30-Aug-2020 (Sun)
Wherein we've got a new online ordering site for DNA Pizza.

Hey check this out, we've got a new online menu site for DNA Pizza that lets you place orders for delivery or pick-up -- and, for pick-up at least, it does not gouge us into paying 15% to the middlemen!

If you order for pick-up, the only fee they charge us is a (small, reasonable) credit card processing fee, so it doesn't cost us any more than if you paid with a card in person.

For delivery orders.... it's more complicated and I don't fully understand it. This new thing is operated by DoorDash, and they (like all of these delivery middlemen) are just amazingly deceptive and sleazy. It looks like what's going on is this:

  • If you click through from dnapizza.com/order/ and order for pick-up, there are no additional fees, as I said above.

  • If you click through from dnapizza.com/order/ and order for delivery, they charge you (the customer) $3 plus 11% for delivery, but they do not make us (the restaurant) pay additional fees on the back-end. Hooray!

  • That's the same thing that used to happen if you went to DoorDash through this link (with a bunch of "utm_source" crap on the end). That magic URL was their concession to the restaurants where they said, "Ok, if it's obvious that you drove the traffic rather than us, we won't charge you a commission."

  • But these sites, like Facebook, are all about lock-in: about converting our customers into their customers and then kicking us to the curb. Here's where it gets sleazy.

    Let's say that yesterday you went from dnapizza.com to DoorDash, and we got that commission-free deal. Great. But then today you go to DoorDash and you click "order again".

    Well if you do that, then not only do they charge you (the customer) 11% + $3 for delivery, but they also charge us (the restaurant) 15% of the order on the back-end. That 15% doesn't show up on your bill, but it eats up most of our profit on the order.

When I first saw that DoorDash was offering this new "no commission for pick-up orders" option, my first question was "what's the catch?" It took us a while to figure it out. The catch is, "the first hit's free." They make it look like it's a better deal for us, but actually it's a customer-acquisition con. Once they have made our customer a captive of their silo, they get to gouge us on the back-end. And that probably happens immediately after the first order.

We are still listed on the other delivery sites (except Postmates because fuck Uber) so that if someone does happen to find us via Grubhub or whatever, well, I guess we'll take it? Even though their hidden 15% fee eats up almost all of our profit.

But if you would like to order from us and ensure that we get your money and don't have to give away a huge chunk of it to a middleman, then I think that the best way for you to do that is to always click on dnapizza.com/order/ rather than starting from your DoorDash account.

I think?

And I expect them to move the goalposts again at some point. I mean, being consistent or clear or honest is no way to make money.

I'm not sure, but at this point we might be better off just closing the restaurant entirely. If we aren't currently paying more in staff than we're making on food and booze sales, then we're pretty damned close to it. Not only are sales a shadow of what they were when the nightclub was open, but these delivery "commissions" are absolutely killing us.

If you want to help DNA Lounge survive this medically-induced coma, please contribute to our Patreon or make a one-time donation.

And buy some pizza and cocktails! Preferably for pick-up.

12 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    The photos of the food and cocktails sure make 'em look purrty (especially the backlit cocktails).

    Also, does the new menu have fewer items than usual or am I just used to seeing them on the site in a listed, text-only form?

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, we've scaled back the menu a bit, removing some things that weren't selling but that led to us stocking stuff that would spoil.

  2. Jason McHuff says:

    How hard would it be to add items to your ticket store? It can't do delivery, but it seems that you should be in better place than other restaurants in that you already have a processing system set up.

    • jwz says:

      It's not impossible but it's a huge amount of work. Food orders don't really resemble ticket and t-shirt orders that much.

      • Lloyd says:

        Could you get into providing a bespoke menu and ordering service for other restaurants?

        or is the market saturated?

        congrats on not going green on black - readability and customer expectations win.

        • jwz says:

          Sure, my other business is going so well, why don't I do a startup. During a plague. That relies on extracting money from closed restaurants. And hiring a fleet of drivers. Also, it sounds so fascinating and rewarding. It's what I've always dreamed of.

          And it would be green but they won't let us change any of the colors.

          • Lloyd says:

            I did say menus and ordering, not delivery.

            You need to turn that frown upside-down. Get a little Ted Lasso in your life.

  3. RV says:

    I accidentally & coincidentally found this order page today via dnapizza.com just because I was trying to remember the opening hours.

    I can confirm that it works and I have eaten my pizza!
    (and picked up my merch - Thanks Carmen!)

  4. Jim says:

    Don't hate, but you have to check out the Yelp delivery interface. They've turned over a new leaf and the new Yelp CEO is one of the most anti-monopolist in the country. Their ridiculous review graft keeps delivery margins remarkably low.

    I would not lie to you about this, I hope you understand.

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I figured that doing anything via DoorDash et al would cost you, but this makes it clear. Maybe this is why other restaurants are putting signs up saying "order at our website and save $"?

    Either way, will use this URL from now on.

  6. Elusis says:

    FWIW, everybody in Seattle is using http://www.exploretock.com for their takeout services, it seems.

  7. Trotsky says:

    The new ordering system is great but there's no way to include a tip with the payment. Any chance of adding that? I can tip cash when I pick up, but prefer the staff to get tipped when I place the order (so they feel appreciated and don't spit in it.)

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