June 19, 2020 | Number of The Day
Proposed cap on service fees that food-delivery apps can charge NJ restaurants during emergencies

During the pandemic, a lot of New Jerseyans are ordering food deliveries from restaurants through third-party apps like DoorDash, Grubhub or UberEats. It should be a good deal all around; people get food, restaurants get business and the apps get their slice in service fees to both consumers and restaurants. But some restaurant operators have complained of being charged inordinately high service fees by the delivery apps, up to 40% of the order in some cases.

Several cities across the country have introduced legislation to cap the fees that apps can charge for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. A similar measure for New Jersey is now headed to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk: On Thursday, the Assembly approved (in a 75-1-2 vote) legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union) that would prohibit third-party apps or websites from charging restaurants service fees higher than 15% during a state of emergency lasting longer than seven days. The measure passed the Senate 39-0 in May.

In a statement, Quijano said, “There’s no reason for apps to be charging outlandish fees to restaurants during the middle of a global public health emergency. Apps can be a vital tool in helping restaurants stay in business, but that won’t be the case if they are charging unreasonable fees.”