DoorDash once again shows that it sees restaurants as a mere supplier in its relationship with diners, although more and more customers see companies like DoorDash as an unfortunate middleman between themselves and restaurants. The country’s largest delivery app is sue New York City for a new law this would force him to share customer data with restaurants, claiming this is a violation of the First Amendment.
New York City’s new law, approved by city council this summer, and which would go into effect in December, is one of many recent regulations that target the exploitative nature of third-party delivery applications. This law would simply allow restaurants and their customers to share a direct relationship instead of having mega-faceted delivery companies guarding and controlling the market, often at everyone’s expense, Andrew Rigie, executive director of New York Hospitality Alliance, said Amsterdam News.
Presumably, DoorDash understands that these restaurants could potentially use this data to directly woo these users, thereby reducing their growing reliance on apps and their ever-increasing marketing costs to reach customers. This called the law a shocking and pervasive intrusion into consumer privacy, and said it was tantamount to asking the company to share trade secrets. By forcing DoorDash to disclose this trade secret to restaurants, the ordinance eliminates DoorDash’s central proprietary right to the trade secret the exclusive use right, it said in the trial. The company also claimed that the law places no restrictions on what restaurants can do with this data.
There are legitimate privacy concerns when it comes to sharing data. Although the proposed law states that customers could refuse to share their personal information, some local activist groups have allied with DoorDash, saying the law could have dangerous repercussions for marginalized New Yorkers. … This is of particular concern for communities of color, vulnerable populations and undocumented migrants who use these apps, read a joint letter from the National Action Network, the New York Urban League and the Arc of Justice. Their safety could be in danger if this bill is passed in its current form. This is obviously not the intention of lawmakers, but it highlights that more work should be done to strengthen this bill before it is passed.
However, DoorDash is probably more concerned with its bottom line than the plight of undocumented immigrants. Some billion-dollar third-party delivery companies have long exploited local restaurants and misled the public in order to win their political battles, said Rigie, of the New York Hospitality Alliance.
When don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars pass (unconstitutional) legislation that denies workers their rights, DoorDash and other third-party delivery apps have increasingly engaged in legal battles against attempts to curb some of their most abusive practices. Recently, Chicago sued Grubhub and DoorDash to attack restaurants, lie to customers about fees and steal tips from delivery drivers. Chicago and new York Also among the cities that have instituted temporary caps on the percentage of fees that third-party delivery apps can charge to restaurants, as commission fees, many of which were hidden from restaurants, could exceed 30%.
To be clear, DoorDash wouldn’t have customer data to accumulate if it weren’t for the restaurants that diners wanted to order from. DoorDash doesn’t make your burger, and in many cases its not even by employing your delivery man. But he and companies like this are middlemen who rely on control to keep delivery customers locked into a relationship with them, rather than the restaurants actually producing the food. They recently got into trouble for charge commission fees on phone calls that come from redirected phone numbers that are often listed publicly instead of the restaurant’s actual phone number, even though those phone calls don’t result in actual orders. DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub have also been called in for listing restaurants without their permission, including restaurants that don’t even offer delivery.
At the same time, delivery apps started investing in ghost kitchens and other delivery-only businesses, which would allow them to completely remove existing restaurants in favor of their own white-label meals, away from the campaigns of ubiquitous marketers who have covered cityscapes throughout the pandemic, asking diners to save restaurants by ordering delivery, and leading to record revenues for every major delivery application.
It may not be possible to bypass third-party delivery apps entirely: many restaurants rely on them to provide online ordering and delivery services, which have become increasingly essential to survival during the pandemic. But these are companies that care about the well-being of restaurants in the same way that a pest depends on the well-being of its host. By all means, don’t stop ordering delivery. Maybe you just go to the restaurants website to see how they prefer you to order.
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