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'Cap fees or be regulated' Vancouver Mayor tells delivery apps

Last Updated May 28, 2020 at 4:30 pm PDT

FILE: Food delivery apps Uber Eats, Foodora and Skip The Dishes.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart is calling on delivery apps to cap fees, or says the city will find a way to regulate

Stewart says some apps charge as much as 30 per cent commission

Stewart supports a request from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association to temporarily limit commissions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver’s Mayor is asking food delivery apps to cut fees for restaurants, and is threatening to find ways to regulate them if they don’t.

The request came during Kennedy Stewart’s latest update on helping businesses, including restaurants and cafes, survive COVID-19.

He’s calling out some operators accused of charging struggling restaurants and cafes high commissions.

“This connection comes at a very high cost. Online delivery services charge restaurants up to 30 per cent, as well as the delivery fee to the customers,” Stewart says.

“These fees are much too onerous for restaurants and cafes and makes it hard for them to earn enough to keep their doors open and staff working. I’m asking delivery app corporations to do their part to help restaurants and cafes stay afloat through these unprecedented times.”

In support of temporary limit

Stewart supports a request from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association to temporarily limit commissions to no more than 15 per cent.

“In many cases, for many establishments, this small change could mean the difference between our favourite restaurants staying open or closing forever,” he says.

Ian Tostenson, CEO and President of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, says the industry has asked delivery apps to bring down fees for months.

“We’re not asking [delivery apps] to change your business model forever. Like everyone else, we need to take a little bit less right now to help the industry because if we don’t get the industry back up and running through the various means we’re working on right now, you won’t have any industry to deliver food for,” he says.

Tostenson points to other “precedent-setting” cities that have introduced temporary regulations, such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, which made the move to cap delivery app commission to 15 per cent back in April.

Uber Eats announced in March it would waive delivery fees for customers on thousands of local restaurants and offer flexible payment options. DoorDash has also waived delivery fees for many restaurant partners.

Stewart adds he is prepared to work with other levels of government to make sure fees are fair, but he’s not saying yet how they might be regulated.

For now, Stewart is asking companies like Skip the Dishes and Door Dash to voluntarily limit those fees until the pandemic is over.

The food service industry has been hit hard during the pandemic as many businesses have relied on takeout and delivery orders. Phase 2 of B.C.’s restart plan has allowed dining areas to reopen, but with lower capacities to allow physical distancing.

RELATED: City of Vancouver rescinding emergency order to shut down restaurant table service

Vancouver has rescinded an emergency order stopping customers from eating inside licensed restaurants.

Vancouver has already voted to allow restaurants and cafes to expand patio space in hopes of increasing the number of patrons allowed in a place while physical distancing.