Capital Clicks

Bill would create new restrictions for Iowa food delivery apps

By: - February 14, 2022 4:36 pm

Customers carry take out orders from a restaurant. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Food delivery apps like Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats would be subject to new restrictions under a proposal moving through the Iowa House. 

House Study Bill 688 would require third-party delivery services to enter into a formal agreement with restaurants from which they deliver. That means the apps couldn’t advertise a restaurant’s menu without first reaching an agreement with the restaurant owner.

Jessica Dunker, president of the Iowa Restaurant Association, said many restaurants discovered third-party delivery services had posted their menu and offered delivery of their food – without any communication between the businesses.

“Does it seem like any other business can just take your stuff and sell it, and pretend they have a relationship with you?” Dunker asked. 

The bill also sets statewide standards for delivery vehicles. The food must be kept at a safe temperature and in a clean space in the car, and drivers may not smoke or vape. Drivers also wouldn’t be allowed to work for a rideshare app and pick up passengers while they’re delivering food.

Restaurants would be required to use a “tamper-resistant method” of packaging to prevent delivery drivers from taking a few bites on the way.

“This is important to us, because studies have shown that 28% of delivery drivers sample your food before they bring it to you,” Dunker said.

Uber, parent company of the food delivery service Uber Eats, registered against the proposal.

Lobbyist Kate Walton noted many provisions in the bill are already in Uber’s policies. She said Uber was open to an amended version of the proposal, asking for a “less formalized” agreement process between delivery companies and restaurants. 

“We do agree and support the language to prohibit the third party from hijacking the menu, raising the prices. We absolutely support that,” said Matt Eide, another Uber lobbyist. “What we’re looking for is a little freedom up front not to go in with a full-blown written contract on day one.”

The bill passed through subcommittee and committee on Monday. It remains eligible for consideration past this week’s legislative deadline.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.