The City Council approved legislation on Wednesday, capping commissions that food delivery apps can charge a restaurant. It’s all part of a wider set of proposals the restaurant industry is asking the city to consider, saying how it does business will have to change in order to survive the economic crisis the pandemic has created. NY1 Political reporter Gloria Pazmino has the report.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City dining experience may never be the same.
As the prospect of reopening to full capacity dims by the day, restaurant owners are looking to the city to innovate. In particular, they want New York City leaders to come up with a plan that will allow them to serve food outdoors, close streets to traffic to allow social distancing, and limit the number of fees restaurants must pay to renew their licenses.
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“Small businesses and restaurants are the heart and soul of our city, they were struggling before this, and this shut down has been catastrophic for so many of them,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
To that end, City Council approved legislation on Wednesday placing a temporary cap on the fees that third party delivery apps — such as GrubHub and Doordash — can charge to restaurants.
Commissions will now be capped at 20 percent. A second proposal, aimed directly at GrubHub, will ban a fee the app charges if a call does not result in a take out order. Both measures will apply throughout the state of emergency and 90 days after.
Officials are also asking the administration to consider putting a plan in place so restaurants and bars can serve customers in person, even if in limited fashion.
“Now, it’s the time to focus on the future of our restaurants and nightlife,” said City Councilman Keith Powers. “We should consider opening up our streets and open spaces to restaurants.”
“The dining public may be comfortable eating in open air spaces,” said Andrew Ritchie of NYC Hospitality Alliance. “We’ve seen other places, other cities around the world, start to do this. New York City should be a leader and start to do this.”
Mayor de Blasio, who was slow to approve a plan to open more streets to pedestrians to create more social distancing space, said he would take it under consideration, but it’s unclear how soon New Yorkers can look forward to dining outdoors.
“We’re not there yet,” de Blasio said. “But it is an appealing idea, an idea that may offer some real options.”