Santa Clara County and San Jose, the largest city in Silicon Valley, unanimously set new caps on Tuesday for how much money delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats will charge restaurants across the county during the COVID-19 crisis can.
A temporary district ordinance, which is passed as an emergency ordinance in connection with the response to the coronavirus pandemic in the district, limits the delivery charges for orders in a restaurant in the district to 15% of the purchase price. The ordinance expires when restaurants are allowed to resume dining indoors at full capacity or at the end of the district’s emergency declaration.
The county and San Jose join a handful of jurisdictions across California, including Los Angeles, Hayward, and Newark, to introduce such restrictions.
Jenneke de Vries, the owner of Pizza Bocca Lupo in San Pedro Market Square in San Jose, described the new cap as the “lifeline” for restaurants like hers that are on the last leg. This will help them “to survive this harsh winter ahead of them and until the end of the pandemic, hopefully by the end of summer”.
Since the pandemic began nearly nine months ago, food and drink owners have been trying to find new ways to weather the pandemic and the county’s ever-changing guidelines. And after months of adapting to most outdoor restaurants and preparing to continue providing an outdoor experience through the winter months, recent lockdown and take-out and delivery-only mandates have made matters worse.
Additionally, food delivery platforms like Uber Eats and DoorDash charge commissions and fees in excess of 30% to companies that rely on these services, according to county and city authorities.
San Jose Councilor Raul Peralez, who represents the downtown core of the city, made his stance clear: “When you have such a big success, (small businesses) cannot be successful. And if we don’t make a difference there, we will unfortunately put more of these companies out of business. “
Ryan Summers, the owner of Good Karma in downtown San Jose, repeated his opinion, stating that every day he sees more doors that are closing permanently.
“Small downtown businesses feel abandoned during this crisis, but this endorsement is certainly a positive step in sustaining the downtown economy, which is frankly in its final stages,” Summers said during the council meeting in San Jose.
County Supervisor Mike Wasserman said he hoped the temporary ordinance would allow the restaurant industry to “step on the water” for the next several weeks until, hopefully, they can dine al fresco again.
“I understand DoorDash and other food service providers don’t pay any fees, but I think everyone is giving up during this time and the majority of us can get through this,” Wasserman said.
While the county emergency ordinance applies to deliveries from all restaurants in Santa Clara County, cities are free to issue stricter ordinances if they choose. The San Jose Ordinance mirrors the county’s ordinance by capping delivery fees to 15%, but also requires that the total fee for delivery company services – including delivery and handling fees – be at 18% of the price of an online order is limited. Chains with more than four restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores are unsuitable for city relief.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he was grateful that the city “could compromise with services from grocery delivery companies like DoorDash,” and he expected the cap to “ease the strain on hundreds of our struggling restaurants, the high one.” Pay delivery service fees “.
Councilor Dev Davis, who ordinarily does not support the government, which is meddling in the markets, said the extraordinary times called for extraordinary action like this one.
“I am extremely concerned about our small businesses,” Davis said during the council meeting on Tuesday. “You happen to employ a large number of our residents here in our community, and we must do everything we can to keep our operations safe and keep the workforce.”