A lawsuit filed this week by a group of restaurant consumers accuses third-party delivery companies Grubhub, Uber and Postmates of antitrust violations resulting in inflated menu prices.
The class action suit alleges that high commissions charged by the platforms force restaurants to charge higher prices. In turn, the platforms’ strict pricing restrictions essentially lock in those prices across the board.
The result, says the suit: “Any restaurant using any defendant’s platform charges all of its customers supracompetitive prices.”
The three platforms named in the lawsuit made up 54% of third-party delivery sales in May, according to consumer analytics firm Second Measure. DoorDash accounted for most of the rest, with 44% share.
Earlier this week, Uber acquired Postmates for $2.65 billion in stock.
The lawsuit zeros in on pricing restrictions known as most-favored-nation provisions (MFNs) imposed by the three platforms on the restaurants they work with. The MFNs, to varying degrees, prohibit the restaurants from charging lower prices through other channels, such as competing ordering platforms or the restaurant itself.