Santa Clara Co. considers capping third-party food delivery fees amid new stay-at-home order

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors are considering a plan that would cap commissions and fees from third-party delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. Restaurant owners say they need all the help they can get, but opponents caution it could do more harm than good.

"We're all struggling during this pandemic and delivery services hold the power," said Pizza Bocca Lupo co-owner Jenneke de Vries. "They can charge pretty much whatever they want."

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Pricing structure varies by company, but restaurants can be charged upwards of 30% of the purchase price for delivery, and as much as a 15% commission for customer pickup when purchases are made through an app.
"By the time you look at a delivery fee, a pickup fee, a marketing fee, a listing fee, and stack those on top of the other, it can be quite burdensome," said county Supervisor Joe Simitian, who is proposing the ordinance alongside board president Cindy Chavez.

If approved by the board during Tuesday's meeting, county staff would be directed to come up with a plan to be implemented by mid-January.

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As residents in Santa Clara County brace for the early implementation of the Bay Area stay-at-home order Sunday evening, business owners are speeding up their plans to pivot.

Simitian added, "All of us want to make sure that our small businesses and restaurants in particular, survive during the coming, very difficult months."
Uber, which owns Uber Eats, provided a statement which read in part: "Regulating the commissions that fund our marketplace forces us to radically alter the way we do business and ultimately hurt those that we're trying to help the most: customers, small businesses and delivery people."

"Pricing regulations could cause us to increase costs for customers, which could lead to fewer orders for local restaurants and fewer earning opportunities for Dashers," said a DoorDash company spokesperson.

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Supporters say the ordinance, as proposed, would only be temporary.

"We feel like this time it is their civic duty to work with us and help us during this time," said de Vries, who hopes that customers will consider placing a takeout or delivery order directly through her website. "When things look up, we can look at a fair market rate for them as well."

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