Food delivery apps can be helpful for customers and businesses, but not all third-party delivery services operate the same.
These apps, such as UberEats, DoorDash and Grubhub, may charge these restaurants anywhere from 15 to 35 percent commission of the order total.
State Rep. Mike Mueller of Fenton Township introduced House Bill 5770, which would prohibit third-party distribution companies from using any likeness, trademark, or other intellectual property of a merchant without consent from the company.
The bill was introduced May 19 and sent to the Committee on Ways and Means on June 23. Mueller testified before the House Commerce
and Tourism Committee on the bill. His plan is to protect restaurants from being taken advantage of by independent delivery services.
“Some delivery services are offering food from restaurants on their apps without first getting permission from the business, and it’s costing restaurants money,” Mueller said in a press release. “Our restaurant owners are already struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, to top it off, restaurants who do have active partnerships are being charged fees that are not expressively written in their contracts. My plan will protect our restaurant owners.”
The bill, which would amend Public Act 331, the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, would include this text:
“A third-party delivery service shall not use a likeness, trademark, or other intellectual property belonging to a merchant without obtaining written consent from the merchant to use the likeness, trademark or other intellectual property. Written consent under this subsection must be reflected in a valid agreement.”
In order to form an agreement, the third-party delivery service must be registered to do business in this state.
Not all of the aforementioned food delivery companies operate in the tri-county area. Fenton Express is a popular option locally for customers and restaurants.
Jason Warda, owner of the Fenton Pub, The Barn and Ponemah Lakeside Lodge, said, “I looked into using DoorDash but their fees were outrageous so I never did. We were using Fenton Food Express back when they were going strong and had a much more reasonable rate negotiated with them.”
In the press release, Mueller also raised concerns about food quality. A third-party service could take longer to deliver food at no fault of the restaurant.
“I’m worried for our family owned restaurants,” Mueller said. “While listing a restaurant on a delivery-service app might seem like a good advertising opportunity, it’s not the case when the company is unfairly subjected to service fees.”