Third-party deliverer Grubhub is charging head-first into the city’s burgeoning delivery wars, announcing on Tuesday that the company is eliminating customer fees this winter in an effort to encourage more customers to order in, according to a news release. In making the announcement, Grubhub takes a swipe a DoorDash for it’s $1.50 Chicago Fee that its rival added to compensate for the city’s new 15 percent third-party restaurant fee cap.
While attacking a competitor, Grubhub’s campaign appears to be a way to drive up membership for its subscription service. To take advantage of the offer, customers must sign up for Grubhub+, a membership program that costs $9.99 per month. There’s a free 90-day trial. The service offers unlimited free delivery on orders of $12 or more, priority assistance, and other perks like referral bonuses and restaurant rewards. Locals can sign up online until December 31. A Grubhub spokesperson says the move is a way to encourage customers to order more during the winter months.
Grubhub’s campaign comes just as Chicago restaurants are bracing for a difficult pandemic winter — and shortly after DoorDash quietly added a $1.50 “Chicago Fee.” DoorDash contends that the fee will help recoup losses from the city’s new 15-percent cap on third-party ordering services. The move was, unsurprisingly, unpopular — restaurant owners fear the added fee will deter customers; officials say it’s an attempt to evade the city’s cap. Third-party couriers have been under fire by restaurant owners who say commission fees, which prior to the cap could total 30 percent, were too high.
In other news...
— Happy Village, the beloved dive bar that’s served Ukrainian Village for more than half a century — and its extensive renovation plan under new ownership — is in serious jeopardy. Out to Lunch Hospitality, the newish group behind Good Fortune in Logan Square, had plans for a $3 million renovation that would transform the bar into a gastropub-style venue with a sunroom. The New York Times confirmed this month that Good Fortune is permanently closed, throwing Happy Village’s future into question. Management hasn’t responded to requests for comment since the pandemic began.
— Local advocacy group Chicago Restaurants Coalition (not to be confused with the Chicago Hospitality Coalition) is collecting signatures on a petition to reopen indoor dining at 20 percent capacity by January 15, according to Crain’s. The group, coordinated by the Fulton Market Association, is also asking Mayor Lori Lightfoot to treat bars and restaurants as separate regulatory entities.
— Orkenoy, Humboldt Park’s first brewery, is staying put at the Kimball Arts Center as artists and organizations depart due to lease issues and renovations, according to Block Club Chicago. The site, right off the 606, has been the subject of much debate about the impact of gentrification in the area, as developers Nick Stocking and Greg Robbins purchased the building in late 2019 with the goal of bringing in new tenants. Dayglow, an LA-based coffee shop run by a brother of Orkenoy’s co-owner, also remains.