'Exploiting restaurants': Owners say delivery apps are gouging them
VANCOUVER -- Restaurants now reliant on take-out and delivery say food delivery apps like Skip the Dishes, Door Dash and Foodora are taking too high of a cut in a time when businesses are struggling to survive.
"I feel like (the apps) are exploiting restaurants at a time when their business has drastically increased,” said Fiona Grieve, the owner of Buckstop on Denman Street in the West End.
Like many restaurants, Buckstop is offering a discount on pick-up orders.
"We’re trying to incentivize people to come to the restaurant and pick up their food because we have to compete with Buckstop being delivered, so we’re actually offering a discount to compete with ourselves,” Grieve said.
Like every restaurant operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the dine-in section of Rogue Wetbar at Broadway and Ash is closed by order of B.C.’s provincial health officer, and it’s only offering take-out and delivery. The restaurant is part of Steamworks Restaurant Group, which operates teamworks in Gastown and three Rogue Wetbar locations.
The Rogue at Broadway and Ash is the only location that's been able to open since the federal government announced wage subsidies. Eight staff are working at this location, but across the company, 350 employees have been laid off.
"It was tough, really tough," Steamworks president Carl McCreath told CTV News.
The business has adapted to the changing times by adding a marketplace component to the menu "so produce, meats, beer, wine, spirits, really like a one stop grocery store,” McCreath said.
Like so many establishments, they rely on food delivery apps to get food to customers. But they take a hefty commission.
"Typically it’s 20-30 per cent that they take which is quite a bit, it’s hard to afford that,” McCreath said.
The figure is hard for businesses to absorb when sales are already low.
The BC Restaurant Association has contacted the major food delivery app companies to try to lower commission fees.
“'One company said "we’ve lowered our fees to 15 per cent’ but they only lowered the 25 per cent by 15 per cent," said president Ian Tostenson.
"The restaurant industry is being held hostage to the demand of the consumer, and the third party companies are saying well, too bad so sad, we’re going to do this."
On Friday, CTV News reached out to Door Dash, Skip the Dishes and Foodora.
Door Dash has announced it will be reducing commission fees by 50 per cent starting Monday for small businesses.
In a statement, Skip the Dishes says it is offering a 30-day support package that "includes a rebate on commissions from every order placed to help our partners maintain operations and support their teams during these challenging times."
Foodora did not respond to CTV News Vancouver’s request for comment.