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In An Attempt To Assist Local Restaurants, Should L.A. Cap Food Delivery Service Fees?




Diner employees wear masks while preparing meals for pickup.
Diner employees wear masks while preparing meals for pickup.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has introduced an ordinance that would attempt to relieve restaurants already struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the L.A. Times, restaurants can pay as much as 30% in fees to delivery companies like Postmates, Grubhub and Uber Eats and DoorDash. The motion would cap that at 15% during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Restaurants are certainly suffering being unable to open their doors to customers. Delivery and curbside pick up are options many businesses are continuing to offer, but some have closed their doors permanently as a result of the shut-down orders. San Francisco officials implemented a similar fee cap of 15% earlier this month, saying it would last through the state of emergency or until restaurants can again provide on-site service. An Uber spokesperson says changing the commissions could actually hurt local restaurants most in need of help.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss the pros and cons of capping the delivery service fees and how it could impact both restaurants and the delivery companies involved. Do you have questions or do you work in either the restaurant or delivery service industries? Share your thoughts and experiences by calling 866-893-5722. 

We reached out to Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, but he was unable to join for an interview today. 

We also reached out to several food service delivery companies including Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats. A spokesperson for Uber sent this statement:

“Restaurants have the option to choose different services that have different fees. With Uber Eats, they can choose to pay a lower marketplace fee and use their own staff to deliver orders placed through the app. Many restaurants don’t have the resources to do that; so instead, they leverage the Uber Eats’ network of delivery people. This law would simply shift the costs back onto small, local restaurants who can afford it the least.”

Guests:

Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle reporter covering business, tech and the on-demand economy, she’s been writing about the impact of a delivery fee cap up in the Bay Area; she tweets @CSaid

Vikrum Aiyer, vice president of public policy and strategic communications for Postmates, a food and goods delivery service company; he tweets @VikrumAiyer