It will be a little more challenging for app-based delivery companies to do business in California. The Los Angeles Times reported a pair of new laws from the California legislature will require firms like Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates to collaborate with restaurants before advertising menus. In addition, drivers must ensure meal safety while the meals are in transit.
It’s the latest effort to regulate a sector that has fought attempts to provide rules as these firms grow and become more profitable amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the newspaper reported.
Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday (Sept. 23), the laws mandate the firms sign agreements with eateries before posting ads to deliver their food. Proponents insist restaurateurs may be unaware their food is being advertised or even delivered by one of these firms. They argue it makes these businesses vulnerable to complaints if customers have a bad experience.
“When Uber Eats, DoorDash and other gig companies operate under their own rules, businesses and consumers are harmed,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), one of the bill’s authors, told the Times.
The law does not specify what should be included in these agreements. The wording says online companies must work with a restaurant owner to craft a document “expressly authorizing the food delivery platform to take orders and deliver meals prepared by the food facility,” the newspaper reported.
The bills were introduced by lawmakers after restaurant owners accused these online, app-based companies of promising food deliveries without guarantees. For example, they have said the food could be prepared somewhere else or contain false labels.
A few months ago, the owner of a Los Angeles barbecue pop-up asked Grubhub to remove an unapproved listing for his menu items after he never received food he ordered.
“If they want you to be on their app they should at least speak with you first, instead of going behind your back,” Moo’s Craft Barbecue owner Andrew Munoz told the Times. “It just becomes one more thing you have to worry about as a business owner.”
A second law requires these delivery companies to guarantee temperature controls and cleanliness while delivering meals to customers. Restaurants must also install packaging before giving it to the delivery person to assure the food has not been touched.
Both laws will take effect on Jan. 1.