Today, in an unusually short meeting to kick off the New Year, the City Council voted to limit fees charged to local restaurants by third party delivery platforms such as DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats.

Many restaurants have complained that the fees charged to restaurants by such services — which can reach over 30% of the price of the food — are excessive and pose a particular hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andrew Martino, the owner of Ghost Truck Kitchen and a vocal critic of the delivery platforms, noted that he’d lost all of his catering business and 90% of his walk-in business since the onset of the pandemic.  “It’s been a very challenging time for restaurants over the past nine months. This ordinance will help keep more of our revenue, pay our vendors and keep more of our staff on. It will allow us to keep the lights on.”

Elena Cartagena of Pasta Dal Coure called the fees “crazy.”

In May, fees were capped by executive order. The state later stepped in and imposed limits which  superseded Jersey City’s fee regime. With the state order expiring, Ward E Councilman James Solomon sponsored today’s ordinance which imposes a limit of 15% of the order’s value on any “third-party food takeout and delivery service application or internet website.” If the order is delivered by the restaurant, the fee is reduced to 5%.  The ordinance also makes it unlawful for the services to reduce driver compensation as a result of the ordinance.

Once the state of emergency is lifted, the new ordinance will no longer remain in effect. Martino and others have discussed the possibility of creating a restaurant “co-op” as a long term solution to the high fees.

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