Big DC restaurant owner cuts all ties with food delivery apps

EatWell DC, whose restaurants include Logan Tavern, Commissary, Grillfish and The Pig, says it has ended its relationships with all delivery apps, effective immediately.

The restaurant group cites rising fees that it says enrich delivery companies and unnecessarily cost its customers.



“Given the rapid rise in costs of all food products and the ever-increasing fees imposed by delivery services on restaurants and guests alike, we believe it is better to offer the value our customers expect than to take more increases to subsidize delivery companies,” EatWell said in a statement posted on social media.

“To charge more only enriches these companies with questionable business and employment practices, while leaving us with little control over the quality, timeliness, or condition of the products our customers ultimately receive,” the statement said.

WTOP has reached out to Uber, which operates Uber Eats, the largest food delivery service, for comment.

EatWell principal David Winer told WTOP that like other restaurants, he grabbed the delivery app lifeline when the pandemic began, but never really embraced it.

“Something was better than nothing, and there was a lot of nothing going on. So some revenue, any kind of revenue, was deemed to be valuable, versus no revenue,” Winer said.

And with fees and charges he pays that have now climbed to roughly 25%, and with more normal business returning to his restaurants, delivery apps no longer make sense.

“We are lucky in the best of days to make 7, 8 or 9 percent on the bottom line. If I am paying out 25% before I even get there, there is really no profitability to it,” Winer said.

Delivery apps became a lifeline for the restaurant industry during the pandemic, but EatWell echoes complaints from other restaurant operators about the fees charged that eat into already slim profit margins. Restaurants are also at the mercy of delivery app drivers for timely pickup and delivery of their meals.

EatWell did not say how much of its sales will be affected by ending meal delivery. In addition to dropping apps, the company’s restaurants will not stand-up their own in-house deliveries.

The restaurant group says its restaurants all remain open for on-site dining, and offer their entire menus, including alcohol, for pickup with no added charge.

Its restaurants also offer online ordering though their websites and phone orders.

EatWell also owns The Charles restaurant and market, and the EatWell Natural Farm, both in La Plata, Maryland.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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