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National Restaurant Association partners with third-party providers to release Public Policy Principles framework

Framework creates best practices enhancing protection for operators, delivery providers

The National Restaurant Association developed seven Public Policy Principles of Third-Party Delivery to provide a framework for best practices, helping guide lawmakers erecting public policy. The year-long work of the Association was participatory with restaurant operators, and reflects a mutual agreement between the industry and third-party delivery providers.

“The teams at Uber Eats and Postmates are committed to the restaurant community,” said Stephane Ficaja, head of Uber Delivery for the U.S. & Canada.

A major sticking point for restaurants was third-party delivery providers listing them on their apps and marketplaces without restaurant consent. Now, this framework explicitly states that third-party delivery companies should make it easy to be removed from platforms. In addition, they should not misrepresent their relationship with restaurant to consumers.

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The Public Policy Principles do not address the cost of delivery to restaurants, and lack a customer bill of rights and transparency for diners/app users. According to foodservice Technomic, 76 percent of restaurant operators prefer a flat delivery fee, rather than a variable commission based on the order total. However, the framework is sure to be a welcome first step for many hot-button issues within the restaurant industry.

A survey of 1,000 adults conducted by the Association reflects pent-up demand for tasty restaurant meals. In the December 7-9, 2020 survey, 70 percent of adults said they ordered delivery from a restaurant and 40 percent had used third-party restaurant delivery. The pandemic has accelerated the comfort with technology and new ways to enjoy restaurant food, suggested the Association in an announcement.

“Until now, the relationship between restaurants and third-party delivery companies lacked a national framework to protect restaurants,” said Mike Whatley, vice president for State and Local Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “These new Principles, which center around permission and transparency, add consistency and structure that will benefit all restaurants. This agreement represents an important first step in an ongoing dialogue between restaurants and third-party delivery companies about ways to improve our relationship going forward.”

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The seven Public Policy Principles of Third-Party Delivery, which 90 percent of customers who ordered delivery in the past six months approve of, released by the Association, are as follows:

  • Restaurants have a right to know and determine when and if their food is delivered.
  • Customers should expect the same degree of food safety from delivery as they do when dining in a restaurant.
  • Restaurants should be able to offer alcohol to customers through third-party delivery in a safe and legal manner.
  • Restaurants deserve transparency on fees (including commissions, delivery fees, and promotional fees) charged by third-party delivery companies.
  • Third-party food delivery contracts need contractual transparency, and issues surrounding fees, costs, terms, policies, marketing practices involving the restaurant or its likeness, and insurance/indemnity should be clear.
  • Sales tax collection responsibility must be clear in terms of which party is collecting and remitting the specific sales tax to the appropriate authority.
  • As a best practice, third-party delivery companies should offer restaurants access to anonymized information regarding orders from their restaurant that originate on third-party platforms.
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Seth Priebatsch, chief revenue officer at Grubhub, said, “These principles will help strengthen the critical relationship between the diners, drivers and restaurants that has grown even more important during the pandemic,”

To view the policy guide, navigate here.

Photo credit: National Restaurant Association (featured preview image)

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