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.”
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