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Florida Food Delivery Law Protecting Restaurants Goes into Effect



The latest effort to help restaurants curb unauthorized third-party delivery business practices, a new Florida law went into effect on April 2, 2024.


Signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, legislation CS/SB 676 regulates third-party food delivery apps by requiring them to obtain permission from the food service establishments for which they arrange orders and disclose transaction costs to consumers.


‘Food Delivery Platform’ Defined

The Florida bill defines “food delivery platform” as a business that acts as a third-party intermediary for the consumer by taking and arranging for the delivery or pickup of orders from multiple food service establishments.


The bill does not apply to orders placed with, and fulfilled directly by, a food service establishment.



‘Food Service Establishment’ Defined

Under the bill, the term “food service establishment” is defined as any place where food is prepared, served, or sold for immediate consumption; called for or taken out by customers; or prepared prior to being delivered to another location for consumption.


Consent  

The Florida bill prohibits a food delivery platform from taking and arranging for the delivery or pickup of orders from a food service establishment without the express consent of that establishment, either in written or electronic form.


Disclosures  

Additionally, the bill requires a food delivery platform to itemize and clearly disclose to the consumer the cost breakdown of each transaction. The platform must also provide customers with pertinent  information about the delivery, including the anticipated time and date of the delivery and either confirmation that the order has been successfully delivered or a notification that the delivery cannot be completed.



Customer Communications

As of July 1, 2025, the bill will require  food delivery platforms to provide food service establishments with a contact method for the customer while the order is being prepared and delivered and for up to two hours after the order is picked up from the food service establishment. Additionally, the bill requires food delivery platforms to provide food service establishments a method for responding to a consumer’s ratings or reviews.


Listings

The legislation requires food delivery platforms to remove a food service establishment’s listing from the app within 10 days after receiving the establishment’s request for removal, with the only exception being when there is an existing agreement between the two parties stating otherwise.


Price Adjustments

Pursuant to the new law, a food delivery platform may not, without the food service establishment’s permission, intentionally inflate, decrease, or adjust  a food service establishment’s pricing.



Requirements  

The bill mandates the platform to clearly state all fees, commissions, and charges that the food service establishment is expected to pay or absorb, policies related to alcoholic beverages, insurance requirements, the collection and remittance of taxes, and how disputes will be resolved.


Disputes and Liability

The agreement between the platform and the food delivery establishment may not include a provision that requires the restaurant to indemnify the food delivery platform, or any employee, contractor, or agent of the platform, for any damage or harm caused by the acts or omissions of the platform, and its employees, contractors, or agents.


Transactions

Further, a food delivery platform may not  limit the value or number of transactions that may be disputed by a food service establishment with respect to orders, goods, or errors for determining responsibility and reconciling disputed transactions.


Enforcement and Penalties

The bill authorizes the  Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s  Division of Hotels and Restaurants to enforce the provisions in the bill by issuing cease and desist orders upon a finding of probable cause that there is has been violation and seeking an injunction or writ of mandamus against persons who violate the notice to cease and desist.


The bill authorizes the Division of Hotels and Restaurants to issue a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per offense for each violation and provides that the Division is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs if it is required to seek enforcement of a notice for a penalty.


Receptiveness by Platforms

So far, the major third party food delivery apps have been receptive to the legislation, with representatives stating that they appreciate the collaborative efforts outlined in the bill  which will allow food delivery platforms to support local restaurants while also protecting the privacy of consumers.



Take away

The new Florida bill is just one of many laws either on the books or in the works overseeing food delivery. As restaurant delivery continues to skyrocket, more and more regulations by local and state governments to protect restaurants will likely be enacted in the days and years to come.



By Eileen Strauss

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