CHICAGO — One of the lifelines thrown to Chicago restaurant owners during the pandemic centered on how much third-party delivery services could make on the backs of those businesses.
But it’s alleged those services didn’t play by the rules.
Between November 2020 and April 2021, the city imposed a 15% cap on what third-party delivery services could charge restaurants. After an investigation, the city found Uber Eats, which also owns Postmates, violated the city-imposed cap ordinance and listed some restaurants on its platforms without consent.
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Sam Toia is the president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association.
“We never went through a pandemic like this,” he told WGN News. “This is a once in a 100 years. So it was really rough. We worked with [Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot] and City Hall to throw lifelines to restaurants.”
The settlement reached with the city of Chicago is estimated to be $10 million and would likely clear Uber from a potential lawsuit.
“The restaurant business is a business of pennies and nickels,” Toia said. “So when you’re charging up to 25%, you’re not making any money.”
Uber responded to WGN News’ request for comment, stating: “We are committed to supporting Uber Eats restaurant partners in Chicago and are pleased to put this matter behind us.”
Business Affairs and Consumer Protection commissioner Kenneth J. Meyer said that the bulk of the settlement has already been paid out to restaurants across the city. But a lawsuit against DoorDash and GrubHub is still pending over similar accusations.
In response, DoorDash stated:
As we have long maintained, the City’s claims against us are simply without merit. This settlement does nothing to change the basic fact of the matter, and we will continue to vigorously defend ourselves before the court.”
Grubhub also shared a comment, writing:
“We are confident we will prove what we’ve said before: that the allegations in this lawsuit are simply incorrect. Grubhub will continue to aggressively defend our business while providing unwavering support to Chicago’s restaurants, diners and drivers.”
The city has set aside $500,000 for restaurants listed on UberEats and Postmates without their consent. Officials have established a website to determine who is eligible for the payout. Interested parties may inquire by clicking here.
The filing deadline is Jan. 29. Payments will be made available by March 1.