Ah, Crud: Chicago's Delivery Service Fee Cap Expired

Third-party food delivery companies did some evil stuff last year. Between exorbitant fees, dishonest marketing practices, and listing restaurants without their consent, apps like GrubHub and DoorDash really sucked the life out of the already struggling restaurant industry throughout the first year of the pandemic. That's why Chicago lawmakers instituted a 15% delivery fee cap last November—but now the cap is expired, and some local representatives are working overtime to try to save it.

Eater Chicago reports that while third-party delivery services haven't yet raised fees back to pre-pandemic levels, one Chicago alderman has proposed extending the fee caps through at least the fall to give restaurants more time to recover from 2020. Alderman Scott Waguespack submitted a draft ordinance to extend the fee cap to the fall, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. "It is the intent of the City of Chicago to protect its vibrant restaurant community from excessive price gouging beyond the pandemic, and at all times," the proposed ordinance reads.

Eater reports that a DoorDash spokesperson didn't comment directly on the Chicago proposal; however, a spokesperson for Chicago-based Grubhub says the company will keep "commission rates low for the coming months." The spokesperson told Eater:

We've worked hard to help restaurants attract and retain customers during these challenging times, and we'll keep working to earn their business and support them through the recovery and beyond. And we recognize the challenges Chicago's restaurants face aren't over, which is why we are keeping commission rates low for the coming months.

Over the last year we've devoted millions of dollars to direct support for restaurants across Chicago, including $10,000 direct grants to restaurants and zero delivery fees all winter long to generate more orders. And we're just getting started. We're actively working to develop innovative new tools to deliver support for independent restaurants and connect them with even more local diners.

Can we trust third-party delivery services to support restaurants in favor of their own bottom lines? No, I don't believe we can. Fortunately, local lawmakers seem to be taking the apps to task.