Popular Anchorage restaurant targeted by scammers

Marx Bros Cafe listed on DoorDash platform despite not being a takeout restaurant
Popular Anchorage restaurant targeted by scammers
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 3:13 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2023 at 7:50 PM AKDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - One of the most well-known restaurants in Anchorage has become the target of a scam — and one of the owners is speaking out as a warning to both restaurant owners and those who order takeout.

Marx Bros has been in business for 44 years and has developed a reputation as one of the area’s finest restaurants.

“We have numerous Wine Spectator awards, four diamond ratings from AAA,” co-owner Jack Amon said.

Last week, Amon received a DoorDash welcome package in the mail and didn’t think much of it. Then he learned Marx Bros was listed as a takeout restaurant on the DoorDash platform after DoorDash drivers began showing up at his door.

“Starting the next day we had DoorDash delivery drivers coming by for orders,” Amon said. “We would turn them away saying well, we don’t, we don’t do DoorDash.”

Even though Marx Bros has never done takeout — or signed up with DoorDash — the restaurant was listed on the app. Amon then got on the phone and called DoorDash to get to the bottom of things.

“They started putting up roadblocks for me to verify that it was our restaurant and not who these other people were who signed up for it, rather than making the scammer verify his details,” Amon said.

After days of making calls, Marx Bros was eventually taken off the app for good. It seems that someone spoofed the restaurant — they even spelled it incorrectly.

“They took our menu off the website, it was our current menu with the current prices,” said Amon. “It had I think a picture of the restaurant that’s on the website, so they obviously poached the website.”

Although he didn’t lose money, Amon is concerned about his restaurant’s reputation and the way in which people perceive his company is doing business.

“I felt we needed to make our customers and the public aware that, hey if you think that you’re ordering from Marx Bros, you’re not, it’s a fake deal,” Amon said.

DoorDash has not replied to a request to comment on the matter.

“I don’t know if this is the only time this happened, or if it’s happened to other restaurants,” Amon said. “I can’t figure it for the life of me, why somebody would go to that trouble.”

The answer may lie with the customers themselves. Since they give their credit card information to DoorDash, they may also be giving it to scammers posing to be a legitimate company on the platform.

“I guess the question is, who has the money,” said Roseann Freitas, PR and communications manager at the Better Business Bureau.

Freitas says DoorDash is based in San Francisco, California and is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. They still maintain a B minus rating, primarily due to the high volume of complaints they receive.

“That impersonation thing, especially if it’s going through their platform is a problem for them that they too need to be aware of,” Freitas said. “So for the consumer right now it is, if that transaction was with DoorDash, then they reach to DoorDash, see if they can get their money back because this wasn’t a legitimate company.”

Freitas says since DoorDash allowed Marx Bros to be placed on its platform, they should be liable for paying customers any money they may have lost.