Restaurant owners say the convenience of mobile food delivery isn't worth the hassle

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The number of food delivery options, like GrubHub or Uber Eats, that people can choose from is on the rise with millions of downloads.

A smartphone with various mobile apps on its home screen (Brian Tabick/KCRG)

“I used it while I was in college,” Brianna Tokes, of Cedar Rapids, said. “Students want things fast and easy and they want it delivered right away.”

The mobile app delivery method is designed to be convenient and help a smaller business deliver food that wouldn’t otherwise have the resources. However, some restaurant owners said there is a concern.

‘Sometimes we will get surprised, a delivery driver will just show up here,” Robert Wagner, owner of Need Pizza, said.

Other businesses cited cold food, menu listings that weren't updated, and a loss of reputation to their restaurant based on the actions of the delivery service.

“There is some kind of order of operation that is being skipped,” Wagner said.

Wagner said each app works differently. Some require the restaurant to sign up and add service fees while the mobile app company takes a percentage of the money. Other companies just hire drivers.

After four and a half years of avoiding relying on third-party services, Wagner said his business will start delivering food on their own.

“We want to control our own destiny,” Wagner said. “We want the people we manage to hold the quality and integrity of the products and take out the middle man.”

Delivery will be primarily to the downtown districts and expand as demand for Need Pizza grows. The addition of the service does come with its own costs, but Wagner said it will be worth it to uphold the food they serve.

TV9 reached out to a number of the mobile delivery application developers, but none had yet responded.