DoorDash sues New York City over rights to customer data

AP – DoorDash is suing New York City over a new law that requires delivery companies to share customer data with restaurants.

The lawsuit filed on Wednesday is the latest in a string of legal tussles between delivery companies and local governments, reflecting unease over the phenomenal growth of delivery and its impact on restaurants.

Last week, DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats sued New York over a separate bill that caps fees delivery companies can charge to restaurants.

DoorDash and Grubhub are also suing San Francisco over fee caps adopted there.

In its new lawsuit, DoorDash said an ordinance passed by the New York City Council in late July is unconstitutional and violates customer privacy.

Under the law, delivery companies must share data collected on customers — including names, addresses, phone numbers and order contents — with any restaurant that requests that information.

A delivery man bikes with a food bag from Grubhub in New York. PHOTO: AP

Customers can opt out and keep their information private, but only on an order-by-order basis.

“In an era of heightened concerns about data privacy and identity theft, this compelled disclosure is a shocking and invasive intrusion of consumers’ privacy,” the San Francisco company said in its court filing. The company noted that in-person diners would never be asked to share the same information with restaurants.

But many restaurants – fed up with delivery fees and lack of transparency – supported the bill. The NYC Hospitality Alliance, which represents 25,000 bars and restaurants in New York, said the bill ensures that restaurants can market directly to their customers.

The law also makes it easier for restaurants to leave delivery platforms without losing access to their customers.

“DoorDash spends millions of dollars to take restaurants’ customers and withhold their information so they can control the market and extract more fees from small businesses,” said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the alliance.

Delivery companies saw big sales gains over the last year as pandemic lockdowns closed restaurant dining rooms and more people ate at home.

DoorDash booked a record 345 million orders in its most-recent quarter, and its sales jumped 83 per cent from the prior year to USD1.24 billion.