Jersey City officials agree on measure to cap third-party food delivery fees at 10%

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Jersey City officials have come to an agreement on a measure to third-party food delivery fees at 10 percent during a state of emergency, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Following the Jersey City Council approving the first reading of an ordinance last night, Mayor Steven Fulop signed an executive capping these service fees at 10 percent to help reduce hardships during times of great economic uncertainty.

“We have to find ways to protect the economy in which, I believe small businesses are truly the engines that power it,” Council President Joyce Watterman.

“In viewing it as the backbone, we must try and prevent third-party companies from exploiting our restaurants with high fees which ultimately affects them trying to retain their staffing on the payroll.”

“For all their hard work to stay afloat and achieve profitability, these third-party fees are hindering local restaurants’ chances of survival which is simply unfair and unethical amid this health and economic crisis,” added Fulop.

The 10 percent cap applies to any website, mobile application, or other third-party service that arranges for the delivery or pickup of food and beverages prepared by a food service establishment.

“This Order will allow local independent restaurants to hold on to more of their hard-earned money, and ensure that local spending stays in the community,” said Andrew Martino, the owner of the Owner of Ghost Truck Kitchen, who helped bring the issue to the council’s attention.

“Relief from commissions as high as 35% is sorely needed now more than ever and will help us keep our doors open serving the neighborhood.”

Prior to this order, commission fees directly charged food establishments between 15 and 35 percent of a customer’s bill for every online delivery or takeout order made through their website or app.

“The fees charged by third-party apps – up to 35% of an order – is unsustainable. This emergency regulation keeps money in their pockets to pay their employees instead of large, billion-dollar corporations,” noted Ward E Councilman James Solomon.

“On a city-level, we’re doing what we can to protect our residents and businesses alike, and after working alongside our local restaurant owners on this, I know it will truly be impactful for them,” said Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera.

Hoboken officials announced a similar measure last week and the city council okayed the ordinance on first reading yesterday.