Local restaurants say delivery fees make surviving during pandemic even more challenging

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As restaurants struggle to stay afloat during the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges they face is food delivery fees.

Some Los Angeles restaurants, who were primarily focused on in-person dining before the pandemic, say paying the fees of companies like Door Dash, Postmates and Uber Eats is taking a huge chunk of the little business they have now.

"When you're paying delivery fees, it's a huge blow to us. We really can't afford it," said Caitlin Cutler, co-owner and general manager of Ronan, a Melrose Avenue eatery.

She says she's heard from other restaurants that some delivery services charges as much as 35% of an order.

She encourages customers to support local businesses by ordering food directly from the restaurant and picking it up yourself, if possible.

The switch to a delivery-and-takeout business model has also hurt employees who are used to working for tips and now have to rely just on basic minimum wage, she noted.

Other restaurant owners said they've simply learned to adjust to the new reality of the pandemic, at least for now.

"A lot of people refuse to go out of their home so they have no choice but to have it delivered," said Jacqueline Canter of Canter's Deli.

Canter said she's managed to coexist with third-party delivery services.

"It's a two-way street," Canter said. "We need them and they need us. You can't let one bad apple ruin it for you."

In order to protect other eateries that have run into pricey fees, Los Angeles has made it unlawful for third-party food-delivery services to charge a restaurant more than a 15% commission fee for an online order during the pandemic.

That limit will remain in effect 90 days after indoor dining reopens.
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