Monroe County Executive Signs Emergency Order to Cap Third-Party Delivery Fees

The press release below was issued by Monroe County.

ROCHESTER, NY – Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced today that he has issued an Emergency Order limiting the fees third-party delivery services may charge local restaurants. COVID-19 guidelines have placed restrictions and limits on indoor dining in restaurants throughout Monroe County, leaving many to rely on takeout or delivery service to remain open.

“Third-party delivery services offer valuable accessibility to restaurants and our community, but excessive fees threaten the economic health of vital local businesses, their ability to maintain employment and their continued ability to offer food for delivery,” said Bello.  “Being able to order restaurant food for home delivery is an important part of our COVID-19 response, protects our public health and is an essential alternative to dining out. Capping these fees helps safeguard the survival of local restaurants, provides much-needed financial relief and helps our small business owners make ends meet.”

Under the Emergency Order, third-party delivery services such as GrubHub, DoorDash and UberEats are prohibited from charging any restaurant in Monroe County a delivery fee of more than 15% of the purchase price of any order, regardless of whether that order is placed through a mobile app, an online portal or other means. It is not uncommon for these services to charge restaurants as much as 30% of the purchase price of an order.  The exorbitant charge to restaurants eats in to their already tight profit margins, jeopardizing their survival when eat-in dining is limited and their reliance on delivery and takeout orders sustains their business. Reducing the service fee charged to restaurants would help owners compensate for lost revenue from limited indoor and outdoor dining.

A proposed local law to cap delivery fees was submitted to the Monroe County Legislature for consideration last month by Legislator Rachel Barnhart, but was tabled in the Agenda/Charter committee by the Republican majority.

“I’m grateful to the County Executive for helping our restaurants at a time they are struggling to stay open. This order protects restaurants from high fees and offers transparency to customers,” said Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart.

“These third party delivery fees unfairly impact our local and independently owned restaurants. This Emergency Order will help support our local restaurants at a crucial time for the hospitality industry. Supporting the vitality of local restaurants is critical, as they contribute to the overall vibrancy of our community, making Rochester and Monroe County an attractive destination for visitors,” said Don Jeffries, President & CEO, Visit Rochester.

“This is amazing news and area restaurants truly appreciate the work being done on our behalf. We are being hit at every angle, with Davinci’s being shut down again, we solely rely on takeout and delivery service to keep our business going. We have found a way to cutback those fees and operate under the self-delivery option, which has allowed us to keep more of our employees working,” added Marjorie Fitzgerald-Dowlatt, Owner/Operator of Davinci of Greece.

County Executive Bello issued the Emergency Order under State of Emergency authority granted to him by state Law. The order does not apply to restaurants with 10 or more locations within the state.