After nudging third-party restaurant delivery giants UberEats and DoorDash to lower the fees charged to businesses from roughly 30 percent to 20 (15 percent of which would go to delivery), André Lamontagne, Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, is now mulling a more forceful approach.
In a statement provided over e-mail to Eater, the minister’s press secretary, Laurence Voyzelle, confirmed (originally in French) that Quebec is “considering drafting a bill to ensure that our request is respected once parliamentary work resumes.” (Quebec parliament is adjourned until February 2.)
Responding to mounting demands from an industry in grave financial straits, the minister approached UberEats, DoorDash, and SkipTheDishes earlier this month to ask them to voluntarily cap fees. As reported by Global News on January 14, SkipTheDishes, (the only Canadian service of the bunch) was the only one to heed that call. Its rate has stood at 18.75 percent for the last ten days, Voyzelle says.
UberEats and DoorDash were less willing, according to Voyzelle. “We regret the lack of cooperation from UberEats and DoorDash on this issue,” she says, adding that the former said it was already offering “alternative measures” to restaurants and that it would only agree to shave off a couple percentage points from its fees in exchange for a written pledge from the government committing not to legislate on the matter. “We have obviously decided to keep our room to maneuver.”
As for DoorDash, it was “closed to all ideas of lowering delivery costs,” Voyzelle says.
In response to Eater’s request for comment, a spokesperson for DoorDash pointed to an initiative in April when it reduced rates by 50 percent for six weeks in Canada. The spokesperson also provided the following statement:
DoorDash has always supported restaurants, which is why just yesterday, we announced over $1 million CAD in relief grants for restaurants in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Pricing regulations could cause us to increase costs for customers, which could lead to fewer orders for local restaurants and fewer earning opportunities for Dashers. Pricing regulations can also remove options available to restaurants by limiting their ability to opt-in to additional services to help their business. We remain focused on working with policymakers to reach solutions that better support restaurants, customers, and Dashers.
UberEats spokesperson Jonathan Hamel provides the following comment:
Local restaurants are the heart and soul of our neighbourhoods. As we navigate this second wave of COVID-19 cases, Uber Eats is supporting restaurants by driving demand through marketing campaigns, waiving activation fees, introducing daily payout, and providing flexible options like 0% pick-up, 7.5% for online ordering, and 15% for restaurants who use their own delivery staff. If the government moves ahead with a bill, we wish to be part of the discussions.
The news comes after Cavendish Mall restaurant Déli Boyz filed an application with the Quebec Superior Court for a class-action lawsuit against the third-party delivery services for imposing “exorbitant and abusive” fees.