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Some LA Restaurants Are Finding Alternatives To Delivery Apps — Here's Why




People sit outside a restaurant and bar in Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, California, on July 14, 2020.
People sit outside a restaurant and bar in Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, California, on July 14, 2020.
APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

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A growing number of restaurants that have chosen to ditch delivery apps because of high commission rates, safety concerns or both. Although restaurants had complained about delivery apps long before coronavirus, the pandemic intensified their issues, especially in L.A. County, where 80% of restaurant jobs vanished almost overnight due to COVID-19. 

Some of the main food delivery app companies aren't transparent with the public about the commissions and fees they charge restaurants — and they don't have to be. To be fair, there isn't one standard commission rate, even within the same company, which is part of the reason the situation is so confusing. Every restaurant in the United States negotiates its own contract with whatever app or apps they choose to use. If restaurants decide to use multiple services, apps often charge them higher commissions but if they sign an exclusive agreement with one app, rates will typically go down. Postmates for example, is the only app that offers delivery from L.A. hot spots Moon Juice and Howlin' Rays, whose ordering pages feature an #onlyonpostmates hashtag. Those contracts often include non-disclosure sections that prohibit restaurants from publicly disclosing the apps' commission rates, making an already opaque process even less transparent. Today on AirTalk, guest host Kyle Stokes talks with LAist writers about their latest story about food delivery apps and how the pandemic has played into already existing challenges. Do you have thoughts? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.

We reached out to Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash/Caviar and UberEats. The companies were unable to make someone available for an interview by the time of broadcast.

Read Gina Pollack’s full story on LAist here 

With guest host Kyle Stokes

Guests:

Gina Pollack, digital producer for LAist, her latest piece is titled “Food Delivery Apps — Restaurants Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them;” she tweets @ginapollack

Elina Shatkin, food editor at LAist; she tweets @elinashatkin

Joseph Badaro, owner of Hummus Labs in Pasadena