Council President M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), Chair of the Governance & Education Committee, alongside her Council Colleagues passed the Fair Food Delivery Bill in a unanimous vote on Monday. The legislation supports restaurants by making sure food delivery apps seek consent from the business before listing them on the platform.
“During COVID, our small businesses and restaurants faced incredible challenges, and have used their entrepreneurial insight to pivot their business models. While some restaurants found success utilizing food delivery platforms, others restaurants that did not sign up for those platforms have found challenges to being on those apps. The Fair Food Delivery Bill will ensure our restaurants are given autonomy over their businesses, and must provide consent before being listed on the apps,” said González.
The usage of food delivery apps has grown during the pandemic, as more customers sought convenient access to their favorite restaurants that transitioned to take-out or limited service because of COVID-19. While some restaurants pivoted and benefited from food delivery apps, other restaurants have shared that they did not provide consent to be on the app. At times, restaurant owners didn’t know their businesses were on the apps, and couldn’t make contact with the platforms to remove their businesses. This resulted in many challenges, including not being able to change outdated menus and issues with orders that ultimately impacted customer relationships.
“I have no control over our menu and the delivery services are always wrong. The drivers will not communicate with the customers for us, so we sub to the best of our ability. Sometimes we end up with angry customers because they did not get the order they asked for, and it is completely out of our control. My menu and logo are my intellectual properties that I developed. No one should not be able to use them without my explicit permission. This is long overdue,” said Miki Sodos, owner/operator of Cafe Pettirosso, Bang Bang Cafe, and Bang Bang Kitchen.
“On behalf of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, I want to thank Council President Gonzalez and the entire Council for recognizing that allowing any business to profit from the name, logo, or menu of Seattle’s restaurants without the restaurants’ permission is exploitative and unfair. While it’s true that food delivery platforms can provide a useful service for restaurants and their customers, it should be each individual restaurant’s choice whether they utilize it or not. Seattle restaurant patrons can now have confidence that, when they enjoy the convenience of third-party delivery apps, they will also receive the high-quality food and experience they have come to expect from their favorite restaurants,” said Steve Hooper, president of Ethan Stowell Restaurants and president of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance.
The Fair Food Delivery Bill does the following:
- Requires food delivery platforms establish a written agreement prior to offering takeout or delivery from any restaurant in Seattle
- Allows restaurants to end the agreement with a written request
- Platforms would have to remove the restaurant’s listing within 72 hours
- Create a maximum penalty of $250 per violation
- Revenues from penalties will be used to support small restaurants
The legislation will go into effect on September 15, 2021.
The Fair Food Delivery Bill builds on González previous legislation that helps small businesses and restaurants. The legislation placed a 15% cap on app-based delivery and pick-up commission fees charged to restaurants, so restaurants can keep more of their revenues when using app-based takeout and delivery services.
Council President González with Miki Sodos, owner/operator of Cafe Pettirosso, Bang Bang Cafe, and Bang Bang Kitchen.