Chicago will impose temporary limits on restaurant delivery charges and a $ 10 million aid to bars and restaurants that are forced to stop serving in-house customers for the second time during a pandemic, Thi Lori Lightfoot chief said on Thursday.
Since shutting down a home stay service caused by the coronavirus virus, Finance Commission President Scott Waguespack (32nd) has sought to limit restaurant delivery service fees by 5% to provide restaurant breaks when the only alternative to home cooking is take-away or delivery food.
So far, the mayor’s approach to the problem has been more nuanced.
She has imposed an executive order requiring a food delivery service in Chicago to be clear about third-party delivery costs, providing consumers with the information they need to vote on with their wallets.
But now that Governor JB Pritzker has forced bars and restaurants to close with in-house patrons again, Lightfoot vows to temporarily limit third-party fees.
At a press conference in City Hall, the mayor said talks with the butcher will determine the size and duration of the lid. But Lightfoot says there is a “sense of urgency”; to pass the decree this month as restaurants desperately need help.
“A little bit of clearing. Businesses are really suffering. Indoor dining is currently closed. There will be more confidence in delivery. We have to ensure that most of the revenue from deliveries goes to the restaurants themselves, ”said the mayor.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44), owner of Ann Sather’s Restaurants, knows first-hand the serious difficulties restaurants that are the lifeblood of Chicago neighborhoods.
“It’s very hard to try to meet the salary when the oncoming revenue could be 50% – if we are lucky. Whether it’s a delivery program or a customer come in and pick up – it’s still a fraction of what it takes to keep the business going, ”says Tunney.
“Most of our small businesses operate with very small profits. And most of them employ a lot of people. So the real incumbent is that we do everything we can to keep small businesses running and keep our neighborhoods alive. “
Tunney notes that “about 50% of all sales” come through paid third-party delivery services so “confusing, they don’t make sense.”
Tunney said he has a “good working relationship” with companies like Grubhub, Postmate and DoorDash, but he added: “This second pandemic threatens the business forever that they have to help us. … Reduced fees, at least in the short term. We have to get through this Phase Two. … If we don’t get past November and December, it will be very difficult January and February – and that’s normal. “
DoorDash thinks the proposed limit will reduce customer service and reduce delivery staff salaries, currently paid $ 22 an hour.
DoorDash spokesperson Campbell Matthews said in a statement: “More than ever, restaurants need flexibility to decide how to operate and market their business.
Uber Eats spokesperson Alix Anfang said restaurants can “choose to pay lower commissions and pay full-time delivery by themselves”, but many “don’t have the resources to do it”. .
“This law would simply pass costs back to small local restaurants who can afford the least while also limiting the income of many hard-working Chicagoans like delivery drivers, Anfang was quoted.
$ 10 million in grants have been reallocated from the city’s Small Business Recovery Fund, created by the success Chicago received from the federal CARES Act.
It will offer $ 10,000 per day to 1,000 struggling restaurants and bars selected in a lottery managed by World Business Chicago.
To be eligible, restaurants and bars must prove that as of March 1, due to the pandemic, they have lost at least 25% of their annual net sales “under $ 3 million”. National or regional chains with more than two facilities will not be eligible.
Grants must be used to pay payroll, replenish inventory and pay rent and utility bills, and 60% of the subsidy goes to businesses in community areas. have low and middle income.
As another lifesaver, the mayor is launching a “Bring to Chicago” contest to support local restaurants. People ordering food from at least 10 restaurants will be eligible for VIP tours to Chicago’s cultural facilities.
The City Hall has also created a ChiServes.com portal to help hospitality workers who have been laid off or have their hours and wages cut to grow their workforce. labor and other supports.
Lightfoot admits her latest measures are “no fix” for the devastated hospitality industry – and no substitute for new stimulus funds.
“Please, Congress. Get up and do your job. … We need to do this, ”she said.
“There is no further excuse. … We must work side by side to help our neighbors in need ”.