According to Rep. Robb Greene, R-Shelbyville, third-party delivery companies are more about collecting data from consumers than delivering a piping-hot pizza.
Oftentimes, Greene said, food delivery companies such as Postmates and Uber Eats know more about a business’ customers than the actual business does. So Greene is serving up House Bill 1279 to offer an “out” for food service businesses that are in contracts with delivery services they are unhappy with.
“The third parties aren’t so much in the business of delivering food as they are in the business of data and marketing,” Greene said. “Since the logistical costs of providing delivery are high, data exploitation is not only cheaper, but it’s easier to scale.”
According to the bill’s digest, HB 1279 requires a third-party food delivery service to terminate a service contract with a restaurant no later than 72 hours after the business says they wish to dissolve the contract.
The bill also states third-party services would no longer be allowed to offer a restaurant’s food without its consent.
Incidentally, a study by Circuit Route Planner determined that almost 80% of delivery drivers admit to eating a part of their customer’s food.
The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee with a 10-1 vote, only denied by Sen. Spencer Deery, R-West Lafayette.
“It’s about empowering the restaurant owner themselves,” Greene said. “Some have chosen to not play in this part of the market. Some individuals don’t want to let somebody that they have no control over.”
Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, was concerned that the bill could be putting businesses before Hoosiers.
“While I agree with this, I think it’s good to provide a course of action, but we’re giving more rights to small restaurant owners than we are to every Hoosier,” Yoder said.
Sen. Andrea Hunley, D-Indianapolis, supported the bill because she personally had an odd experience with a third-party service provider.
“So I had a circumstance where there’s a restaurant in my district and I placed an order online so that I could just drive by, pick it up and keep on my way home,” Hunley said. “And when I walked inside, they were like, ‘That’s not a real website.’”
Greene said combatting that kind of situation is almost impossible for restaurant owners with their strenuous hours.
Restaurants have a challenging time pushing back because the delivery services “continue to just wear them down, and wear them down, and wear them down,” as Greene said.
“So a lot of restaurants just, you know, they give up, they don’t have the ability to constantly be, you know, searching the internet and pushing back,” he said. “They often don’t know who to push back against.”
He also said New York City and Chicago have created similar legislation.
Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Goshen, gave his compliments to the chef, or Greene, calling HB 1279 “one of the best bills in the session.”
Ashlyn Myers is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.