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caption: Miki Sodos chats with customers outside Cafe Pettirosso on Capitol Hill in Seattle
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Miki Sodos chats with customers outside Cafe Pettirosso on Capitol Hill in Seattle
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Your order has been canceled: Delivery apps could need consent to list Seattle restaurants

It could soon be illegal for services like DoorDash and Uber Eats to deliver food unless they have the restaurant owner’s consent. That bill passed the Seattle City Council unanimously Monday, and now awaits the mayor’s signature.

Here’s the problem: A company like Uber Eats finds an old menu on the web somewhere. And it tells customers: Here’s what this restaurant offers. Pay us, and we’ll place an order and deliver it for you.

But sometimes the menu and the prices are outdated.

Miki Sodos owns three restaurants, including Bang Bang Kitchen, Bang Bang Cafe, and Cafe Pettirosso. When her restaurant gets listed on Postmates, she calls and asks them to take it down. Postmates keeps offering steak tacos, which her restaurants have not carried for a year and a half.

When that happened a couple weeks ago, her kitchen staff did the best they could.

“So we subbed out some brisket tacos, and whatever the other items closest to it, and so, of course, 45 minutes later, we get a call. And not only is their food cold, they are they demanding their money back, but I have no way to refund the money.”

Sodos says customers end up disappointed due to problems with these companies a couple times a week. She says the only way to regain control of her menu online is to sign up with these meal delivery companies.

Sodos doesn't want to; she has only signed up with Grubhub.

But holding those companies at arm's length doesn't protect her from their aggressive tactics, which she says hurt her reputation.

caption: Miki Sodos outside Cafe Pettirosso in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood
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Miki Sodos outside Cafe Pettirosso in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

“You know, every time someone has a bad experience, they’re gonna tell their husband, they’re gonna tell their wife, their partner, their friends. And so, in that whole circle, they’re gonna have a negative reaction when they hear of my restaurants. So it directly correlates with a loss of revenue.”

A city analysis found this problem especially hurts Asian Americans, who own 41% of Seattle’s restaurants.

Racial Equity In Restaurant Ownership
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Credit: Seattle City Council

The Council's bill now goes to the mayor’s desk for final approval. A spokesperson said Mayor Jenny Durkan hasn’t had time to review the final version yet.

Uber Eats, which also owns Postmates, did not respond to a request for comment.