Seattle passes emergency order capping food delivery services commission fees

SEATTLE — The city of Seattle passed a new emergency order, imposing a 15% commission cap on third-party delivery services in support of restaurants.

That cap is expected to remain in effect until restaurants are allowed to offer unrestricted dine-in service, city officials said.

The cap went into effect Friday, and if it is violated, it could result in a misdemeanor offense and would be prosecuted by the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.

Officials said because restaurants are restricted to takeout and delivery service, they’re disproportionately impacted, addind financial pressure.

“We know that so many of our small businesses are hurting because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that delivery services have been a lifeline for our restaurants during this unprecedented time. Unfortunately, some third-party delivery services are charging exorbitant commission fees, which exacerbates the financial hardship many restaurants are already experiencing,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The emergency order also requires that 100% of tips go to the delivery drivers who are often shut out of federal unemployment relief because they are independent contractors. The order also makes it illegal for the third-party delivery services to reduce a driver’s pay rate.

Any restaurants wishing to report a violation of the commission cap can call the Seattle Police Department’s nonemergency line at 206-625-5011.