Yelp is Screwing Over Restaurants By Quietly Replacing Their Phone Numbers
The phone numbers add tracking before connecting to a restaurant so that Grubhub can send them a bill for a marketing fee.
Yelp is surreptitiously replacing phone numbers with Grubhub-affiliated numbers once a customer clicks on the phone number to call the business. The tactic seems to be a way for Grubhub to extract additional commission fees from restaurants that use the service.
A news reporter, Adrianne Jeffries, detailed her experience when she tried to order from her favorite sushi restaurant using Yelp. The woman who answered the call at the restaurant didn't recognize the number that Jeffries called. Apparently, the actual number that Jeffries called was a number owned by Grubhub, which Yelp is affiliated with.
While users can technically call the restaurant directly using Yelp, if the person clicks on "Order Delivery or Takeout", it presents the option to order through Grubhub. Additionally, if the click the actual phone number of the business, the phone number that appears in the dialer is not the official phone number of the business. This Grubhub-owned number enables the company to track it and use it to extract fees and commission from restaurants.
Grubhub charges restaurants between 15 to 20 percent of the order total in exchange for the privilege of being listed on the Grubhub platform. Restaurants are also charged an additional 10 percent if they participate in the physical delivery service.
“It is our understanding that Grubhub has marketing agreements with some restaurants that allow Grubhub to utilize referral numbers on third party partner sites like Yelp,” a spokesperson for Yelp told us.
A spokesman for Grubhub also responded saying, "It is important to keep in mind that we are a marketing platform and, in almost all of these cases, the diner would not have discovered or placed an order with this restaurant without our platform.”
This means that Grubhub treats ordering through Yelp as "marketing" because of the agreement made with Yelp. However, even if a business has a marketing relationship with Grubhub, they may be unaware that they're still being charged marketing fees if a customer calls the restaurant using Yelp.
It's time restaurant owners everywhere check their Yelp and Grubhub pages to make sure this isn't happening to them and take action immediately.