they gave me a courtesy call to let me know it was going to take longer than usual. It seems the drivers do check the orders. Only once I did not receive an item I ordered and they offered to go back and get if for me or credit me.
        I believe the so called “high fees” are to responsibly compensate the drivers, unlike the other major corporations I have read about. Those other companies are unethical when it comes to paying the drivers, let alone charging restaurants high fees.
        I’m not saying they’re perfect, but from my many experiences, they do what it takes to take care of the me.
        I’ve heard many stories about other delivery companies not even picking up the food from the restaurant and the customer is left without food and they don’t even get refunded. How terrible is that for both the consumer and the restaurant.
        I’m sticking with the local company to not only support local but also because they do their job ethically and professionally!

  6. deep patel says:

    Gosh I feel for these restaurants . Its already hard enough to operate and run a small business just to be squeezed by these gig economies . Also this same applies to hotels as well if you book rooms using say Expedia, Orbitz , Travelocity they are pretty much owned by 2 companies and they charge commissions close to 30% of the rate. So please support local restaurants and hotels by visiting them directly . Its the responsible way of spending your money

  7. El Guapo says:

    It’s all a waste of money, just go pick it up yourself, are people really that lazy? I’ve never used one of these “services” and don’t plan on it any time soon. Don’t respond with some garbage about not having enough time either, we’re all busy with work and families, but I drag my butt out there and pick it up myself. The order is expensive enough, I’m not tacking on more $$$ for some perceived convenience of having it delivered.

    • SB & Tahoe says:

      My only opinion is, if someone is using a food delivery service because they’ve been drinking and are choosing to not drive, then good for them, I’m glad they have options besides Domino’s. They are not endangering others with their impaired driving and they are smart enough to recognize that the surcharges are less expensive than a DUI. Just pointing out that not every person that uses a delivery service is lazy, some are thoughtful.

  8. Ednsb says:

    Just read an article about the increased restaurant closures in Las Vegas where even highly rated and established restaurants are failing. The number one reason cited was delivery services fees and pre-cooked meal delivery. It went on to say in Vegas being a tourist-driven economy they had to use the services to compete. Definitely a two-edged sword very much like Santa Barbara. Btw their failure rate is 30% higher than the new startups which is the first time it’s been that bad.

  9. JP says:

    I have used DoorDash and GrubHub, because I don’t drive.

    Sal’s Pizza closed mainly because of these delivery services eating into profits, even though he also had his own delivery drivers. At first it helped him because of more customers but he was losing money on every order.

  10. Whirl says:

    There are lots of people using these services for lots of reasons, telling everyone they should do as you do is completely useless. Ignoring a big trend like this isn’t going to help your restaurant either. Better to find a way to work with the trend, food costs are not so high that this can’t be profitable. No one here mentioned UberEats, which is one of the best of these services. But of course they are already set up for this kind of thing and are slick at it. Restaurant Connection is very expensive, we use them for things like Valentine’s day when we want a nice dinner, don’t want to cook, but also don’t want to spend a fortune to eat out. GrubHub and DoorDash are very similar, pretty good, all of them can get hit with a lot of orders at once and have slow downs, but they keep you notified. I haven’t tried Postmates yet, they seem to be the only one listing places they have no arrangement with. There are places like Munchiez which is delivery only, or Dave’s Dogs which has their own online delivery service. Both are good. Times and trends change, Delivery: It’s not just for pizza anymore. But it has always been very successful for pizza.