Dutchess County officials have announced a temporary cap on service fees charged by third-party food delivery companies to no more than 15 percent of the cost of the food order amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Marc Molinaro signed Local Emergency Order No. 13, on Thursday, Jan. 14, in an effort to help support local restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted many industries, but none more so than the foodservice and hospitality industry," Molinaro said. "By temporarily capping the fees to no more than 15 percent, the Emergency Order will provide much-needed relief to struggling local businesses and help ensure the survival of our local restaurants.”
Third-party food delivery companies, such as Grubhub and Door Dash, among others, provide customers with easy-to-use apps for ordering food online.
These apps are vital for restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are more reliant than ever on takeout and delivery orders. However, fee structures used by these companies, which can be as much as 30 percent for delivery orders, are cutting into local restaurants’ profits during this time of hardship for the entire food services and hospitality industry, Molinaro said.
The Executive Order also prohibits third-party delivery services from publishing restaurants’ menus on the services’ apps and increasing the price of a food item to include a delivery fee.
The struggles facing Dutchess/Putnam region are indicative of a national crisis for the industry. A recent survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association found on average, sales were down nearly 30 percent, and 81 percent of respondents reporting staffing levels remain below normal levels. As of December 2020, 17 percent of restaurants nationwide – or over 110,000 establishments – had closed.
To help ensure the order is adhered to, the County will work with the restaurant industry and our local delivery drivers to manage any unintended consequences and ensure the best outcome for our community and our economy.
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