Is GrabFood secretly limiting your choices based on what makes more money for them?
Public complaints by their merchants may have exposed what they have been quietly doing in the background…
GrabFood : Restaurant Not Available?
When you plan to order from a restaurant on GrabFood and see that it’s unavailable, you will often turn to the next available option.
Most assume that since the restaurant is listed as unavailable, it must be closed or too busy to accept orders for deliveries.
That may not be the case, as one gourmet burger restaurant found out recently.
Burgertory vs GrabFood : What Happened?
That gourmet burger restaurant, Burgertory, publicly revealed that GrabFood repeatedly set them as unavailable, even though they were open for business and eager to accept delivery orders.
When they checked the GrabFood app, they could see that other restaurants in the same area were available. Just not Burgertory.
When they complained to GrabFood, they were told that restaurant availability was turned on or off based on :
- the commission rate – commission per order (25% to 35%)
- the sales bucket – value of each order
In other words, what you see on GrabFood is not what’s really available, but rather – which restaurant is more willing to pay them more commission, or can generate them more money.
Recommended : GrabFood Clarifies Restaurant Availability Controversy!
Burgertory vs GrabFood : What Do Other Merchants Say?
When the Burgertory complaint went viral, a number of other merchants chimed in to confirm that they too were marked as Unavailable by GrabFood :
GrabFood : It’s Not Because Of Lower Commission
After the public uproar, GrabFood quickly reached out to them the very next day to “discuss the issue”.
They clarified that Burgertory did not get “switched off” because of their lower commission, but did not explain why some restaurants get “switched off”, while others don’t.
Burgertory vs GrabFood : Some Updates!
Grab issued an official press statement, stressing they do not turn restaurant availability off based on commission rate, with no mention of the sales bucket.
In a Facebook comment, they said that Burgertory was switched off the first time, because a GrabFood rider arrived and found them closed.
However, Burgertory pointed out that they kept Grab updated on their operating hours, and the rider arrived late – after they closed at 8 PM, and they were not alerted to the rider’s report, or that they were being switched off.
Burgertory also posted a separate update, sharing that Grab told them other merchants “has paid campaigns with them, and the difference in the discoverability radius is to help with the campaign ROI“.
GrabFood Merchant Prioritisation : The Good, Bad + Ugly
GrabFood have a limited number of riders, so it makes sense to prioritise merchants who pay more, and generate more profit, over everyone else.
But instead of making it transparent, they marked those smaller / less-profitable merchants as Unavailable, leading customers to assume that those restaurants were closed.
Is it allowed? That depends on their agreement with their merchants. If the partnership agreement allows GrabFood to prioritise better paying merchants over everyone else, then their merchants can either accept it or switch to a different deliver service.
However, it is important for consumers and merchants both to understand the consequences of a system that prioritises the platform’s profits over customer ratings.
Such a system artificially limits the customer’s options, and nudges them towards more expensive options that are more profitable for said platform.
Eventually, merchants will be forced to keep paying more and more for the right to “remain visible” on the platform – the costs which have to be rolled into every meal. Ultimately – the cost is paid entirely by the customer.
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