PHILADELPHIA, September 17 – Today, Councilwoman and Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) introduced a bill to make permanent a 15% percent cap on third-party delivery fees charged by food delivery services.
The new legislation builds upon a previous Parker bill – Bill # 200344 – that was introduced during the earlier stages of the pandemic and became law last summer. Both bills were crafted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA).
Last July, Mayor Jim Kenney signed Bill #200344 which addressed several issues, one of them being that for the duration of “a declared public health emergency” and 90 days thereafter, third-party delivery services would be limited to charging fees no more than 15% of the customers’ total order.
“COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges to the restaurant industry – it changed how businesses operate and that impact will be felt for years to come,” Parker said. “As the pandemic set in during early 2020, fees from third-party food delivery apps were exorbitantly high, as much as 35 to 40 percent of the total bill, taking almost the entirety of restaurant’s margins.
“I was proud to collaborate with the PRLA to pass legislation that regulated these delivery companies and – most importantly – capped the fees they charge restaurants during the pandemic,” Parker said. The original bill was crafted when it still was not clear how long the pandemic would be directly impacting our day-to-day lives. Now it has become clear that there is no quick exit from the pandemic, and the industries that were hit hardest – including the restaurant industry – continue to struggle and will take years to recover.
“I am going to continue to stand up to these delivery companies to protect Philadelphia restaurants as they continue to navigate and recover from the pandemic. This is why I am proud to introduce legislation to make the 15% fee cap permanent to protect and nurture our small restaurant operators as they continue to build back.”
Restaurants in Philadelphia have been decimated over the last 18 months and continue to face new challenges daily, such as staffing shortages and supply chain issues. Excessive third-party delivery fees will only exacerbate the stress put upon these small business owners and operators.
“Now is certainly not the right time for [restaurants] to be targeted with unnecessary and excessive fees,” PRLA Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Bova wrote in a communication to Philadelphia members. “That’s why we are happy to announce that we’ve been working closely with Councilmember Parker’s office. We appreciate Councilmember Parker’s office working with PRLA and the many bars and restaurants in Philly to assure that they can continue operating at this challenging time. We all know this will be a long road to recovery, and it’s not fair for your businesses to face so much uncertainty an unpredictability.”
In addition to the bill, Councilwoman Parker also introduced a resolution authorizing the Committee on Law & Government and the Committee on Commerce & Economic Development to hold joint hearings to examine the relationship between public safety and the economic vitality of neighborhood commercial corridors, and further to explore any and all broad-based, neighborhood-focused, and inter-governmental public safety initiatives that have worked in the City in the past, and have worked or are working in other cities. The joint hearing is tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 4th at 10am.
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Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker represents the 9th District, which includes East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Lawncrest, Burholme, Olney, Oxford Circle and Logan. As Majority Leader, she serves as Chair of Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service and the Committee on Law and Government.