Montreal restaurant pushes back over punishing delivery app fees

deli boyz ctv

By Amanda Kline and Adam Kovac, CTV News Montreal

Quebec's strict lockdown has resulted in many turning to food delivery apps, but one restaurant is fighting back against what it calls punishing fees.

Deli Boyz, located in the Cavendish Mall, has struggled over the past few months. Usually, owner Emmanuel Darmond relies on lunching shoppers but with the mall closed, has had to pivot to takeout and delivery.

“We had a lot of old people, we had a lot of young people,” he said. “It was a mixture of everything. Today, we have a lot of nothing.”

But while Montrealers have picked up their phones and used apps like Door Dash and Uber Eats for their delivery needs, those apps charge up to 30 per cent commission on each delivery.

“From 7:30 to 9, my phone didn't ring once for an order, but Uber I had four orders,” said Darmond. “I had one phone call from one customer who had $30 off, he wanted to know if I could match the offer.”

Darmond is demanding the apps change their policy and pay back the difference. To that end, he's seeking to launch a class-action lawsuit.

Lawyer Joey Zukran said he believes the app commissions should be “capped at 15 per cent, and if they should be capped, then they should be declared abusive up until now. A reimbursement should be made to all the restaurants in the province between 30 and 15 per cent.”

Ontario has capped its delivery fees at 20 per cent, while British Columbia capped them at 15 per cent.

In Montreal, both Mayor Valerie Plante and opposition leader Lionel Perez are calling on the provincial government to do the same.

A spokesperson for Quebec's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said the ministry “wholeheartedly agrees with restaurateurs.” The ministry has asked Uber Eats, Door Dash and SkipThe Dishes, which together account for 80 per cent of app deliveries in Quebec, to voluntarily cap their commissions, with a “requested ceiling of 20 per cent of the invoice, including 15 per cent of for delivery.”

Martin Vezina of the Quebec Restaurants Association said a cap would be a good first step, but what's really needed is a plan to support restaurants. Vezina said at most restaurants, takeout and delivery only account for 30 per cent of sales.

“We need a relaunch plan. We need to know when we will be re-opening and when our dining rooms will be re-open and a financial aid package with the re-opening,” he said.

It could take up to a year before the courts hear Darmond's request. In the meantime, Uber Eats has said it has implemented measures to help restaurants, such as waiving activation fees and discounts for restaurants that use their own delivery staff. 

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters