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Restaurant Roundup: NYC Passes Delivery Driver Protections

The battle between New York City and the major food delivery services wages on. On Thursday (Sept. 23), the New York City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing approved seven measures meant to improve food delivery drivers’ gig working conditions.

These measures included setting distance limits, requiring delivery services to disclose what portion of a tip goes to the driver, requiring them to provide the insulated food delivery bags without charging drivers, establishing minimum payment per trip, requiring payment to drivers at least once a week and requiring the delivery services to make their toilets available to drivers on the job, among other protections.

“These bills are common-sense steps to support the delivery workers who work hard every day for New York’s restaurants and residents. Ensuring they receive a living wage and have access to restrooms isn’t just a good idea — it’s the right thing to do,” Grant Klinzman, a Grubhub spokesperson, said in a statement.

“We recognize the unique challenges facing delivery workers in New York City and share the goal of identifying policies that will help Dashers and workers like them,” DoorDash spokesperson Campbell Millum said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the City Council, to identify ways to support all delivery workers in New York City without unintended consequences.”

Earlier this month, Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats filed a lawsuit against the city for making permanent fee caps, which limit the portion of a sale that food delivery services charge restaurants to 20% total, including commission, transaction fees and marketing. These caps began as a short-term measure when delivery sales spiked during the early months of the pandemic, with restaurant dining rooms closed.

Additionally, DoorDash sued the city again less than a week later, contesting a law that mandates food delivery services to share consumer data with restaurants.

See also: Restaurant Aggregators Sue NYC Over Fee Caps in Move to Shape the Future of Delivery Economics  

Nathan’s Famous Expands to France

Nathan’s Famous, the Brooklyn-based quick service restaurant (QSR) chain known for its hot dogs, announced on Wednesday (Sept. 22) that it is partnering with an American-style, ’50s-inspired diner chain in France, Tommy’s Cafe, to bring Nathan’s hot dogs to its locations throughout the country.

In the past couple of years, the company’s expansion strategy has been centered on the idea of accessibility, making its offerings available however a consumer may want to order.

“We knew the restaurant industry was moving in a direction that was all about accessibility,” James Walker, the chain’s senior vice president of restaurants, told PYMNTS. “Drive-thrus and delivery and off-premises — you could just see the numbers escalating. And we said, ‘we don’t want to jump on that train. We want to get there before the train.'”

Read more: Nathan’s Famous Doubles Down on Ghost Kitchens as Hottest QSR Trend Accelerates

Nathan’s Famous currently has locations in 18 foreign countries. As of late June, about 2% of the company’s total revenues came from its international business, per a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.

Denny’s Launches Web and Mobile Update

Full-service restaurant chain Denny’s, which has 1,600 diners in the United States and abroad, announced on Thursday (Sept. 23) that it is relaunching its website and mobile app to make the ordering experience quicker and more convenient. The restaurant describes this move as “the beginning of Denny’s long-term digital transformation.”

The new ordering platforms are meant to be easier to use and more personalized, recommending past favorites and allowing for quick reordering.

“Today’s launch is the first major step in our mission to redefine how the modern American family dines together, and to establish Denny’s as the leader in the digital guest experience,” Michael Furlow, the chain’s chief information officer, said in a statement. “Evolving our digital capabilities is a key component of our long-term vision and growth strategy, and offers the very best of Denny’s at an important time for our business and our guests.”

PYMNTS’ data from The Bring-It-to-Me Economy, a collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, which surveyed more than 5,000 U.S. consumers about their shopping habits, found that 61% order restaurant food online, and 58% are doing so more often now than before the start of the pandemic. Additionally, 48% of consumers are ordering for delivery from restaurants’ websites more often than pre-March 2020, and 46% are ordering more from these websites for pickup.

Related news: Bring-It-to-Me Economy Ascends as Consumers Embrace Home-Centric Lifestyles

Subway Sales Hit Eight-Year High Following Rebranding

Subway, the world’s largest QSR chain by unit count, announced on Tuesday (Sept. 21) that sales are way up following a mid-July brand update. In August, U.S. sales were up 4% on a two-year stack, marking the chain’s best-performing month since 2013.

“The journey to build a better Subway has begun, and the changes are having a positive impact on restaurant sales,” said John Chidsey, the restaurant brand’s CEO.

In July, the company announced the largest menu update in its history, featuring new and updated sandwiches and enhancements to the chain’s digital platforms. The sales bump the following month came at a time when preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data showed that sales remained relatively flat across the restaurant industry.

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