Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday touted $500,000 the city’s getting from restaurant delivery company DoorDash to winterize Chicago restaurants, while proposals by aldermen to further crack down on such apps during the coronavirus pandemic languish in City Council committees.
In announcing the grant from the delivery company to help restaurants prepare for winter, Lightfoot thanked DoorDash “for investing in Chicago and its restaurants to assist them in continuing to serve Chicagoans this winter.”
Third-party apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats that charge additional fees to restaurants to deliver meals have drawn increasing scrutiny from elected officials since the virus outbreak began, as diners skittish about eating inside restaurants have been ordering more to-go meals, fueling a boom for the companies.
During a May City Council committee hearing, struggling restaurateurs said the companies charge 30% or more to deliver food, and sometimes set up their own websites masquerading as those of the restaurants themselves.
Sign up for The Spin to get the top stories in politics delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.
Northwest Side Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, introduced an ordinance to cap fees at 5% of the cost of the meal, but it got shunted to the City Council Rules Committee, where ideas the mayor opposes often get sent to die.
And while the council did adopt Lightfoot-backed rules requiring delivery apps to itemize the fees they charge, stricter bench marks backed by downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, have gone nowhere.
Reilly on Thursday said if the city wanted to really throw a lifeline to struggling restaurants, it would adopt the tougher standards, and the companies would readily agree to abide by them.