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Restaurant takeout: What you should know about delivery options on Long Island

DoorDash and Grubhub are two popular restaurant delivery

DoorDash and Grubhub are two popular restaurant delivery services. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

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Now that dining in is off the table, takeout patrons have another set of decisions to make: how to get the food home from the restaurant. In recent years, that old warhorse, going to pick it up, has been superseded by such app-based delivery services as GrubHub and DoorDash. They are the easiest option, but are they the best?

Restaurants run on notoriously narrow margins and Big Delivery — GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash and Seamless — charge fees anywhere from 10% to 30%. Under normal circumstances, those percentages eat into a restaurant’s profits. At a time when restaurants are relying on takeout, they can threaten to finish the eateries off.

Many of the services have recently announced that they are cutting restaurants a break, but the details are not always clear.

Last week, GrubHub announced it would waive up to $100 million in commission fees for independent restaurants, but did not say what would happen once the company reached the $100 million mark. Restaurants have also reported that this is for existing customers, not new ones.

Matt Maloney, founder and CEO of Seamless (a subsidiary of GrubHub), emailed participating restaurants Sunday saying it would be “deferring commission fees for impacted independent restaurants. Delaying our revenue will increase the restaurant's cash flow, allowing them to pay their employees and weather this difficult situation.” But the term of the deferment was not stated.

Some restaurants, such as 360 Taiko Sushi & Lounge LB Social in Long Beach, are starting their own delivery services. Alex Moschos, owner of Neraki in Huntington, said that “with the closing of dining rooms I needed to offer delivery, so it is a family affair.” He, his wife, son, daughter and daughter will all be bringing grilled red mullet and fried calamari to the Huntington area.

Dan Monteforte, owner of Swingbellys BBQ in Long Beach, said that his restaurant used delivery service associated with his POS (point of sale) system. “It’s called Toast,” he said. “It works with our regular ordering system and they only charge us $150 per month regardless of how much it is used.” Chownow, he said, is another such system.

The most efficient way to get your food — and the one that will provide the restaurant with the entirety of the bill — is to pick it up yourself at the restaurant. This has the added benefit of reducing the number of people who come into contact with your order before you sit down to consume it.

In this climate, however most restaurants out there are happy no matter which option you use. Said Stephanie Mantzoukas, owner of Yiasou Yeeros in Plainview, “we are offering curbside pickup and delivery through our own delivery and through Grub Hub, Uber Eats and DoorDash. We take what we can get and grateful for all business at this point!”

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