MenuLog is facing legal action from restaurants claiming the food delivery giant is using unfair contract terms to control website names linked to their businesses.
The food delivery service offers to build websites for the restaurants listed through its app and website, with the address typically based off the restaurant’s name and, in some cases, location.
But those websites are registered to and owned by MenuLog, and according to Nicole Murdoch – principal of law firm Eaglegate Lawyers – MenuLog is taking advantage of a number of those websites to the detriment of their respective businesses.
“MenuLog claims that they’ll hand over the domain names, but from what I’ve seen they don’t actually do it,” she said.
“They’re reserving these domain names, and it’s causing headaches for those businesses.”
Ms Murdoch is launching a special complaint action against the food delivery business on behalf of allegedly affected restaurants, with the intention of getting the delivery service to hand over control of each website to the restaurant it was created for.
MenuLog has denied the claims, saying more than 200 businesses have already requested that ownership of a website be transferred and that the process “usually takes two business days” to complete.
“Menulog offers a service to restaurant partners that do not have their own websites where they can opt in to have a templated website built and hosted free of charge,” the business said in a statement.
“This service is designed to help restaurants generate more online orders, through multiple channels, when they begin online ordering and delivery with Menulog.
“When a website is built for a restaurant partner that has opted in to this Menulog service, Menulog registers a domain on the restaurant’s behalf, again free of charge.”
The New Daily requested to see a copy of MenuLog’s partner restaurant agreement or a copy of the script used by sales staff to outline how and why MenuLog creates websites for its partners, but both requests were denied.
Diverting business from restaurants?
There are currently around 6000 restaurant websites registered to MenuLog, some of which redirect to EatNow (another food delivery service which merged with MenuLog in 2015) despite their respective restaurants still trading.
There was no indication provided on the EatNow website that what restaurant-hungry customers initially searched for was still available. Instead, the redirected link presented customers with a search bar to explore other restaurants listed on EatNow.
Responding to questions from The New Daily, a spokesperson for MenuLog said this was a bug and subsequently replaced the redirect with an error message.
“The team are in the process of deactivating any [other] pages affected by this error,” the spokesperson said.