New Yorkers love our neighborhood restaurants. When COVID scared us into staying home and avoiding crowds, it was great that so many restaurants embraced home delivery. Millions of New Yorkers downloaded apps that simplified our lives and helped our restaurants: DoorDash, GrubHub, Seamless, Caviar, Uber Eats, and the list goes on. These apps are not perfect as the fees can be high and restaurant choices limited. Still, they were a lifesaver for many restaurants and made the pandemic much easier for consumers.
It may be obvious that chefs are not experts at building websites, managing delivery staff, and handling consumer data, and that app companies don’t cook great meals. But by working together, the delivery apps free restaurants from the mundane yet important tasks of remote business so they can focus on our food. It’s a partnership that works well for the businesses and consumers, which makes it perplexing that the New York City Council wants to change these relationships. Other cities have capped delivery fees 10 or 15 percent, but only New York City is considering forcing apps to share customers’ personal data with restaurants. This could be a recipe for a data disaster.