These jerk chicken fries shown on the Scoootr site look good, but you'll have to go to Laylah's to try them.
I found a flyer for it in a brewery tasting room, misspelling the word "Scooter." But that’s nothing new with internet domains. This site was called Scoootr.com, with three Os, and it offered food delivery via motor scooter, whether you order from a tasting room, or your house.
A vintage scooter photo backs Scoootr's claim it delivers to Laylah's Jamaican Food. It does not.
I bit. Sitting at home one night, I typed Scoootr.com into my browser and found a clunky site, offering only a handful of restaurants. Again, nothing out of the ordinary; a lot of under-funded delivery sites struggle to get restaurant clients, or sophisticated coders. In lieu of tech savvy, Scoootr had settled for cuteness. Above the name of each restaurant was a photo of a vintage scooter. A chihuahua announced a flat $4.50 delivery fee.
This email order confirmation was a flat-out lie.
Among the short list of eateries I found Laylah’s Jamaican Food, a little Caribbean spot in Barrio Logan I’d enjoyed previously. For $10.70, I went for the jerk chicken fries, listed with a photo of what looked like carne asada fries, but with jerk chicken. I still think they sound good.
On the order confirmation page, I noticed Scoootr was charging me $5.20 for delivery, not the $4.50 advertised. I dug around a little bit and figured out the company behind the site was based in Texas, and called Tacos & Scooters. I chalked it up the overcharged to different market costs. After all, as the home page told me, Scoootr serves a number of cities: Houston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Miami. I accepted the charge, and ordered.
My order was confirmed via email, with a notice it would arrive within 60 minutes. But as the hours went by, nothing. No order tracking, no updated delivery status. When I called Laylah’s, the restaurant had already closed.
I clicked around the Scootr web site for a phone number: busy. I searched around some more and found a different, local number for Tacos & Scooters: “The wireless customer you are calling is not available. Please try again later.” Maybe it had gone out of business, and this was just a zombie business, not really accepting orders. Even though it also sells gift cards.
But when I checked my credit card online: the charge had posted.
In the two weeks since, I’ve made several attempts to reach Scoootr for an explanation. Multiple emails and calls have all gone unanswered. When I did speak to someone at Laylah’s, they had never heard of Scoootr, nor had ever received a delivery order for a company by that name. I got the same response from other restaurants named on the web site as delivery clients. One person told me his restaurant frequently used delivery services, but, “We don’t use that delivery partner at all.”
One brewery tasting room manager I spoke to had heard of Scoootr, from a self-identified Scoootr sales employee looking to expand the San Diego market. But nobody other than me seems to have fallen for it.
I reported the phony charge to my credit card provider, and within 12 hours it had been investigated and reversed. If you spot a flyer for Scoootr, toss it out. If you try to use it, you’ll only go to bed hungry.