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City Council could extend 15% cap on delivery-service fees for restaurants

Posted at 6:52 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 19:23:14-04

Hyde Park’s E+O Kitchen didn’t raise prices to cover the cost of supplies, marketing director Tony Castelli said Monday. They did it to cover the cost of working with delivery services like Uber Eats.

Cincinnati City Council will meet Wednesday to decide whether the city will continue to cap the percentage such services — including Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grubhub and Postmates — can charge the restaurants with which they work.

According to Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, the 15% cap imposed in May has been a crucial support for business owners in one of the industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With little to no indoor dining allowed by public health guidelines, delivery and takeout have comprised the majority of many restaurants’ sales; limiting the amount delivery services can take helps them preserve their profits.

“Having restaurants saying, ‘This has been a lifeline when we needed it the most; this has allowed us to save jobs,’ I think has made clear the value of the program,” he said.

Castelli has seen the benefits firsthand, he said. Before the cap, Uber Eats could keep as much as 30% of each order it delivered.

“Having a 15% cap and saving 50% of our old margin is an awesome thing,” he said. “It’s great.”

A spokesperson for Grubhub, one of the services covered by the cap, argued in a Monday statement release that limiting its take directly harmed workers and customers.

“The caps lower pay for drivers, reduce restaurant orders, increase costs for diners, and disrupt an essential supply chain of meals across the city,” a spokesperson wrote.

If an extension is passed, the cap will remain in place for an additional 30 days.