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Seattle ’emergency order’ caps fees charged to restaurants by delivery apps

With restaurants across Capitol Hill stepping up to continue to serve the neighborhood for takeout and delivery, Seattle City Hall has stepped forward to limit the cut taken by the highly competitive delivery app industry while making sure the workers that power the services get the full benefit of tips.

Friday, Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council President M. Lorena González, and council member Lisa Herbold announced an emergency order capping the commission charged to restaurants by services like Grubhub and Postmates at 15% and mandating that 100% of gratuities be paid through to drivers, bikers, and on foot delivery contract workers the apps depend on.

“We know that so many of our small businesses are hurting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that delivery services have been a lifeline for our restaurants during this unprecedented time,” Durkan said in the announcement of the order (PDF). “Unfortunately, some third-party delivery services are charging exorbitant commission fees, which exacerbates the financial hardship many restaurants are already experiencing.”

The new rules take effect immediately.

The move echoes efforts in other large cities to temporarily rein in the services — a move that also might be welcomed by restaurant owners once the pandemic subsides.

“With tight margins, every dollar paid to an app-based delivery service is a dollar taken from our local restaurants, economy and workforce,” González said. “We know some of these corporations are imposing inflated fees and profiting from this crisis on the backs of our main street. We cannot allow that to happen.”

While the cap will help, you can also lend a hand by choosing to pick up your order and cut out the services entirely. If you’re feeling healthy, have the time for a trip, and can do so safely, pay a visit. Shota Nakajima of E Pike’s Taku says a safe visit is better for his bottom line and could also help brighten your day. “We open our windows, we blast music,” Nakajima told CHS last week. “We’re trying to give five seconds of relief to people’s lives.”

Hungry? Linda’s is back (kind of) and Oddfellows, too. You can also take a look at our CHS “To Go” restaurant listings.


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8 Comments
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DR
DR
11 months ago

Yeah, almost every time I order from an online service, there is a service fee AND a delivery fee – that almost always equals 1/2 of my order. And then I want to tip (because those people are the ones that deserve the extra money) at least 20%. The fees and tip generally equal about the same, maybe a little less than the order itself. I never spend less than $40 on an order, even though my meal is about $20.

I’d order a lot more if I didn’t have to pay double just for the delivery.

Speaking Truth
Speaking Truth
11 months ago
Reply to  DR

How about walking down the street, get on your bicycle, or your car and pick up your own food. Problem solved!

derp
derp
11 months ago
Reply to  Speaking Truth

Quite right

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
11 months ago
Reply to  Speaking Truth

Damn, it’s enough to make you do something radical, like—I dunno— cook your own food or something. *gasp*

Wont be delivering to you
Wont be delivering to you
11 months ago

Wow, pandemic pricing for convenience. Can you believe that a business is charging a premium to stay open and pay their suppliers and what few employees they have and navigate the new world of takeout and delivery so you can have a cheap sandwich!
I am sorry your takeout / delivery is rough

Big company
Big company
11 months ago

Well normally if the volume goes up the margins can be thinner, but due to each restaurant not being part of a collective or are otherwise too small, they can’t negotiate like one normally would. So in that case the city steps in and acts as a collective for the restaurants. It seems perfectly reasonable to me, no big company would stupidly pay the same rate at a higher volume like what they’re doing to the restaurants.

MarciaX
MarciaX
11 months ago

Durkan’s rule doesn’t apply to restaurants, just to app-based delivery services. Those businesses aren’t hurting at all, they don’t need a premium.

Alocal
Alocal
11 months ago

A while back doordash was taking the tips as well. How much are the delivery side getting paid from the apps ? I see Instacart people wandering for hours in Costco lost, it doesn’t seem like they can be doing $15hr