- Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash have reached settlements with the Arizona attorney general's office regarding allegations of discrimination based on race, according to a press release.
- The charges claimed that promotions to waive delivery fees for Black-owned restaurants, "unlawfully discriminated against non-Black-owned restaurants and their patrons, in violation of the Arizona Civil Rights Act." The companies will no longer offer any delivery fee discounts or price-related discounts to Arizona customers based on a restaurant owner's race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, per the agreements.
- The promotions began during the summer of 2020 and ran through the end of the year. They aimed to increase awareness of Black-owned businesses and incentivize customers to order from them in the wake of protests over systemic racism.
Black-owned businesses were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with 41% of Black-owned businesses closed during the pandemic compared to 17% of White-owned businesses, according to National Geographic. Black-owned businesses saw revenue drop by half and even as the recovery began, unemployment among Black Americans was just below double-digits, DoorDash said in an email to Restaurant Dive. While food delivery providers wanted to offer ways to support these businesses, Arizona's attorney general didn't see it that way.
"Even with the best of intentions, corporations can do the wrong thing. Altering the price of goods or services based on race is illegal," Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in the press release. "My office opened these investigations and pursued these settlements to protect civil rights and ensure businesses offer their services and products based on equal and neutral criteria."
The companies denied these allegations in their respective settlements. DoorDash said these charges typically trigger a confidential investigation by the Arizona attorney general's Civil Rights Division, but the parties resolved the matter before an investigation occurred to avoid costs and disruption of litigation.
"While we adamantly deny any wrongdoing, particularly when government programs have offered the exact support DoorDash has provided, we're ready to put this dispute behind us and return our focus to enabling equitable access to the merchants, Dashers, and customers we serve," a DoorDash spokesperson said in an email to Restaurant Dive. "We all have an obligation to elevate and support underrepresented communities, and we look forward to continuing to do so in Arizona and beyond."
In addition to its delivery fee waivers, in July, Uber Eats committed a $10 million investment over two years to support Black-owned business by driving demand through promotions and merchant support. DoorDash partnered with Kiva, a financial nonprofit, last year to match loans for U.S.-based Black-owned restaurants that participated in its Black-owned Businesses Program. DoorDash also added an in-app feature across 30 states allowing participating restaurants to be searchable with keywords "Black owned," as well as banners identifying them as such on the brand's page. Uber Eats also added a banner for users in major cities that says "Support Black-owned restaurants."
"We're proud to have supported Black-owned businesses and we'll continue to make it a priority. We have heard loud and clear from consumers that the ability to easily identify Black-owned restaurants on Uber Eats is a feature they want and appreciate," an Uber spokesperson said in an email to Restaurant Dive, also speaking on behalf of Postmates, a wholly owned subsidiary.
DoorDash continued its support of Black-owned businesses this year, donating $500,000 to the national chapter of Black Lives Matter last month and creating a $500,000 fund to be directed by the [email protected] Employee Resource Group, DoorDash said. It also donated to 20 organizations, including HBCUvc, Black Girls Code and Black Culinary Alliance Global.
"The ongoing health and economic crisis disproportionately devastated communities of color and highlighted disparities in opportunity for vulnerable populations," a DoorDash spokesperson said. "Furthering the long tradition of public and private sector efforts to break down barriers, DoorDash is proud to support Black-owned businesses and honored to do our part to lift up those who need it most."
This may not be the end of this matter, however. In November, Uber Eats received over 8,500 arbitration demands over its policy, according to Fox Business.