(The Center Square) – A measure intended to protect Illinois restaurants from unauthorized third-party delivery services has cleared the House and Senate.
The plan, known as the Fair Food and Retail Act, would prohibit services like Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats from using the name, likeness, or intellectual property of a merchant without first obtaining written approval. The delivery services also would not be allowed to provide delivery or pick-up services without that approval.
“If you have somebody representing your goodwill within your community, you’ve got to have an understanding of who that is and what they’re doing with it,” state Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said. “We need to make sure our mom and pop businesses, after what they’ve been through under COVID, are looked out after. We have to stop this abuse.”
Keicher, chief co-sponsor of the measure, says the bad-faith actions of some delivery services across the state prompted lawmakers to act.
“That unaffiliated delivery service would place the order, come and pick it up, and deliver it to the customer,” Keicher said. “The restaurant, in many cases, didn’t know any better. The restaurant would then get phone calls from angry customers, customers who hadn’t gotten their order or who had gotten the wrong order, or customers that had different charges that weren’t related.”
Many disputes center around the posting of unauthorized menus or the presence of unexpected additional charges and fees of a bill.
“Their entire being and their entire life’s work is in that restaurant,” Keicher said. “For someone to come in and damage that reputation or alter the experience of the customer that the owner has worked sometimes generations to experience, it’s wrong.”
He argued that too often services like Grubhub, Door Dash, and Uber Eats are taking advantage of small businesses.
“Because of the nature of mom-and-pop restaurants, the technical savvy and the awareness of business practices isn’t going to be the same of some of the major national restaurant chains that already have these established relationships,” Keicher said. “They don’t have the resources to monitor that and check that.”
If services continue to operate without written permission, businesses could bring a claim to court and recover damages.
“We’re not saying you can’t do it,” Keicher said. “If you are doing it, you just have to make sure you’re both on the same page.”
House Bill 3205 could soon be sent to the governor’s desk for action.