Looks Like DoorDash Is At It Again

The Lempert Report
March 31, 2021

More and more fees...

Over the past year we’ve talked a lot about food delivery services: whether about their IPOs, competition, the expansion to deliver groceries, their drivers’ dissatisfaction and most importantly how their restaurants are being overcharged and the move for restaurants to deliver themselves. Cities led by legislation in New York City have put in place laws that cap the fees to 15% of the total cost of the order that these services can charge the restaurants. And for good cause. NBC News interviewed one California restauranteur who laid out the charges: the $14 avocado toast that customers have been ordering through DoorDash brings in only about $11.90 to the restaurant. DoorDash takes $2.10, and it adds a $2 "Oakland Fee" and a $2.10 "Service Fee." With a 9.25 percent county sales tax of $1.30, the delivery order totals $19.40, not including a tip that would go to the DoorDash driver. 

No one questions that the apps offer convenient services — processing sales, picking up and delivering food to customers — they also impose large commissions, typically 20 percent to 30 percent of an order, on the restaurants, while also charging customers delivery fees. NBC News has found 68 localities that have passed such caps and that DoorDash tacked on additional fees in 57 of them. DoorDash has tacked on another flat surcharge of $1 to $2.50, which it often calls a "Regulatory Response Fee." The money goes straight to DoorDash. Only when customers click a tiny button does an explanation pop up saying the city has "temporarily capped the fees that we may charge local restaurants." Back to Oakland, Christopher Pastena, the owner of two restaurants, told NBC that he resisted using DoorDash for several months last year. But finally, in November, he changed his mind and gave in.

"I don't know that we want to get in bed with them long term," Pastena said. "This is a one-night stand kind of thing." Shaky ground for a company that became worth $72 billion after their IPO in December.