Eater Chicago won for Best Online Food or Restaurant Coverage at the 2021 Peter Lisagor Awards, the annual distinctions given by the Chicago Headline Club, the country’s largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The team was recognized for “Chicago Sues Grubhub and DoorDash for Allegedly Scamming Basically Everyone: Restaurants, Drivers, and Customers”, written by Eater Chicago editor Ashok Selvam with additional reporting by Eater Chicago reporter Naomi Waxman. The feature was a part of the Chicago team’s ongoing coverage of the city’s attempt to regulate the ever-growing industry of food delivery apps. At the start of the pandemic, Chicago authorities were early leaders in the push to curb the steep and often deceptive fees that the apps, particularly Grubhub and DoorDash, charge restaurants, customers, and drivers, including a eyebrow-raising “Chicago Fee.” Other states and cities have followed suit with their own lawsuits against third-party delivery apps.
Grubhub, founded in the Chicago in 2004, was an early success story in the online food delivery industry. The allure of it was obvious for the consumer: easy-to-find food options, available with a mere tap on a screen, arriving at your door without leaving the house. Fast-forward nearly two decades and the downsides of this supposedly seamless system are becoming clearer and clearer. Restaurant owners have been vocal about how destructive the system of online food delivery apps are for the restaurant industry, especially smaller establishments, thanks in large part to the exorbitant percentages of sales taken by the apps. But it was only at the height of the pandemic, with actions taken by local governments like Chicago’s, that restaurants, diners, and drivers started to witness some real change.
This is the first Chicago Headline Club award win for the Eater team.