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After taking a summer vacation from discussions, Chicago’s City Council is once again grumbling about third-party delivery companies with one alderman urging his colleagues to pursue capping what DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates charge restaurants. This comes as the city on Wednesday announced a $500,000 grant program for ailing restaurants funded by DoorDash.

While praising the DoorDash sponsorship, Ald. (42nd Ward) Brendan Reilly says — as reported by the Tribunethat if the council “really wants to help the industry, they should put their money where their mouth is and support this ordinance.” He’s referring to an ordinance introduced in April that would have capped delivery-service fees at 5 percent of the cost of a food order. That would give Chicago the lowest cap in the country. In comparison, D.C. capped fees at 15 percent and New York agreed to a 20-percent limit.

Third-party fees average at about 20 percent but and surge to as high as 40 percent, restaurant owners say, and there’s confusion over what the amount buys clients. Delivery reps say it’s an ambiguous combo of marketing, technology, and customer services. While Chicago did not adopt a cap, they did mandate third parties to provide itemized receipts to customers with a breakdown of what they charged restaurants. Restaurant owners have said companies have largely ignored the mandate.

Supporters of the cap ordinance say it’s needed as restaurants are desperate for money during the pandemic as they rely
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