L.A. Caps Grubhub, Postmates, Other Delivery Apps Service Charges At 15%
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
The Los Angeles City Council capped service charges third-party delivery services like Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats can pass on to restaurants at 15% of the purchase price during the pandemic following similar moves in San Francisco, Seattle and other major cities.
Restaurants have long complained about charges from the popular apps as high as 30% are eating away at their business, and those worries have grown during the pandemic, as owners find themselves relying more heavily on the services.
Even as dine-in restaurants slowly reopen, many are still devastated by the months-long closure. During that time, those that managed to stay afloat could only offer customers carry out and pick up services in order to keep business alive.
"Any arbitrary cap – regardless of the duration – will lower order volume to locally-owned restaurants, increase costs for small business owners, and raise costs on customers. Delivery workers would have fewer work opportunities and lower earnings," said Jenna DeMarco, a spokesperson for GrubHub in an email. "We also believe that any cap on fees represents an overstep by local officials and would not withstand a legal challenge."
Chris Webb, the CEO of ChowNow, an online order platform that offers restaurants a flat fee, said restauranteurs have long been frustrated with the fees.
"What we are hearing from a lot of restaurants," he said. "' We cannot afford to stay in business and take around 30% commissions consistently. It's driving us out of business and now this (pandemic) is the motivator for us to move.'"
He said he saw business skyrocket as many restaurant owners shifted away from delivery services that relied on percentage-based fees and to his flat-fee model. Webb said he was signing up as many as 2,000 restaurants a month.
The effort to cap the services was driven in part by pressure from the United Food and Commercial Worker Union Local 770, which is organizing the drivers. The order, which must still be signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, also prevents the apps from taking tips from drivers.
"This smart policy will prohibit these companies from taking tips from drivers and gouging restaurants with fees," said John Grant, president of UFCW 770 in a statement."Food delivery drivers are essential workers who provide meals for the residents of our City, especially to seniors and others who are sheltering at home or under quarantine."
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The Trump administration is ordering TikTok and WeChat be banned from all U.S. mobile app stores as of Sunday, effectively pulling one of the hottest apps in America from the reach of interested new users.
The yanking of the two apps from U.S. mobile stores come after the U.S. Department of Commerce detailed on Friday exactly what President Donald Trump's Aug. 6 executive order banning "transactions" with TikTok means. Trump's ban prohibits "any provision of service to distribute or maintain" the apps in U.S. mobile app stores, the department said.
On Thursday, July 16, dot.LA kicked off the first in our series of "Female Founders Stories," with the aim of holding candid conversations with the minds behind some of the city's most innovative startups.
Chief host and correspondent Kelly O'Grady spoke with WeeCare Co-founder & CEO Jessica Chang as well as DropLabs Founder & CEO Susan Paley about their "aha" moments and experiences as women leading L.A. startups.
Susan Paley is the founder & CEO of DropLabs
Susan Paley, Founder & CEO of DropLabs<p>Susan Paley is the founder and CEO of DropLabs, a first-of-its-kind tech company on a mission to enable the world to feel sound from the ground up. With their first release, a sneaker called the EP 01, DropLabs integrates audio technology and footwear to deliver a truly immersive audio-sensory experience you can feel throughout your entire body. Over the course of her 20+ year career in consumer technology, Susan has been the driving force behind some of the most innovative consumer products. Most notably, Susan was the initial CEO of Beats By Dre, where she successfully guided all aspects of the company's unparalleled growth to make it the #1 headphone provider globally. </p>
Jessica Chang is co-founder & CEO of WeeCare
Jessica Chang, Co-Founder & CEO of WeeCare<p>WeeCare is the easiest way for teachers, new moms and caregivers to start and manage a successful home daycare. We're addressing the $28B home childcare market, offering startup services to navigate the daycare licensing process and providing a business-in-a-box toolset to simplify operations, generate additional revenue and delight parents. Founded by a team of moms, preschool owners and successful technology founders, WeeCare is creating affordable, quality daycares accessible to all families.<br><br>Before WeeCare's founding, Jessica worked in finance and operations and gathered experience in early education through owning Los Angeles preschools. </p>
Kelly O'Grady, Chief Host and Correspondent<p>Kelly O'Grady is dot.LA's chief host & correspondent. Kelly serves as dot.LA's on-air talent, and is responsible for designing and executing all video efforts. A former management consultant for McKinsey, and TV reporter for NESN, she also served on Disney's Corporate Strategy team, focusing on M&A and the company's direct-to-consumer streaming efforts. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Boston native, Kelly spent a year as Miss Massachusetts USA, and can be found supporting her beloved Patriots every Sunday come football season.</p>
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