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Georgia bill would standardize food delivery services like DoorDash, UberEats

Measure would regulate food rides, give restaurants more clout

ATLANTA — The Georgia state legislature plans to consider a bill to standardize food delivery service.

Senate Bill 34 could take some of the rough edges off of what has been kind of a love-hate relationship between restaurants and tech-driven delivery services.

"I don’t know of any restaurant that is stoked about working with third party delivery services," said Matt Hinton, founder of Bell Street Burritos, located in Buckhead, the BeltLine and in Tucker.

His restaurant did a brisk Friday noontime business with familiar delivery apps. The meal exits the restaurant in the hands of a driver and disappears. 

"And then thirty minutes later, we get a call from the customer saying their chips and salsa is missing," Hinton said, chuckling.  "And it wouldn’t surprise me if that delivery driver had some crumbs in his beard."

Hinton said that happens just often enough to sour the relationship with tech-driven delivery services because the delivery services aren't accountable for the accuracy of the order or the length of time it takes to deliver it.

A bill in the state senate could give restaurants more control. It would:

  • Require the food delivery service to enter into a contract with the restaurant – which is not required now;
  • Require the delivery service to get permission first to use a restaurant name or logo in its marketing – also not required now;
  • It would require clean food holding areas in vehicles;
  • And packing to maintain the food’s temperature  in tamper-resistant packaging;
  • With no smoking, vaping or animals – except service animals – allowed in a delivery vehicle

"We hope it will provide protection for our restaurants of their intellectual property," said Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association.  "We also have deep, deep concerns about the lack of food safety that these third party delivery companies do not exercise."

A DoorDash spokesperson said drivers must agree to delivery guidelines and that in November 2020, it stopped taking on additional restaurants without their consent. 

"We are proud of the service we provide to all partners – restaurants, Dashers, and consumers alike – in Georgia. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to help restaurants and other businesses grow to reach their full potential,” a DoorDash spokesperson said in a statement sent to 11Alive News.

The legislature has been eyeing this issue for nearly a year. The bill that dropped this week has support from Republicans and Democrats in the state senate.

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