Contra Costa County board limits food ­delivery service fees

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—On Feb. 2, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an urgency ordinance to place a temporary cap on commissions and fees charged by third-party food delivery services to local restaurants.

Effective immediately, this ordinance applies throughout the county with the exception of cities that have adopted meal delivery ordinances.

When a customer places an online order for delivery or pickup at a restaurant through a platform operated by a third-party delivery firm, that company cannot charge the restaurant more than 15 percent of the order. Similarly, if a third-party delivery firm provides a service such as processing online orders for a restaurant, it cannot charge the restaurant more than 10 percent of the order for providing that service.

We inquired with some local restaurants and chambers of commerce in order to better understand how they are impacted by third-party food delivery service fees. They shared that sometimes when they calculate for the fees they are charged on an order, it can often equate to them selling that meal at cost.

Restaurants are an important component of our county’s economic vitality, and we know they have been hit hard during this pandemic. We want to do what we can to help alleviate some of these fees while restaurants are doing their best to provide essential food services at this time.

Some cities in Contra Costa County, including Danville, Lafayette and Walnut Creek, have passed similar ordinances to help support local restaurants.

The county ordinance will expire when state public health orders allow all restaurants in the county to seat customers for indoor dining at 100 percent capacity.

As of now, this is what the state public health tiers mean for restaurant capacity:

Tier 1/Purple. Wide spread of COVID means outdoor dining only.

Tier 2/Red. Substantial means limited indoor dining at 25 percent of capacity (based on certificate of occupancy) or 100 diners, whichever is fewer.

Tier 3/Orange. Moderate means limited indoor dining at 50 percent of capacity (based on certificate of occupancy) or 200 diners, whichever is fewer.

Tier 4/Yellow. Minimal means limited indoor dining at 50 percent of capacity (based on certificate of occupancy).
The rules also include the COVID-19 public health protocols of social distancing and six feet of space between tables, and masks and face shields for restaurant staff who come into contact with customers.

For additional details on this ordinance, visit View/69689/Urgency-Ordinance-No-2021-05.

Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Mitchoff at