Portland City Council Unanimously Votes to Extend 10% Delivery App Fee Cap
Some good news for restaurant and food cart owners who use third-party delivery apps: the 10 percent fee cap implemented by the Portland City Council in July 2020 will continue until February 2023. Plus, check out two new restaurants downtown, and drink summery sparkling wines outside.
Delivery App Caps Continue
Back in July 2020, when pandemic measures were going strong, the Portland City Council implemented an ordinance that would temporarily place a cap on the fees food delivery and pickup apps such as Grubhub, Ubereats, and Doordash could charge to restaurants and food carts. The cap was placed at 10 percent of the total order cost for all delivery and pickup orders; without that cap, eateries were often charged a fee of around 30 percent of the total order cost, placing a significant burden on restaurants and food carts in an industry that already has notoriously low margins. That ordinance was set to expire at the end of June—but at the city council meeting on June 22 members voted on whether to extend the cap for an additional eight months until February 2023.
Several restaurant and food cart owners spoke at the meeting in favor of extending the cap, including Kurt Huffman of ChefStable, Daniel Gold of Sebastiano’s, and Han Ly Hwang of Kim Jong Grillin, with several of them citing particularly difficult margins during this period of inflation. “Portland restaurants are one of the biggest parts, if not the key factor of tourism right now.… All restaurants and food carts, we’re just trading the same $20 bill. Right now, if you’re breaking even like I am, you’re winning,” Hwang said during the meeting. “The one thing that [these delivery companies] cannot do is what we’ve already done. We in Portland, we’re the tastemakers. We’ve been a leader in the culinary industry, for the world.… We have the opportunity to [reset] the way that food deliveries are handled in a city.”
Meanwhile, a Grubhub rep spoke in favor of removing the cap, stating that “price controls on commissions like the temporary cap … limit the ability of local restaurants that choose to promote their businesses on third-party platforms … to raise visibility, find new diners, and engage regular customers.”
All of the council members present—JoAnn Hardesty, Mingus Mapps, Dan Ryan, and Mayor Ted Wheeler—voted in favor of extending the cap, with the goal of reevaluating regulations around third-party apps down the line. “This is not an even contest. We have mom-and-pop businesses and food cart owners going up against some of the largest companies in America on a capitalization basis,” said Wheeler. “Doordash earned $5 billion last year. I think Portland has more to lose than other cities if we get this wrong, and as you heard from one of our restaurateurs, and I agree, Portland is known for its culinary industry.… This new platform, if it is not bracketed accordingly, threatens all of that.”
You can watch the full city council meeting here.
New Mediterranean Restaurant Dolly Olive Softly Opens Downtown
Back in February, we broke the news that a new Southern Mediterranean restaurant, Dolly Olive, would take over the Bistro Agnes space (527 SW 12th Ave) in late spring. The restaurant softly opened on June 22, and is now open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. It’s the newest restaurant in the Sesame Collective restaurant group, which also helms Shalom Y’all, Lil’ Shalom, Yalla, Mediterranean Exploration Company, and Bless Your Heart Burgers. The opening menu includes handmade focaccia, appetizers like grilled asparagus and cauliflower, a handful of fresh pastas, and mains including Spanish octopus and fennel-crusted bavette steak. For dessert, grab cannoli, an affogato with Fernet-flavored ice cream, or vegan (!!) spumoni ice cream.
The Creators of Afuri Open Tanaka, a New Spot for Katsu Sandwiches and Japanese Pastries
Tanaka, a new Japanese katsu sandwich, coffee, and pastry shop from the creators of Afuri, opens June 25 from 8 a.m. to 8 p .m. in downtown's West End (678 SW 12th Ave). So far, the restaurant’s Instagram page teases house-baked shokupan bread, custom-roasted coffee by Portland’s Good Coffee, mocha-flavored melonpan, dorayaki, macaron, and sandwiches ranging from pork katsu to fruit and cream.
Drink Wine and Eat Hawaiian Food at Wellspent Market
On June 26 from 1 to 5 p.m., head to Wellspent Market’s parking lot (935 NE Couch St), the site of many seasonal food fêtes, for a wine release party. Portland guesthouse and event space Sorta Summer is collaborating with Landmass Wines to release its fourth annual edition of a sparkling cuvée, made this year with PNW-grown pinot gris, chardonnay, grenache, and pinot noir grapes. There’ll also be food-themed art for sale from Portland designer Brett Stenson. Plus, a brand-new Hawaiian food cart, Manapua Man PDX, will debut at the event, teaming up with butter mochi maker Daphne K. Jenkins of ‘Ono Mau Goods.