Food delivery business claims less regulations for chains

(Steve Maugeri/Spectrum News)

CLEVELAND — Dave Umina has owned DeliverMeFood in the Cleveland area since 1996. Since then, all of his drivers must keep the food in special delivery bags. Recently, he required them to keep cleaning supplies in the back of a delivery car.


What You Need To Know

  • A Cleveland food delivery business said fewer regulations for larger national chains
  • DeliverMeFood must have a license in order to deliver food
  • The business must have special bags to deliver the food along with cleaning supplies

“The state of Ohio requires us to have insulated bags for cold food as well as hot food to transport it,” Umina said.

That’s why he has a state license to deliver food, issued by the Medina County Health Department.

He gets to renew the license through unannounced inspections by the health department.

He told Spectrum News 1 that larger nationwide third-party delivery services don’t have these requirements, even though they’re in the same business as him. His license requires him to store the food in these bags. He said his drivers must deliver the food within 20 minutes.

“All of our restaurants have delivery areas within 20 minutes of the restaurants,” Umina said.

Umina said the food must stay in the back of the car so that drivers won’t touch it in transit.

“It’s like the wild Wild West with these other services. They don’t have any restrictions whatsoever,” Umina said.

Gina Nicholson Kramer oversees a study of third-party delivery services at Ohio State University. She said all food delivery businesses must be licensed in Ohio, but not each individual driver.

“Yes, there is an inconsistency—that’s why the Ohio Department of Health is meeting with their legal counsel to better clarify how to license those organizations that are out of the state,” Nicholson Kramer said.

An official with The Medina County Health Department said local health departments license food delivery services, and said Umina’s business is the only one that has a license to deliver in the county. Nicholson Kramer said a national chain may have to get a license in every county and city health department they deliver to.

The state health department did not return several requests for comment.

“That would make it complicated if they’d have to hold a license in every local health department’s jurisdiction,” Nicholson Kramer said.

In the meantime, Umina said bad behavior by one company can reflect poorly on the entire industry. He admits it would be hard to oversee every independent delivery driver.

“To enforce it the challenge would be random inspection since they have a lot more drivers than I have. They’d need more inspections and to get that driver to use that bag,” Umina said.

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