Guess this shouldn’t be especially surprising, but it still caught us a little off-guard: Tribeca Citizen did some digging and seems to have uncovered a network of fake restaurants registered on Seamless after a reader spotted a place called Joe’s Noodles that had an apartment building as its listed address.
Eater has a tidy summary of how a web of phony Asian takeout places unraveled from there:
“After a reader noticed that a new Chinese restaurant called Joe’s Noodles listed an apartment building as its address, the blogger traced one of the restaurant’s phone numbers to a different place called AAA Asian Food. That restaurant had its own fake address, plus a sister restaurant, Asian Diet Food, with the same number and a different fake address. Eventually, with a little more digging, it all boils down Lily’s Japanese & Chinese Restaurant, a real restaurant that is apparently fielding the delivery orders placed to all of those places.”
This all seems to be pretty common practice, advertising a bunch of different restaurants and running them out of the same address to drum up extra cash (predictably, the resulting food doesn’t tend to be all that good). Seamless/GrubHub say they’re looking into it, and a publicist told Tribeca Citizen, “As I write this email, our team is taking steps to correct the situation. GrubHub Seamless takes measures to ensure that every restaurant is correctly represented on our services and invites diners to report inaccuracies to our customer care team.”
So, one new thing to worry about. Maybe for the time being, best to order from honest-to-god brick and mortars you can see with your own two eyes. Impossible-to-miss places like, say, Bushwick’s OMG Pizza Falafel Cheeseburger? Just to be on the safe side.
Update: We received the following statement from Abby Hunt, GrubHub Seamless’ Director of PR:
“At GrubHub Seamless, the customer experience is our top priority. We took immediate action as soon as we were made aware of the situation, and the disputed restaurants have been removed from our services.
GrubHub Seamless takes measures and has protocols in place to ensure the authenticity of restaurants represented on our services — including visiting restaurants in person to confirm they are legitimate establishments. In this rare occurrence, a few restaurants were not detected by our teams. We are taking the opportunity to review and strengthen these protections and encourage diners to report inaccuracies to our customer care team to ensure an optimal dining experience.”
So, for the time being, looks like that’s that. The whole thing’s been shut down, AAA Asian Food loyalists (were there any?) will have to look elsewhere, and our OMG Pizza recommendation still stands.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.