DoorDash Defends Charging Customers Extra $1 ‘St. Louis Fee’

DoorDash customers ordering from St. Louis City facilities will find a new line item on their receipts: $ 1 St. Louis Fee.

In a statement e-mailed, a DoorDash spokeswoman admitted the surcharge was “not ideal,” but said it was necessary to train drivers under the “pricing rules” recently passed by the St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen. to keep paid.

“With these regulations, these fees help us continue to provide our customers with convenient delivery, meaningful dasher-making opportunities, and valuable services that help drive orders for merchants,” the statement said.

The rules in question went into effect in July and set a 20% cap on the per-item delivery fee charged by “third party delivery services” to restaurants. Otherwise, according to Christine Ingrassia, the sponsor of the bill, the fee number could be between 25 and 50% per item.

Ingrassia rolled out the measure in May when the pandemic conditions that had already brutalized restaurants stretched into the summer, although the final version featured some notable changes: the version introduced would have capped the company’s fees at just 5%. The cap was changed to 20% when the board passed the bill in July.

The final version also included a 60-day sunset clause related to the end of the city’s pandemic health ordinances that are still in effect, as well as an exemption for local delivery services serving fewer than 40 facilities.

DoorDash was one of several third-party providers who spoke out against the fee cap when it was introduced in the spring. At the time, a company spokesman argued that “proposals like this will ultimately penalize restaurants, consumers and delivery people,” citing previous efforts by the company to cut commissions for local restaurants.

Postmates went even further, claiming that the fee cap legislation “would affect the ability of the entire industry to provide the services restaurants need to stay open during this national emergency”.

Ultimately, DoorDash reacted as it did in other cities that passed laws to cap delivery charges: In December, the company introduced a “Chicago fee” of $ 1.50 after lawmakers there approved a 15% cap on delivery fees.

It is not clear when the St. Louis fee took effect. Posts from a handful of Twitter and Reddit users noted the appearance of the new line item on delivery receipts in November and December, though some also claimed they were charged for not ordering from a St. Louis City restaurant.

Ultimately, however, the tension between city regulations and corporate fees doesn’t change the plight of local restaurants and drivers who rely on some version of the food industry to survive.

For us eaters, the connoisseurs of items delivered from afar, through snow and potholes and pandemics, the fastest available solution remains the same: Tip like an MF.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. Email the author at [email protected]

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