This is gearing up to be one ugly food fight.
Restaurant owners have been digging into their Grubhub billing records and demanding their money back since reading The Post’s exclusive report Monday about how the food delivery giant has been racking up fees for non-existent orders — potentially for years.
Nicky Perry, owner of two Manhattan hot spots, found 260 questionable charges going back to 2017 after reading The Post’s exposé.
But instead of refunding her money, Grubhub has been giving Perry and other restaurant owners indigestion by offering them limited refunds of 60 or 90 days — unless they happen to be big, powerful chains, sources said.
“They are putting us out of business!” Perry, owner of Tea & Sympathy and A Salt & Battery, fumed to The Post.
Perry’s initial offer for a 90-day refund was upped to a year after she got tough with Grubhub — but she still refused.
“I want my money, ALL of it,” she demanded of the company she has been with since 2011.
A second eatery, which declined to be named, was offered a 60-day return, while the chief executive of an iconic chain of restaurants across the US told The Post his company hasn’t been dinged for a phony order since he threatened to sue Grubhub over the practice five years ago.
“I have a big mouth and I’m a large customer,” the executive, who asked not to be identified, told The Post. “They know this is wrong and they don’t care,” he said on learning the bad billing was still in play elsewhere.
On Monday, The Post reported that restaurant owners up and down the Eastern seaboard have been complaining that Grubhub, which promises to only take a cut of orders it helps generate, has been billing restaurant partners for all kinds of calls through its Grubhub-issued telephone lines.
Eatery owners say they have been paying anywhere from $4 to $9 a pop for calls from customers inquiring about delivery times, menu items — or just to make dinner reservations.
The practice has been shown to double Grubhub’s normal 15 percent to 20 percent commissions. And according to a lawsuit filed in December by Philadelphia eatery Tiffin Indian Cuisine, it has been happening for a good seven years. The Tiffin lawsuit is seeking class-action status.
Grubhub, which has denied the Tiffin claims, declined to comment for this story.
“We never checked until now,” admitted Jay Mitchell, owner of Gente Ristorante Italiano in Midtown Manhattan said. Mitchell found three charges for non-orders totaling $19 in April and is seeking access to older records before demanding a refund.
The Post’s exposé has also caught the attention of the powerful National Restaurant Association, which is now investigating Grubhub’s billing practices with an eye toward suing the owner of Seamless and MenuPages.com, sources said.
The group, which represents more than 1 million eateries across the country, declined to comment, but Kevin Dugan of the New York state chapter said the national organization reached out to his group Monday seeking help.
“If the industry is being mistreated by the largest food delivery service, we would need to address that,” said Dugan, who is not related to the reporter on this story.