Doug Ford asked food delivery apps to cut fees. Here’s how they responded

SkipTheDishes and Ritual are offering relief to Toronto restaurants during the 28-day indoor dining closure


Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash to slash fees for restaurants.

“We need you to help out these mom and pop shops,” Ford said during a press conference at Etobicoke restaurant Mamma Martino’s on October 13. “Please consider reducing the commission rates you charge the restaurants impacted by these new health measures. We can’t have restaurants paying as much as 30 per cent commission to have their food delivered right now.”

After the province closed indoor dining for 28 days as part of new pandemic lockdown measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel, Ford has urged Ontarians to support local restaurants by ordering takeout.

But so far, only SkipTheDishes has cut commission rates for restaurants. And Toronto-based app Ritual has extended a commission-free program for local businesses to the end of the year.

“SkipTheDishes stands by our restaurant partners as they begin to face mandated front of house closures, working closely with members of both city and provincial governments to ensure we’re best supporting all of our stakeholders,” the company wrote in a statement.

Restaurants using SkipTheDishes in the three regions affected by the new restrictions will receive a 25 per cent cut on commission rates and new sign ups will pay no commission for 30 days, the company said. Restaurants using their own staff to deliver will pay 10 per cent.

UberEats is not reducing delivery commissions. A spokesperson for the tech giant told NOW the company is waiving activation fees and reducing fees for restaurants that offer pick-up or have their own couriers.

Meanwhile, DoorDash is waiving delivery fees for customers that spend more than $25 at local restaurants in Toronto, and is offering free delivery every Wednesday during winter months to help boost sales in Canada and the U.S.

A spokesperson for the company said the platform will waive commissions for 30-60 days for new restaurants that sign up.

“Merchant fees vary by restaurant, are agreed upon individually, and cover Dasher pay, credit card fees, insurance, and more, including customer support teams for merchants, customers, and Dashers,” a DoorDash rep said in a statement.

Toronto extends partnership with Ritual

On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory announced that Ritual is extending a partnership with the city to help local businesses increase commission-free sales.

In May, the city and Ritual teamed to launch the platform Ritual One to encourage all businesses to offer delivery and takeout. Businsesses that signed up before June 1 received the service free for life and do not pay commission or monthly subscription fees.

Since then, 1,211 local businesses signed up, the company said in a press release.

The platform is typically available for restaurants, bakeries and bars, but the deal with city allows all kinds of businesses to sign up.

Ritual will now offer the commission-free ordering platform to Toronto businesses at no cost through the end of the year. Set-up and monthly subscription fees will also be waived.

The meal pick-up app has teamed with DoorDash Drive to fulfill delivery orders. Under the extension, Toronto businesses will also get two weeks of free delivery between October 26 and November 8. All flat fees will be waived for both customers and local businesses during that time.

After pandemic lockdown measures began in the spring, advocacy groups and Tory put pressure on tech companies to lower fees to no avail.

In April, Liberty Group CEO Nick Di Donato posted a graphic on Instagram outlining that app commission rates range from 10 per cent (DoorDash) to 30 per cent (Uber Eats).

Independent MPP Amanda Simard and Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner are among the provincial politicians that have urged Ford to impose a 15 per cent cap on commission fees.

“If we want independent restaurants to survive, then we need to do more than ask Uber Eats for a favour,” Schreiner said in a statement. “The Premier can put an end to price gouging right now by capping commission fees at 15 per cent, which will give small restaurants a better chance to survive the 28-day indoor dining closure.”

Update (October 15): This story has been updated with a statement from DoorDash.

@KevinRitchie

Comments (8)

  • Charles October 14, 2020 08:47 PM

    Just like Ford to pass along requests to other companies to pay for how badly he has bungled the whole pandemic in Ontario. Why doesn’t he just step down and let someone intelligent take his place?

  • Y October 15, 2020 10:08 AM

    Has the Premier also implored
    CRA…. nope
    Ontario Hydro…. nope
    Regional taxes…. nope
    Utilities… nope
    Lowered fuel costs…. nope
    Or the ALL mighty highest rates on the planet phone companies to chip in and help???…. and HELLZ no!

    Stop picking on the little guy!

    • Michael October 16, 2020 09:15 PM

      Replay to Y. Ontario Hydro, really where have you been the past 2 decades? CRA is Justin’s problem to solve… the rest are just too humorous to mention.

  • Guy Melanson October 15, 2020 04:10 PM

    So how is this going to affect delivery drivers that put them in the front line by delivering this food?

  • James October 15, 2020 09:38 PM

    These apps need to make their money too. And they do that by charging commissions. Ford shouldn’t have publically tried to force their hand in dropping their fees. They have costs to cover too.

  • Chris October 16, 2020 08:55 AM

    How about the ontario gov reduces alcohol costs for merchants who resell. This is only country in the world where a business pays more then a person. Doug Ford actually has no authority telling people anything on the business side. The restaurant association should sue the gov for discrimination.

  • Robin Cherian October 16, 2020 02:37 PM

    What about Pumpkin Kart. I believe they charge the lowest for restaurants and provide long-distance delivery too

  • Neiro October 17, 2020 08:51 AM

    Its not fare for delivery drivers to be delivering food for customer during lockdown and be getting tickets just for a 1 min drop off delivery, I got an 80 ticket just because I park to deliver a doordash food

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