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Erie County looking to cap restaurant delivery fees

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 21, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When indoor dining wasn't allowed, third-party delivery was a need.

"75% of our business was going to third-party services," The Quarter owner Brandon Carr said.

Third-party services like DoorDash and Uber Eats pick up food and deliver it from a restaurant. The issue now is how much money these companies take from restaurants like The Quarter.

"They charge between 25 and 30 percent," Carr said, "and as a restaurant your profit margin is often 25 to 30 percent."

Carr thinks it's a problem, and the Erie County legislature agrees. They are now looking to pass legislation to cap third-party service fees at 20% during a declared emergency.

"They shouldn't be gouged by these third-party vendors from Silicon Valley," Erie County Legislator Joe Lorigo said.

Members of the minority caucus initially proposed this in December and it cleared the legislature on Thursday. They are now calling on lawmakers in Albany to make this a state-wide mandate.

"If that doesn't happen I plan on pushing ahead on our local law so we can get that done," Lorigo said.

For the cap to go into effect, the legislature would need a public hearing to happen first.

When asked for comment, DoorDash, a third-party delivery service said "DoorDash has always supported restaurants. Pricing regulations could cause us to increase costs for customers, which could lead to fewer orders for local restaurants and fewer earning opportunities for Dashers. Pricing regulations can also remove options available to restaurants by limiting their ability to opt-in to additional services to help their business. We are eager to engage with policymakers on solutions that better support restaurants, customers, and Dashers."

The legislature says language in their proposal would prevent increases to customers costs, which is a good sign for restaurants like The Quarter.

"We need to come to a solution in the industry where we can still make a little bit of profit," Carr said.