INDIANAPOLIS — Countless restaurants and food service business survived the pandemic thanks to delivery services like DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats.
For eateries, it was a marriage of necessity.
Now, Indiana restaurants would like the option of divorce.
“Companies like Grub Hub claim in theory to be a partner to small independent operators. However, in practice, many restauranteurs find themselves cooking on behalf of billion-dollar bullies,” said Indiana Representative Robb Greene in February to the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development.
Greene knows a few things about restaurants and food delivery. He is one of the founders of ClusterTruck, a delivery-only kitchen in Indianapolis.
His bill would require delivery services enter into written agreements with restaurants before offering the eateries offerings. Failure to do that would place the delivery service in jeopardy of a lawsuit with possible damages of up to $50,000 per transaction.
A Door Dash spokesman notes, “since November 2020, DoorDash does not add restaurants to our platform to facilitate pickup or delivery orders without the restaurant’s consent. We will continue to work with policymakers to help Indiana restaurants grow their business and reach their goals.”
After amending and passing it in the State Senate, the legislation returns to the Indiana House for a final vote.
But there may be a catch, with changes to the bill.
The influential Indiana Chamber of Commerce is not enthusiastic it.
Adam Berry, vice president of Economic Development and Technology, tells FOX59 the organization has “friends on both sides” of this issue. But, it concludes the legislation as written could entangle internet providers and search engines in lawsuits for facilitating delivery purchases.
Asked whether the Chamber of Commerce has a preference whether the bill passes or fails, Berry said urging defeat of the bill, “probably is a step too far… but our hearts wouldn’t be broken if it (failed).”
What would potentially be the final vote on the legislation is not yet scheduled. Should it pass, it would be served up to Governor Eric Holcomb to decide.