when I use a discount code for online delivery, what happens?
October 27, 2013 8:49 AM   Subscribe

When I use a discount code on a food delivery website (seamless/grubhub/delivery.com) does that money get taken out of the website's cut, the restaurant's payment for food (or the delivery guy's tip?), or is it split somehow, or what?

Just ordered from a place and I realized I don't know where that money comes out of, and I guess I wouldn't want to affect the bottom line of the restaurants or delivery guys I like...
posted by yeoz to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If the restaurant didn't see a benefit to offering its services through the website they wouldn't be there in the first place. So you don't need to worry about it. The restaurant ownership has already decided that the benefits outweigh the costs.
posted by COD at 9:46 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want the restaurant/delivery guys to retain as much of your money as possible, then call them directly to place your order. When you use a third-party site there's going to be a fee that the restaurant will have to pay.

The cost of any discount code will come from the restaurant, one way or another.
posted by shihchiun at 10:26 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I did the setup and management for an online ordering service at a large restaurant in Manhattan (it happened to be Seamless, but we researched all the options before going with them and they all had pretty much the same terms). The restaurant received the full payment and tip regardless of any coupons or points or whatever that the customer might have used.

It's certainly true that the restaurant had to pay a percentage for all online sales (and annoyingly, the percentage increased with volume, rather than decreased!) but the volume of orders and ease of order management was tremendous. I don't think I can really overstate it. It was unquestionably less expensive than paying additional staff to take orders by phone, and the percentage of errors was way lower.

It was also clear from our analysis that the vast majority of online sales were not cannibalizing regular telephone orders from our regular customers. The few regulars that switched to Seamless were generally large-ish offices, so if anything it made it more likely that they would order regularly because the system allowed bill-splitting, ganging up orders, etc.
posted by bcwinters at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

If you need to make your conscience clean, recognize that restaurants often have higher Seamless prices than on their regular menu, so you are directly paying any Seamless surcharge, not them.
posted by MattD at 1:50 PM on October 27, 2013

Best answer: In my experience with GrubHub, there are two types of discounts - one offered by the restaurant, and another offered by the website.

For restaurant discounts, like a waived delivery fee or free side dish with orders over a certain amount, the expense of the free service or item is covered by the restaurant. These are often optional freebies, so you don't have to select them if you're feeling bad about costing the restaurant money.

The GrubHub sponsored discounts, like winnings from their Yummy Rummy game, are covered by the website. They pay the restaurant for the item you're getting for free (see their game FAQ).
posted by youngergirl44 at 8:27 PM on October 27, 2013

Best answer: recognize that restaurants often have higher Seamless prices than on their regular menu

This isn't allowed under the terms of service. Or at least it wasn't for us. Our rep monitored our menus on our website. And they required an emailed or faxed menu to be sent over for confirmation any time prices were changed on the delivery site.

(Oh yeah, and I second youngergirl44's comment—if the restaurant was doing any kind of promotion, that came out of the restaurant's cut just like you'd expect.)
posted by bcwinters at 3:28 PM on October 29, 2013

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