Restaurant owners across the country, including Chicago, have expressed frustration with DoorDash and Grubhub when the delivery companies posted unauthorized content on their platforms. The practice claimed by third parties is consumer-centric – it gives customers access to as many restaurant options as possible. However, the restaurant owners complain about outdated menus and prices, saying that the practice is unfair and the restaurant owners have no recourse if an order is late or if a courier makes a mistake
Last week Senator Melinda Bush, a Democrat from Grayslake, introduced an invoice that would make these acts illegal. Senate Act 672The Fair Food Delivery Act would prevent third party delivery services from „using a merchant’s likeness, registered trademark, or intellectual property without obtaining the merchant’s written consent”. The bill made it through the Senate and is awaiting a House vote.
In a press release, Bush admits that third parties can raise more money for restaurants, but contextualizes concerns by pointing out staff shortages that can result in insufficient staff in the kitchen to handle a large order intake. „It’s just not fair when other people receive benefits from a company without permission to ship its items,” says Bush.
Companies would be fined $ 1,000 per violation every day. The bill also authorizes restaurants to reimburse damages or at least $ 5,000. California is the only state in the country with a similar policy. Legislature in Rhode Island and New York have also considered taking action.
Grubhub tells Crain’s, who first reported on the billthat restaurants can email requests to remove menus and other content. They are also developing tools to make this easier after hearing complaints. Grubhub had claimed One of the main tasks to stay competitive is to connect customers to as many restaurants as possible without authorization.
Last month, Lacey Irby, owner of Lakeview’s Dear Margaret, said Grubhub posted a menu without her approval. She’s glad the state is taking action, as she’s now regularly checking third-party platforms to make sure they aren’t listing her restaurant without consent.
„It’s absolutely ridiculous to me that third-party ordering platforms like Grubhub can list a restaurant on their website without the restaurant’s consent, much less take orders based on old, incorrect menus,” Irby told Eater. „You could also call it restaurant cat fishing – and imagine how customers must feel when they are cheated on!”
Sam Sanchez runs many popular bars and restaurants in River North and Wrigleyville, including household names like John Barleycorn’s and Old Crow Smokehouse. His daughter Samantha has since opened new offices, including La Luna in Pilsen and Tree House in River North. The elder Sanchez is also the chairman of the board of the Illinois Restaurant Association. Last year he was among a group of restaurant owners who turned to the Chicago City Council to express their frustrations.
„The IRA fully supports them, and we appreciate Senator Bush and the Illinois General Assembly working on this matter,” writes Sanchez Eater. “Third-party delivery services should not deliver a restaurant’s food or use its name or likeness without the company’s consent. It is a sensible move to protect and support local restaurants when they need it most. „
Chicago has set a percentage of 15 percent of what third parties could charge for restaurants. This policy, created to protect restaurants struggling during the pandemic, was immediately lifted when the city increased the number of customers allowed in dining rooms. The city is considering extending the border until autumn.