Bill to Prohibit Unauthorized Listing of Restaurants Passes Legislature

The Monroe County Legislature passed the Food Delivery Fairness Act introduced by Legislator Rachel Barnhart. The bill gives restaurants more control over their businesses amid a rise in the use of third-party food delivery services, such as Grubhub and DoorDash.

The Food Delivery Fairness Act would not allow third-party food delivery services to list restaurants on their platforms without written authorization. Restaurants do not like this practice, because it deprives them of control over a variety of aspects of their businesses, including quality of service, gratuities, and volume of orders. Some restaurants don’t want to participate in any delivery or takeout services, and others already offer their own in-house delivery services.

“I recently got a call from a restaurant that was furious that when you Googled the business, the first phone number that came up was a 585 number that called Grubhub, not the restaurant. For an unknown period of time, this restaurant had been paying deceptive and unnecessary commissions to Grubhub,” Legislator Barnhart said. “This is a well-known problem in Monroe County and across the country. The Food Delivery Fairness Act gives power back to restaurants to operate independently of the food delivery apps,” said Barnhart. Similar legislation recently passed in Albany County.

Barnhart had introduced a second bill that would cap what third-party food delivery services can charge restaurants in commission fees. The services often charge restaurants 30 percent or more in commission fees on each order. Barnhart, however, requested that the bill be tabled to continue to gather input from stakeholders, and to allow litigation about fee caps to proceed in other cities.

Three major third-party delivery services – DoorDash, Uber Eats and GrubHub – control 95 percent of the multi-billion dollar food delivery service market in the U.S. The market dominance of only a few players means small, independent restaurants have little negotiating power. The Food Delivery Fairness Act ends some of the more abusive practices of the third-party food delivery services.

The Food Delivery Fairness Act awaits the County Executive’s signature.