ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Popular local restaurant reviews website and Facebook group Saint Petersburg Gourmets received a strange email on July 30. In it, someone named Linda Alvorado requested that the site update its listing for St. Pete’s hangout. Salt Creek Big Fishing with a new link to the site.
The only problem was that the link was to the online food delivery service Restaurantji.com rather than the restaurant itself – and “Linda Alvorado” has no affiliation with the restaurant itself, although the formatting of the email strongly implies it.
What do you want to know
- The popular blog St. Petersburg Foodies admitted that an unsolicited email was not from a restaurant employee
- Online food delivery services often use underhanded measures to boost business
- Make sure your delivery service works with and for your favorite restaurants
“I knew right away it was wrong,” says Kevin Godbee, founder of St. Petersburg Foodies. “But imagine if I didn’t know the owners and the chefs of the restaurants. The signature says The Big Catch, along with their address and phone number, and it implies that this is someone who is authorized to speak on behalf of the restaurant.
The web landscape is littered with online food delivery companies, and some of them have been busted for shady practices, like when Grubhub has been called out for creating several fake websitess to offer delivery from restaurants with which it was not officially partnered. These web businesses survive on the fees they charge for delivery, which can sometimes be outrageous (and prevent customers from tipping drivers, whether or not they think that fee is going to the driver, which doesn’t isn’t), and they’re willing to engage in terrific and sometimes allegedly deceptive practices to drive business.
What really annoys Godbee, however, is her perception that “Linda Alvorado” has come forward as a spokesperson for the restaurant itself.
“To say the least, yes. It’s really something,” he said. “The reason it failed so miserably when it was sent to us is because St. Pete is such a tight-knit community, it’s almost like everyone knows each other, at least in the restaurant industry. “
This isn’t the first time “Linda Alvorado” has contacted St. Petersburg Foodies, which was founded in September 2016 and has since become a significant influence on St. Pete’s food scene. In May, the group received an almost identical email asking to update the link for the ultra-hip downtown restaurant. mortar brick.
So the next time you fancy delivery, think about the service you use and maybe think about picking up your meal. You’ll avoid sometimes high delivery charges, make sure you get what you ordered, and let your local restaurant know you’re one of the people supporting their business.
Bay News 9 confirmed with The Big Catch at Salt Creek that no one named “Linda Alvorado” has ever been affiliated with the restaurant, which doesn’t even offer delivery in the first place. Neither “Linda Alvorado” nor Restaurantji.com responded to requests for comment.