REGINA -- Food delivery apps like Skip the Dishes have been an important tool for restaurant owners during the pandemic. But the third-party services also take a significant portion of sales, which has some calling for a cap on the fees.

“Right now all these third party delivery systems are what’s new and what’s popular, so they’re kind of a necessary evil for me,” said Chris Plum, owner of Mercury Café & Grill in Regina. “It’s not something I’m really too happy about, that large amount of money they take out of my revenue at 25 per cent.”

The Opposition NDP thinks fees charged by food delivery apps should be capped by government.

“Having third party delivery apps take an additional 25, 30, 35 per cent of those profits is huge,” said NDP Critic for Economy and Jobs Aleana Young.

In December, Ontario temporarily capped delivery fees at 15 per cent to 20 per cent for the duration of the pandemic as a way of assisting restaurants. Saskatchewan said it has helped restaurants in other ways. 

“We have put in place a program – the adaptation rebate – which restaurants are able to make an application to have up to $5,000 of expenses reimbursed for things exactly like moving to a much more significant degree of delivery through third parties, whether that be Skip the Dishes or other third parties,” said Minister of Trade Jeremy Harrison.

Plum said he would welcome a cap on fees. 

“I think the government should step in and cap that because it’s hurtful to small businesses,” he said. 

The government said it is only recently that these concerns were brought to its attention. It has met with the association representing restaurants, but it is too early to tell what action they may take.