Deli Boyz has been in business for four years, and for most of that time, the Côte Saint-Luc restaurant has been using food delivery apps like Uber Eats.
But they’ve recently had to rely more heavily on those companies, due to COVID-19 restrictions, which owner Emmanuel Darmond said has been proving costly.
“They always use to take 30 per cent, but when we used to pay $200-300 dollars a week commission we didn’t mind, because it didn’t represent 50 or 60 per cent of our business,” said Darmond. “But today, it does.”
As a result of those high fees, Darmond is launching a class-action lawsuit against three food delivery companies for the alleged exorbitant and abusive commissions they are charging during the pandemic.
READ MORE: Montreal wants to see cap on fees charged by food delivery apps
Deli Boyz is the lead plaintiff in the case that is targeting food delivery companies that operate smartphone applications, including Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes.
The restaurant says the commissions these companies demand are in excess of 15 per cent, which the applicant says are abusive during a pandemic because restaurants are limited to takeout as indoor dining is banned.
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It also notes that several other provinces, states and cities have already capped the maximum commissions.
READ MORE: Quebec business community bracing for extended coronavirus lockdown and curfew
The Quebec Superior Court filing — which needs to be authorized by a judge — seeks damages in the form of money paid to these companies in commissions above 15 per cent, since Jan. 8. It is also requesting a judge bar the defendants from charging commissions above 15 per cent of the total customer order.
On Monday, Montreal executive committee member, Luc Rabouin, told Global News the province should regulate the fees that food delivery companies can charge.
Premier Francois Legault said he would look into it, but noted that it would be difficult to enforce such rules.
READ MORE: Ontario moves to cap delivery fees in COVID-19 hotspots where restaurants are takeout only
Darmond argues, if other provinces can do it, so can Quebec.
“Cap the fees at 50 per cent lower — 15 instead of 30 per cent — it would make a huge difference,” he said. “It’s almost if we will survive or not.”
Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes all declined to comment on the case.
-With files from the Canadian Press