Apr 8, 2021 - News

Pickup vs. delivery: What it costs to get takeout in Denver

An employee carries a large pizza

A pizza pie is pulled out of the oven at Fat Sully's on Colfax Avenue. Photo: Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

If you’ve ordered takeout during the pandemic, you’ve probably noticed the price of the same meal can swing wildly depending on the delivery company or whether it's bought directly from the restaurant.

Why it matters: We've grown dependent on food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash in the last year, but they hike costs for consumers and shrink already pinched margins for restaurants.

Here's an example from Fat Sully’s, a pizza joint with three Denver locations. We ordered a 20-inch red pie.

Pickup vs. delivery costs
Data: Axios research. Chart: Axios Visuals

Good to know:

  1. Delivery fees are highly variable and can differ based on the time, day, location and app.
  2. Then there’s the "service" fee, or the commission that delivery companies charge restaurants for each order.

State of play: Complaints from restaurant owners who were struggling to withstand the pandemic prompted many Colorado cities — including Denver, Aurora, Broomfield, Commerce City and Morrison — to put temporary caps on the commission fees food delivery companies could charge restaurants.

  • Most laws blocked commission charges above 15% and expired March 31.
  • In some cases, companies added extra fees to consumers to work around the limits.

Denver’s 15% cap has been extended to mid-June. The emergency measure was first enacted last October and sponsored by District 4 Council member Kendra Black.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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