City cracks down on food delivery services

Food services ordinance

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Many restaurants in Tucson and Pima County are relying on food delivery services to stay in business.

But for the mom and pops, the little guys, there can be some surprises at the end of the day.

Without a written and signed agreement, the smaller restaurants may find the delivery service has tacked on a 30 percent delivery commission, which the restaurant must pay.

Without an agreement and with little-or-no bargaining power, the little guys are at the mercy of delivery companies like DoorDash, UberEats or GrubHub.

“There’s that old saying that 50% of something is better than 50% of nothing,” said Rey Sanchez, owner of Casa Sanchez on North Thorneydale. “When you’re trying to make it in this pandemic, you take what you can get.”

Sanchez has been trying to work out a deal with DoorDash, but trouble with the app shut it all down- so he’s on his own. The commission would be 30 percent even under the deal without the app. Sanchez has no bargaining position.

“30% is a hard pill to swallow,” Sanchez said. “But I know a lot of people are doing it and it is about survival.”

But the City of Tucson has heard from dozens of small restaurants complaining about the high commission costs which is why the city is passing an ordinance to limit the size of the fee.

“We will be moving on a 15% cap for those small restaurants, locally owned, less that five locations in the city of Tucson” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.

But it will only be for those restaurants which have spelled out a deal with the delivery companies.

“They are non-partnered,” she said “In other words, there hasn’t been a partnership between the delivery companies and the restaurant.”

The ordinance will go into effect Oct. 15, 2020 and will stay in place until the county and/or the state lifts the restrictions on dine in service for restaurants.

“These companies are important to have but not at the expense of small, locally owned restaurant in the city of Tucson,” the Mayor said.

Fines can range up to $1,000 per violation.

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