Diners got used to delivery during the pandemic, and the habit may stick long after dining rooms reopen. But restaurants and delivery companies remain uneasy partners, haggling over fees and struggling to make the service profitable for themselves and each other.
Companies like DoorDash and UberEats helped many restaurants stay in business during lockdowns, allowing diners to stay in and still order out. But that convenience came at a price: Delivery companies can charge commission fees of 30% or more per order, hurting restaurants’ already meager profits.
Some restaurants, fed up with the fees, have since started their own delivery or dropped off the platforms altogether. Delivery companies are trying to keep them in the fold with lower-priced services and relief funds. But they’re not making money either.
“The relationship was bad, and it didn’t get better with the pandemic,” said Karan Girotra, a professor at Cornell University’s Johnson College