(OYSTER BAY, N.Y.) - To provide financial relief to Nassau County restaurants struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury) introduced the “Restaurant Protection Act,” legislation that would cap the fees third-party food delivery services can charge participating Nassau County restaurants.
He unveiled the legislation during a press conference outside Oyster Bay’s Coach Meeting House on Wednesday, Dec. 23, where he was joined by Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D - Glen Cove), a supporting co-sponsor of the measure; Coach meeting House owner Rustan Lundstrum; and John Zozzaro, owner of the Downtown Café in Glen Cove.
Legislator Lafazan’s proposal would prohibit third-party food delivery services, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates, from charging a delivery fee greater than 15 percent of the purchase price of each online order, and cap other additional fees at five percent of the order price.
Leading third-party food delivery apps such as Uber Eats, Door Dash and Postmates charge restaurants as much as 30 percent of the price of each online order. However, according to The NPD Group, those three entities control as much as 81 percent of the delivery app market share as of November 2020. This monopolized landscape places an undue financial burden on local food service providers during already challenging fiscal times and “places restaurants in a vicious Catch-22,” Legislator Lafazan said.
“Because these apps have 81-percent of the market share, they feel the need to list their restaurants to gain exposure. However, the high fees being charge are driving down - or in many cases, eliminating - their profits. All the while, economic challenges inhibit restaurant owners from hiring their own drivers or developing their own proprietary delivery services,” Legislator Lafazan continued. “If local government does not act, so many of Nassau County’s small, independent restaurants - the pillars of our community, the sponsors of little league teams, the hosts of PTA nights and civic fundraisers and the anchors of so many downtown business districts - will be gone forever.”
The cap, which is modeled after actions taken in jurisdictions such as Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., would be activated upon the declaration of a state of emergency and simultaneous restrictions that curtail indoor dining in Nassau County. Provisions of this law would apply until Dec. 31, 2022. Thereafter, the cap would be re-activated upon the declaration of an emergency and imposition of indoor dining restrictions, and last for 90 days after such emergency order expires and the restrictions are lifted.