Even DashPass users must pay the extra Denver Fee if they want to get delivery. 

The Denver City Council passed an ordinance in October limiting how much third party delivery services can charge restaurants in an attempt to provide some relief to the hard-hit restaurant industry. The temporary ordinance caps commissions to 15% of the order total, whereas previously, it could be as high as 35%. It went into effect on October 7 and is scheduled to run through February 9. 

This ordinance made it clear that third-party delivery services couldn't reduce their drivers' pay in response to the cap, so DoorDash is passing the cost to Denver customers. Anyone ordering through the app can expect to see a $2 Denver Fee added to their ticket, for the time being. This includes users who pay monthly for a DashPass subscription, which normally waives most delivery and service fees.

A DoorDash spokesperson said that certain measures, including extra fees for customers, are necessary to counteract any "unintended consequences" of COVID-19 price regulations enacted by local governments. 

“In select cities where lawmakers have imposed price regulations that limit our ability to work with restaurant partners, DoorDash is considering various measures necessary to offset their unintended consequences,” said a DoorDash spokesperson in a statement to BusinessDen.

Councilwoman Kendra Black proposed the commission cap after working closely with the Colorado Restaurant Association and EatDenver, our local independent restaurant organization.

More than 100 Denver restaurants have closed their doors for good this year, and one in four jobs lost has been in the restaurant industry. Governor Jared Polis recently signed an executive order issuing a tax relief measure for restaurants in an effort to help the situation.

The pandemic has made dining out a rare occasion, and occupancy limitations and closed dining rooms make already razor-thin margins even thinner. More and more people are ordering online, especially through third-party apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, but some restaurants are actually losing money through these delivery sales.

There are things we can do as a community to support local restaurants during this difficult time. If you're shopping for holiday gifts, you can knock out two birds with one stone by purchasing gift cards, meal kits, or merchandise from your favorite Denver restaurants. 

Some of Denver's independent restaurants, like Birdcall, have even created their own online ordering platforms, so always check the restaurant's website to see if that's an option. Ordering directly from the restaurant helps them retain more of their delivery revenue, even if they still partner with third-party services to utilize delivery drivers. Curbside delivery is also available at some places, so you can call in your order and safely pick it up.

This year has seen an unprecedented amount of online ordering and food delivery as restaurants adapt to the challenges of COVID-19. Even after the pandemic is over, the restaurant industry will probably continue to rely more on online ordering than before. Third-party delivery services like DoorDash are trying to adapt to these changes as well, and sometimes that means more fees. 

What do you think about the Denver Fee? Have you already seen it pop up on your delivery order? Let us know in the comments!