Denver Business Journal: Denver OKs regulations on third-party food delivery companies. Now, will the platforms obey them?

October 6, 2020 Media

After years of discussions within the restaurant community and months of a study by one of its members, the Denver City Council on Monday passed a law capping the fees that third-party delivery companies can charge to restaurants without so much as a word of debate.

Beginning on Friday and ending on Feb. 9, companies like Grubhub or DoorDash that typically charge as much as 30% commission to restaurants on each order placed through them will be barred from assessing fees of more than 15%. They also cannot list a restaurant’s menu on their platforms unless that eatery has agreed to be a part of them, and they cannot add additional fees, such as those for marketing, unless a restaurant opts into them either.

Denver’s new law assesses penalties of as much as $999 a day for each violation that occurs.

Maureen Tkacik, a senior fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project, recommended in her paper not only that governments that pass laws such as Denver’s enforce them strictly but that federal and local officials also investigate and prosecute what she called their systemic unfair and deceptive practices.

“There is still time to save America’s independent restaurants from going the way of our bookshops and toy stores,” Tkacik wrote. “Our regulators, antitrust enforcers, and legislators must show the resolve to enforce our laws with all the determination and zeal with which the delivery apps have flouted them.”