Technology has changed our lives and has been a lifeline in this time. In many ways, it has also changed the way we eat. It seems like every few months, there is a new delivery option that connects you with your favorite food; when and where you want to eat it. But, there is a tangible cost in using these delivery customers while local restaurants are struggling.

These apps are still charging a fee to restaurants just to be listed and a substantial portion of the bill is taken off the top before it makes it to the restaurant's bottom line.

Restaurants and hospitality-driven businesses in Acadiana have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and response. Stay-at-home orders have changed the way people are eating at restaurants. Every dollar matters right now and the way to drive the most of your money to the restaurant is to order direct.

I asked one Lafayette restaurant owner for an example of how the fees affect their revenue.

First of all, the app/company charges the customer an additional $5 just for the delivery. The company then charges the restaurant a 28% service fee. They also require restaurants to pay a 3% credit card transaction fee and an additional 0.25 cents per transaction. So on a $100 food bill, we're paying out $31.25.

Larger restaurants also have the ability to negotiate these rates down, but one location mom and pop restaurants don't have that ability. It is a common practice for restaurants to mark-up menu prices (in some cases 10%) on delivery apps to try and recoup some of that cost.

Restaurants have rolled out many new options from curbside, to takeout and even delivery. Yes, some restaurants have never delivered before and are now bringing orders straight to your front door. We have found that the quick trip to our favorite "curb" to pick up dinner has been a welcome mental health break. And trust me, every single dollar you spend is appreciated and I could almost guarantee a big smile when you pick up that meal.

Now, I want to be clear, these online apps/services do employ people locally and we appreciate that. There are people who should not be leaving their house and these delivery apps fulfill a tangible need. But when you follow every dollar, ordering from your favorite restaurant directly will go further in keeping doors open and people employed.

Click here to view our RUNNING LIST of Acadiana restaurants that are open for business and need your support to stay open. Eat Local. Shop Local.

And maybe this is a practice we keep after the COVID-19 crisis is behind us.

Rob Kirkpatrick

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