In the wake of an extremely distressing report which found that Seamless and GrubHub restaurants often use unregulated “ghost kitchens,” the company has officially changed its policies.
The websites, which fall under the merged umbrella of Grubhub Seamless, will now verify restaurants listed to make sure they exist and have been inspected by the health department, according to NBC New York.
In a new particularly alarming segment, the local news channel found that at least six different restaurants were operating out of one address—146 E. 44th Street—which appears to be an office building labeled Green Summit Group. It’s a commercial kitchen, an important distinction, since commercial kitchens don’t receive inspection grades and aren’t allowed to sell directly to customers.
Before the implementation of the new rule, it was reportedly common for restaurants to advertise under several fake names and phone numbers in order to increase the chance of a consumer picking their business.
“When we have one line, it’s hard to compete,” said Gary Chen, manager of Abby Chinese (and the fake Really Chinese). “We know how many lines some of the other restaurants have. It’s an open secret.”
Update: In an email to Jezebel, a representative from Seamless noted that Really Chinese and Abby Chinese have both been removed from the website and the restaurants under the Green Summit Group umbrella have refiled under the proper classification. The representative also provided the following statement:
At GrubHub, we take the accuracy of our restaurant listings seriously. We are partnering with New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs to address this issue and remove inaccuracies from our platforms.
Going forward, GrubHub will take additional steps to verify the details restaurants provide. Our new process includes more checks to validate the name and location of restaurants. Should any discrepancies arise, we will take immediate action to correct information or remove inaccurate listings of restaurants on our platforms. We’re also encouraging tips. If you spot any inaccuracy on our platforms, you can alert us at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the author at email@example.com.
Image via AP.