Finally! Limit on delivery fees. Boston, MA


I can’t read the article just yet but I guess it’s good. We purposely don’t get food delivered, preferring to pick up ourselves. Remember the old days before 3rd party services when restaurants did their own delivery? Sigh.


There has always been a “cap” on delivery fees. It’s called personal choice. If the charge is too high I don’t pay for the delivery.

I support restaurants that charge reasonable prices, I don’t support those who I think charge too much (or partner with someone who charges too much).

I really don’t need the nanny state to help me decide what is too expensive.


Welcome to HungryOnion @HubFlyer. But I admit, I’m a bit confused by your post. The cap is on third-party companies that are seen as capitalizing on the pandemic to gouge restaurants. Restaurants, in turn, feel they need to submit to them in order to stay afloat or relevant. The cap is not directed to us, the consumer.

I don’t think third-party companies charge differently from restaurant-to-restaurant, or do they and I just don’t know this? Do you have access to this information and thus, avoid delivery from those restaurants that are charged higher fees or on some sliding scale?

ETA: Oh, are you implying that the restaurants somehow pass along the fees to delivery customers? I am often dense normally and pandemic-me is perpetually dense.


You can argue that in this situation there’s no possibilty that price gouging might be happening. (You haven’t done so yet, but you could.)

I don’t think, however, that you can legitimately argue that there’s no such thing as price gouging in general, and I don’t think you can legitimately argue that nothing should be done to prevent it.

Without oversight the public can and is taken advantage of. It happens, no matter the scale. When it does happen the public wants to know what will be done about it. Here we get oversight and the public resents the intrusion. Phew!

Last time I used Ubereats the restaurant messed up the order. The restaurant told me Ubereats was then responsible for fixing it, crediting the charges and redelivering it. That fix took 30 mins more and my reheating the food. The restaurant didn’t have accountability.

Yes, gig oversight is long over due. This form of delivering has potholes in its structure. I would hesitate to think where the gig industry is heading without accountability and revamping as necessary.

First world problem, ok. Unless it’s medicine I’m relying on next.

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IMO the entire current concept of “gig industry” is a way for employers to avoid paying their employees, and nothing else. Any job that doesn’t require a specialized set of skills and a one-time performance isn’t a gig. Playing a solo concert in Madison Square Garden is a gig. Delivering chicken isn’t a gig. Delivering chicken is a plain old job and needs to be governed by the same rules as all plain old jobs.

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I’m not here to argue the politics or social justice side of this issue. IMHO this is not the place for that. I am here to support restaurants.

My point is that the two entities can work out something without a 3rd party getting involved. No one is telling Sysco what they can charge a local restaurant for chicken fingers or frozen french fries. If my favorite restaurant thanks they are getting a raw deal they will pursue other providers.

I want my locals to have more choices but it seems to me this type of bureaucratic cherry picking will result in less.

There are many options in the online order processing/delivery world and locals should be free to switch, as one of my favorite italian places just did (from Slice to ToastTab). I don’t need to be in the middle of it and neither should Uncle Sam.

This is not food safety, which maybe a regulation which is valid. It is about convenience.

Edited: Remove competitive foodie site.

Chowhound? You are on Hungry Onion.

Thanks Rooster. Brain burp fixed.

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Easy, just raise the in-app price by a couple bucks OR cut the quality/quantity to compensate for the platform’s cut. Seen the price bump before.

Totally fine - and I prefer restaurants that bump the price up than these that less transparently deliver less without disclosure.

I don’t know. There’s a lot of shady stuff going on. When I google a restaurant, the first phone number that comes up is often NOT their actual local phone number, and directs calls through a third party (grubhub in the case of googling my local Chinese place Wang’s), which then charges the restaurant fees. Apparently, restaurants can call the site and ask that fees be returned if the person places a pick up order. But come on- whoever answers the phone at Wang’s often has a language barrier and is dealing with a steady stream of impatient customers. Is this really going to happen? I’m a dedicated foodie and only recently learned about the level of subterfuge employed by these sites. It’s a lot of ask of a small business owner, struggling to survive in this era, to be on top of all these details.

Furthermore, there is such lack of transparency from all the delivery services. My staff at work mostly order lunch every day. (Me, I’m a home cook/brown bag/once a month treat myself kind of person.) I took a survey and NOT ONE of them knew about fees for ordering through third party apps, or that the prices they were seeing might be different through Grubhub. People simply aren’t that educated. I think this is a case where regulation is needed to look out for the customer and small business owner .


I agree that people have no clue. Most people seem to think that the company and the drivers are paid by the tips. Really! Some restaurants that use third party ordering/delivery service has no website so that you can compare the prices. A local place uses Slice and it wasn’t until I got there that I realized that the actual price was lower than the online ordering website even for pickup.
I tend to tell people that the RESTAURANTS are charged a hefty fee for delivery by third party deliveries every time someone says that they ordered delivery.


From the little I’ve seen, I think one strategy being used by third-party delivery companies is they try to achieve “lock-in” at the restaurants they serve, by supplying their services in a cumbersome and intrusive way - installing a large proprietary order terminal just for themselves, for example. Many business owners (especially ones short on space or money - and who isn’t?) are likely to say “No way are we bringing in a second machine, the one we’ve already got is enough trouble” - and just like that, competition is gone.

I guess the idea that they could get their “lock-in” by providing good convenient service would be too difficult for the delivery services to handle.


@HubFlyer welcome to HungryOnion. I have read your posts and I have no clue what you are trying to say. Sorry.
I think the limit is a good thing because it helps restaurants. The restaurants had no choice but to sign up for third party delivery companies, so they at least got some business. There is also a number of people who, for various reasons, can’t go to the restaurants and pick up, so this helps them. Would they still use the service if they knew that the restaurant was charged 30% of the bill? Or if 30% was added to their bill? Now this is at least limited to 15%. As @Parsnipity said, most people have no clue that the restaurants are charged a fee for delivery. Not sure how the delivery companies will react when 50% of their revenue is gone. I don’t even order from companies that have their own delivery service, but pick up my food myself. At least I know that the food hasn’t been sitting out forever.
Just got my stimulus check and will again buy gift cards from my favorite restaurants, to be used when things get back to normal. If they don’t survive, it was free money to start with.


I respectfully disagree with most of this.

When commenting “most people don’t have a clue” are almost always talking about others not themselves. Most people know what they need to know.

The most popular italian/pizza place near me is cash only, phone only and does pickup/delivery. Their business is thriving. They use HS kids to do the deliveries but many folks choose to pick up. They have their menu info online but no ordering.

Any business can do this. It’s not easy for food service people to have to learn other skills but the successful ones do.

This is where you’ve gone off the rails. You’re thinking that “can do this” must equal “should AND DOES do this”. What you’re talking about is all theory (in the bad sense of that word), and disregards reality and human nature.


My personal experience is that I want my local restaurants to stay afloat. Many of these were not on a 3rd party apps prior to the pandemic. I do not have a car, and walking to pick up is up to an hour round trip. If I’m wrapping up work at 6 or later, no way I am then ordering for pick up and then doing an hour round trip before I eat.

I order delivery, which I now do at least once a week vs never before. I can’t just give my business to the one restaurant where it’s convenient for me. So yes, I hate the thought of the mom and pop shop that has 6 seats getting gouged for 30% on their thin margins as is. Hiring a FT delivery person with benefits, payroll taxes, unemployment tax, etc is not as cheap as one thinks. Businesses that can shift have indeed adapted to this by hiring delivery staff or offering free delivery to ramp up business. The last resort of a 3rd party partner I find are for the ones who can’t justify the cost for a dedicated FT delivery person.


Not to put too fine a point on it, if you don’t want to pay somebody, then stop wanting to hire them. At the most basic level, that’s the theme of this entire thread: Q. “How do we fix it so we end up getting someone to work for nothing?” A. “Wrong question, sorry.”

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Ahh, the old “if you don’t have money, you shouldn’t try to improve your situation.” We have laws against price gouging in this country. We also have usury laws so that money lenders can’t charge outrageous rates. We even have rent control on some areas. I suppose these are unnecessary too, and it’s the consumers fault for being poor and needing a loan, an affordable home, or that roll of toilet paper that isn’t jacked up to $20 like it was last March.

Companies do well, when they fulfill a NEEDED service for a client, and allow the client to prosper too. Maybe that’s what we’re missing. Those restaurants are just as much of a client to a Grubhub, as are we the end users. If restaurants do not partner with a 3rd party app, the delivery service has nothing to sell.

I doubt Grubhub would have grown so quickly if they relied on an army of employees who have to call in each order. To your point, if restaurants don’t need delivery, would these apps be growing? 3rd party apps are biting the hands that feed them by charging oversized fees and eating away too big a chunk of the profits from these restaurants. If they want to profit by delivering only for big chains who can afford them, I don’t see how they would grow as fast.