UPDATE: GrubHub Seamless has removed the profiles of the fake restaurants, and has issued the following response:
"At GrubHub Seamless, the customer experience is our top priority. We took immediate action as soon as we were made aware of the situation, and the disputed restaurants have been removed from our services.
GrubHub Seamless takes measures and has protocols in place to ensure the authenticity of restaurants represented on our services -- including visiting restaurants in person to confirm they are legitimate establishments. In this rare occurrence, a few restaurants were not detected by our teams. We are taking the opportunity to review and strengthen these protections and encourage diners to report inaccuracies to our customer care team to ensure an optimal dining experience."
The Tribeca Citizen has uncovered several profiles of fake restaurants on Seamless and GrubHub (which merged in 2013) that appear to be part of a quiet monopoly on Chinese food delivery in downtown Manhattan.
A New York City resident noticed that a new restaurant on Seamless called Joe’s Noodles listed its physical address as 121 Reade Street, currently the Tribeca Abbey apartments. The Tribeca Citizen discovered that the phone number listed was linked to another restaurant that doesn’t exist, called AAA Asian Food at 325 Broadway.
AAA Asian Food’s website reveals a sparkling banner for another restaurant called Asian Diet Food. Along with the fake listing on Broadway, Asian Diet Food’s nonexistent address is on John Street.
Finally, the Tribeca Citizen called the listing for ‘Asian Diet Food’ to ask the location of the actual kitchen that was producing all this mysterious food. The answer, 31 Oliver Street, reveals that Lily’s Japanese & Chinese Restaurant appears to filling all the delivery orders placed online.
GrubHub Seamless’ director of PR wrote to Tribeca Citizen, "As I write this email, our team is taking steps to correct the situation. GrubHub Seamless takes measures to ensure that every restaurant is correctly represented on our services and invites diners to report inaccuracies to our customer care team."
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.