Local restaurants call for permanent cap on delivery service fees as State of Emergency lifts

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County’s COVID-19 state of emergency officially expired Sunday. The executive order created a cost cap on third-party food delivery apps to help local businesses. Starting Sunday, local restaurant owners may be responsible to pay up to 30% on service order fees.

In December of 2020, Bello issued an emergency order to limit the fees third-party delivery services may charge local restaurants.

The order helped many local businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, restricting the percentage of orders paid to delivery apps to 15%.

Despite the higher vaccination rates across Rochester, the demand for takeout has grown more than ever. Local restaurants are having difficulty recouping the losses from the pandemic and want the cap to remain in tact.

“The difference [of losing the cap] for us will be somewhere between $2,000 per month,” Mark Toronto, owner of Old Stone Tavern said. “Unless you do your own delivery services, which have huge costs associated with them, like driver’s insurance, we rely on the tablets and their system.”

So are these apps really through the roof in demand?

“It’s just easier to order and not have to talk to people face to face or over phone, it’s easier to type some stuff in, put your card info in and it just comes right to you,” said Nick Cafarelai.

“I use Grub Hub Door Dash very often now especially because of the pandemic,” said Avi Dhaliwal.

While it may be more expensive for the customer, some say it’s worth it to not have to leave the house. “I’m willing to pay more money because they bring it to me,” he said.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello wants to protect and preserve local businesses. By calling on the legislature to pass a local law, Bello hopes to make the delivery service cap permanent.

“The time has come for the Monroe County Legislature to step up and act to make this cost-saving measure permanent to protect and support local restaurants in Monroe County,” Bello said in a press conference on Friday.

Restaurant owners like Toronto were able to save thousands of dollars in delivery expenses through Monroe County’s executive order. They hope to do the same for months to come.

A DoorDash spokesperson sent a statement Monday, saying:

“DoorDash has always supported restaurants, investing in products, policies, and partnerships that provide restaurants with choice and transparency, allowing them to meet customers where they are, grow sales, and adapt to changes. Price controls are typically reserved for entities responsible for civic necessities like electricity or water, and with restrictions lifted, restaurants have the freedom to choose the options that work for them, including not offering delivery at all. 

We’re proud to offer pricing options that speak to each restaurant’s unique needs and provide choice, flexibility, and transparency, including commission rates as low as 15% with the ability to add additional services and options as needed. We are always eager to work with policymakers on solutions that will truly help restaurants.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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