From online payments to robots, digital menus and more, the importance and use of technology in the restaurant industry has never been greater. In fact, more than 8 in 10 operators say the use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive edge, according to the Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry.
While tapping into consumer preferences and incorporating evolving technology yields tremendous benefits for restaurants and customers, it also comes with challenges on the policy front.
Often technology advances faster than federal legislation or regulation pertaining to it. Other times, state legislatures pass laws in the absence of federal activity, creating a patchwork of different policies in which restaurants that operate in multiple states must comply.
In collaboration with coalitions and other trade organizations, the Association actively monitors technology-oriented legislation and regulation that would adversely impact restaurants in all sectors of the industry and engages Congress and regulatory agencies to defeat policy proposals that would harm restaurants and consumers.
The Association’s advocacy efforts tackling excessive swipe fees that restaurants, particularly small and independent restaurants (disproportionately), incur while processing e-payments are gaining traction. The Association supported the Credit Card Competition Act when it was introduced in Congress in 2022. Although it failed to pass, the legislation is likely to get reintroduced in the current 118th Congress at which time the Association will continue to work to advance it.
Additionally, after continued engagement with the Federal Reserve, its Board of Governors issued a much-anticipated final rule in late 2022 on the processing of debit card transactions that can help reduce swipe fees.
Information Privacy/Data Security
Restaurant operators build their business on trusted relationships with their guests, and they rely on robust data privacy and security practices to strengthen that trust in today’s digital economy. The restaurant industry firmly believes that consumers across the country should be empowered to control their data and strongly advocates for a preemptive federal data privacy law that creates a single, uniform standard as opposed to a patchwork of state laws that are confusing and burdensome for businesses and consumers alike.
While the Association was pleased to see a federal preemption provision in the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) that was introduced in Congress in 2022, the legislation contained other provisions on private right of action, 3rd party liability, and loyalty programs that would have been detrimental to restaurants and customers.
Restaurants stand ready to work collaboratively with Congress and the Administration to establish a federal data privacy framework that will protect consumers and hold all businesses accountable for safeguarding personal information.