County caps food delivery fees at 15%

By the Daily Post staff

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has voted 5-0 to cap fees restaurants are charged by delivery apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats at 15%.

Some restaurants, struggling to survive amid government-ordered Covid shutdowns, have been hit with fees from thesre companies exceeding 30%.

The cap, approved Tuesday, applies to all 15 cities in Santa Clara County including Palo Alto.

San Mateo County approved a similar cap in November.

At the time, GrubHub called the caps “well-intentioned but counterproductive” because they lower the pay for drivers, which reduces the supply of drivers and decreases the number of orders that can be delivered.

DoorDash spokeswoman Campbell Matthews told the Post that her company supports restaurants, which is why the company offers a range of services, such as Storefront, which helps restaurants set up a website with online ordering with $0 commission.

However, the fee caps could lead DoorDash to increase costs for customers, which would reduce orders, causing both deliverers and restaurants to lose out on income, Matthews said.

The ordinance establishing the caps in Santa Clara County was approved a week after it was proposed — lightning-fast speed for the county government bureaucracy. The 15% cap came in the form of an “urgency” ordinance, which means it didn’t need to be heard twice by the board at two separate meetings, and could be approved with a supermajority vote. It goes into effect on Saturday.

The ordinance was proposed by Supervisors Cindy Chavez of San Jose and Joe Simitian of Palo Alto.

“Covid-19 already imposes extraordinary financial hardship on local restaurants, particularly now that both indoor and outdoor dining becomes limited/prohibited due to inclement weather and/or health and safety requirements,” Simitian said in a statement.

“Many of these businesses rely on third-party delivery vendors such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub to meet their business’s delivery needs,” said Simitian. “While delivery vendors provide an important service, and are certainly within their rights to charge for such services, the current pandemic unfortunately creates opportunity for price gouging. That’s the problem we’re tackling.”

“At a time when local businesses are struggling to stay alive, when restaurant workers are at risk of losing their livelihoods, and the general public is struggling financially, we need to make sure that everyone is treated fairly,” said Simitian.



  1. Thank you for supporting small businesses in that way. For me it is hard to understand why some customers are ordering through those apps knowing that they are ruining small, independent businesses.

    Also using those apps for pre-orders just to cut lines because some people are impatient… that is unbelievable…

  2. Just wondering whose business the county thinks this is – the county’s business or the business owner’s? How can the county be fixing price caps for certain businesses but not for others? How can it be legal for the government to choose business winners and losers and fix prices? Restaurants need not sign up with doordash.

    • Glad someone here understands incentives, economic liberty, and freedom of choice.

      County and State destroyed most small businesses, educations, lives, livelihoods, culture and society via lockdowns, school closures, stay-at-home orders, masks, and distancing, and now they want to destroy the few viable companies providing a valuable service to millions. Good grief, can it get any worse!

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