Columbus City Council Considers Capping Restaurant Delivery Service Fees

Nov 20, 2020

Columbus City Council wants to cap fees charged by third-party restaurant delivery companies as a way to help restaurants survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Popular food delivery companies like Grubhub and DoorDash charge up to 30% of a food order for businesses to use their services. In a virtual address Friday, Columbus City Council president pro tem Elizabeth Brown said that is too high.

Brown is supporting city legislation to cap those fees at 15% of the purchase price.

"We want to keep the money that folks are spending locally, here locally, to help our businesses survive, to pay our workers, to keep people employed,” Brown said.

While Ohio permitted restaurants to again offer dine-in service at the beginning of summer, many restaurants kept to delivery and takeout only. Even some businesses that tentatively opened their doors have closed them once again in response to the resurgence of coronavirus cases and Franklin County's stay-at-home advisory.

Matthew Rootes, co-owner of Pat & Gracie’s Kitchen in Clintonville, says 75% of his business is now delivery, compared to only 25% inside the restaurant.

“With sales down with the pandemic in play, with less people coming into the restaurant, it affects my employees, my servers in tips, and it affects all of my staff in the back of the house,” Rootes says.

Delivery companies have spoken out against similar caps in other cities.

Columbus City Council plans to consider the ordinance on Monday. It would take effect immediately and continue until 120 days after restaurants can operate at full capacity with no restrictions.