California Passes Strict New Rules for Meal Delivery Companies

Delivery platforms to be held accountable for accurate advertising and food safety.

September 29, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California legislature has passed two new laws that will require firms like Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates to collaborate with restaurants before advertising menus, reports It’s the state’s latest effort to regulate a sector that has grown rapidly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new laws mandate that the firms sign agreements with eateries before posting ads to deliver their food. Proponents says restaurateurs may be unaware their food is being advertised or even delivered by one of these firms, which makes these businesses vulnerable to complaints if customers have a bad experience. In addition, delivery drivers must now ensure meal safety while the food is in transit.

The law does not specify what should be included in the agreements between foodservice operators and delivery companies. The wording says online companies must work with a restaurant owner to craft a document “expressly authorizing the food delivery platform to take orders and deliver meals prepared by the food facility.”

The bills were introduced by lawmakers after restaurant owners complained that the app-based delivery services promised food deliveries without guarantees. They have said the food could be prepared somewhere else or contain false labels.

“If they want you to be on their app, they should at least speak with you first, instead of going behind your back,” said Andrew Munoz, owner of Moo’s Craft Barbecue. “It just becomes one more thing you have to worry about as a business owner.”

A second law requires the delivery companies to guarantee temperature controls and cleanliness while transporting meals to customers, and restaurants must use packaging that ensures the contents have not been touched before giving it to the delivery person. Both laws take effect on Jan. 1.

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