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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

DoorDash's new pricing tiers for restaurants reveal that there's no magical math that can keep customer fees and restaurant commissions low — one group will have to bear the cost.

Why it matters: During the pandemic, food delivery companies like DoorDash came under fire for charging high fees to restaurants, and faced tacit criticism that they didn't give up their own margins to help both drivers and eateries earn more.

  • Companies within the delivery industry warned they'd very likely shift costs to customers when cities began to implement (mostly temporary) caps on restaurant fees during the pandemic.

Details: DoorDash's three tiers, made official today after the company experimented over the past year, come with different commission rates (between 15%-30%), delivery areas and marketing features.

  • They also include different fees charged to customers, where restaurants opting for the lowest commission rate will see their customers charged higher fees than those who opt for the highest commission tier.
  • DoorDash is also cutting its pickup fees to 6% (including card processing fees) for all restaurants.
  • The company says that the tiers won't affect the earnings of its delivery drivers, which are calculated in a separate way.

Between the lines: While DoorDash is giving restaurants more options, the company is not giving up its own earnings, and in fact, doesn't expect this to affect revenue, COO Christopher Payne told journalists during a presentation.

What to watch: It wouldn't be surprising if the restrictions to the "cheapest" tier —and added perks in the most expensive — push a number of restaurants toward tiers with higher commissions if they find their online orders are decreasing.

The bottom line: There's no such thing as a free lunch delivery.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Apr 26, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

How much food delivery really costs in Des Moines

Expand chart
Data: Axios research; Chart: Axios Visuals

Delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash cost consumers more and tighten razor-thin margins for businesses, but we've come to rely on them during the pandemic.

The state of play: The cost of the same meal can vary dramatically whether you purchase it directly from the restaurant for pick-up or have it delivered via your app of choice.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.