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Santa Clara County Supervisors Seek Caps On Food Delivery Service Fees

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors are seeking a cap on fees charged by third-party food delivery services, saying excessive charges are hurting restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supervisors Joe Simitian and Cindy Chavez said they would call on the county to adopt a temporary cap on the fees at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Simitian said in a statement that the cap is meant to protect local restaurants, many of them small businesses who rely on vendors such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub.

"Many of these restaurants don't have the infrastructure to host their own platforms for takeout and delivery, so they are often forced to accept excessive fees and commissions. They simply have no other option," the supervisor said.

Simitian also noted that restaurants are facing "extraordinary financial hardship" with the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions forcing restaurants in the county to do takeout only and with winter limiting the feasibility of outdoor dining once restrictions are lifted.

Chavez, president of the Board of Supervisors, said the biggest share of unemployment during the pandemic is in the local restaurant industry.

"Just as we have done with our moratorium against commercial evictions, we must do what we can to help these restaurants survive," Chavez said.

According to the supervisors, establishments are often charged upwards of 30% of the purchase price for delivery and as much as a 15% commission for customer pickup.

The supervisors plan to call on county officials to draft a proposal to cap commissions and fees and to report back to the Board by January 12, 2021. Along with capping fees, the supervisors are also seeking to prohibit the food delivery companies from reducing driver wages or withholding tips to compensate for the proposed caps.

If a measure is approved, Santa Clara County would join several other Bay Area jurisdictions capping food delivery service fees, including the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, along with Alameda, Marin and San Mateo counties.


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