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Google Sued For Allegedly Diverting Food Orders To Unauthorized Pages

By Cristian Bustos. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Google – Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) – has been sued by a restaurant company in Florida for allegedly allowing unauthorized sites to take orders instead of directing them to the business’s own webpage.

Bait-And-Switch

According to a lawsuit on behalf of Left Field Holdings —which runs Lime Fresh Mexican Grill franchises— Google has been redirecting takeout and pick-up food orders to unauthorized websites that, with large buttons, prompted customers to order via companies such as Seamless, GrubHub, and DoorDash.


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The tactic is known as “bait-and-switch” and has the purpose of increasing orders and clicks. The lawsuit argues that the internet giant “never bothered to obtain permission from the restaurants to sell their products online.”

“Google purposefully designed its websites to appear to the user to be offered, sponsored, and approved by the restaurant, when they are not.”

In response, Google argued that its product has been mischaracterized. Spokesperson José Castañeda said, “Our goal is to connect customers with restaurants they want to order food from and make it easier for them to do it through the ‘Order Online’ button.”

Castañeda added that Google provides merchants with tools “to indicate whether they support online orders or prefer a specific provider, including their own ordering website. We do not receive any compensation for orders or integrations with this feature.”

Bypassing Restaurants?

The “Order Button” is part of “The Ordering App,” a Google-powered online ordering website catered to restaurants that offered customers the possibility to place orders more easily.

Despite being conceived for restaurants, Google decided to market it to food delivery companies instead, according to the lawsuit.

When googling for restaurants, customers would see results as an organic list and a set of ads in text form. However, in 2019, when Google acquired and implemented the “order button,” it started redirecting orders to pages containing links to food delivery companies.

“Google’s ‘Order Online’ button leads to an unauthorized online storefront—one owned and controlled by Google—wherein consumers can place orders for the restaurant’s products, all under the restaurant’s tradename,” the lawsuit says.

“Google prominently features the restaurant’s tradename at the top of the page, above the restaurant’s address and menu, to give the user the distinct impression that the storefront and products are authorized and sponsored by the restaurant, when they are not.”

Google is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.

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