What You Missed: Georgia Senate Study Committee on Food Delivery Apps - Second Meeting
On October 6, 2022, the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) Advocacy team, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and representatives from UberEats and DoorDash testified at the second meeting for a Senate Study Committee on Third-Party Delivery Apps. The study committee was established after Senate Resolution (SR) 428 was passed during the 2022 Legislative Session. A full recording of the past two meetings can be found here.
Members of the Senate Food Delivery App Study Committee - Find your legislators here.
Senator Elena Parent, Chairperson | District 42
Senator John Albers | District 56
Senator Frank Ginn | District 47
Senator Sally Harrell | District 40
Senator Harold Jones II | District 22
Galen Baxter | State Environmental Health Director, Georgia Department of Public Health
Giovanni R. Castro | Public Policy Manager - US South Region, Uber Technologies
Chad Horrell | Senior Manager of Government Relations, DoorDash
Karen Bremer, CAE | President + CEO, Georgia Restaurant Association
Senator Elena Parent expressed interest in third party delivery apps in early 2020 after witnessing the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry. During the 2021 legislative session, Senator Parent introduced Senate Bill (SB) 205 which would have prohibited third-party delivery apps from charging restaurants certain fees. SB 205 had its first hearing in the Senate’s Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee but ultimately did not make it out of committee. In 2022, Senator Parent introduced SR 428 which allowed the creation of a Senate Study Committee on Food Delivery Apps.
Testimonial from DPH
Galen Baxter shared a presentation with the study committee members that provided background on legislative precedent in other states (a bill recently passed in Iowa may be viewed here). Baxter pointed out that there are no consistent regulations of delivery apps on the state or federal level. Third-party delivery apps may allow multiple forms of transportation, including bicycling or walking deliveries, to their destination. When restaurants utilize their own delivery methods, they can monitor proper food handling techniques, hygiene, and temperature - a standard that is not guaranteed when restaurants enter a contract with a third-party delivery app.
Testimonials from Third-Party Delivery Apps
Giovanni Castro provided a historical background of UberEats, citing that the company actively partners with 14,000 restaurants across the state of Georgia; find Uber’s merchant impact report here. Castro reaffirmed Uber’s commitment to small restaurants, citing the Policy Principles developed in partnership with the National Restaurant Association and the company’s collaboration with the Conference for Food Protection. Uber delivery drivers are encouraged to use insulated bags, while restaurants are encouraged to use tamper-evident seals on outgoing orders. He also referenced an algorithm used by Uber to limit the travel time allowed between restaurant and drop-off point. Castro assured the committee that Uber only works with licensed restaurants, which are rigorously screened by the company prior to contract. When asked by Senator Parent if individualized contracts were available to partner restaurants, Castro was uncertain but promised to provide this information later.
Chad Horrell affirmed DoorDash’s commitment through programs like the Restaurant Accelerator Program and the recent appointment of Slutty Vegan’s Pinky Cole as Chief Restaurant Advisor for DoorDash. Horrell assured the committee that DoorDash is compliant with all local regulations, allows restaurants to provide feedback on delivery drivers, and is committed to consumer data privacy. DoorDash provides four different types of contracts for partner restaurants and a three-tier pricing package, allowing restaurants to control their own digital presence. Like UberEats, DoorDash has a set of guidelines which delivery drivers are required to follow. Although Horrell claimed that non-compliant delivery drivers can be restricted or removed from the platform, Senator Parent expressed concern that both DoorDash and UberEats lack consistent enforcement mechanisms to ensure the safe and sanitary handling of food products.
Closing Remarks from the GRA
Karen Bremer reminded the committee that only 10 states currently enforce third party delivery consent laws. She also acknowledged that while the GRA has a contractual affiliation with the National Restaurant Association, the GRA and its Board of Directors are responsible for establishing a platform on state-wide issues. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRA encouraged third-party delivery and facilitated digital marketing platforms for many restaurants. However, misrepresentation of restaurants on third-party delivery platforms without a pre-existing contract is a recurring issue. Bremer also expressed concern that UberEats no longer requires regular vehicle inspections for their delivery drivers and reminded members of the committee that restaurants are legally obligated to follow strict FDA food code requirements and maintain operating permits.
Want to Learn More? Upcoming Committee Meeting Dates are Listed Below:
November 1, 2022 | Presentation of Research Report & Final Vote (no testimony permitted)
Questions or Concerns? Contact us below:
Scott Bierman | Director of Government Affairs
Daniel New | Director of Local Advocacy