DoorDash dinged: Mayor Breed caps SF delivery app restaurant fees

San Francisco is serving up a new dish to food delivery apps: humble pie.

Mayor London Breed has capped fees delivery apps like DoorDash can charge restaurants in San Francisco for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chefs and restaurant owners across The City had complained the fees, which could sometimes reach 30 percent of an order, were simply too high and threatened their bottom lines in an already hostile economic environment.

Breed was joined by Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin in the effort, which was announced Friday morning.

“Restaurants across San Francisco are struggling to stay open,” Breed said, in a statement. “In these tough financial circumstances, every dollar counts and can make the difference between a restaurant staying open, or shuttering. It can make the difference between staying afloat or needing to lay-off staff.”

Breed’s order limits delivery app fees to 15 percent of an order, and will impact businesses like Caviar, Uber Eats, and DoorDash, among others.

“These corporations have refused to adjust their fees and are profiting immensely off a public health crisis while restaurants and their employees are suffering,” Peskin said, in a statement. “They are trying to undercut responsible regulation in the midst of this emergency, while also denying worker demands for basic safety gear, hazard pay and adequate sick leave.”

That cap will be in place for the duration of the pandemic, or until restaurants can once again allow eaters to dine-in, The Mayor’s Office said. The City has issued a Home Public Health Order prohibiting dine-in service during the pandemic.

While it’s a measure intended to keep restaurants afloat, it’s also one to protect workers, The Mayor’s Office noted. The California Employment Development Department and U.S. Department of Labor indicate that a large number of the statewide 2.3 million initial unemployment claims since March are service industry workers, according to The Mayor’s Office.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association estimated as many as 30 to 50 percent of San Francisco restaurants are still operating and offering food delivery.

“While weare pleased that Governor Newsom and others in California have deemed our platforms “essential services,” we are disappointed that a rushed, arbitrary policy is being considered in San Francisco that fundamentally threatens the very communities we all aim to help,” DoorDash said in a statement. The company objected to a one-size-fits-all policy, noting that its fees help assure that delivery people are paid fairly, funds the onboarding of new workers, among other expenses.

Laurie Thomas, the owner of Rose’s Cafe in the Marina and the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, told the San Francisco Examiner last week that the high fees were hurting local restaurants.

“You order something from me that’s a dollar. Thirty cents of that dollar goes to the delivery company. The restaurant keeps 70 cents,” she said, which is “a huge cut” when small restaurants are already struggling, and some shuttering.

“I know people running on reduced staffs, trying to keep their restaurants operating,” she said.

Now those restaurants will see some relief.