Masks, plexiglass, takeout containers and more: here’s how much money restaurants spend on COVID-safe dining

We add up the cost of takeout containers, delivery fees, PPE, and other necessities putting a financial strain on restaurants.

Credit: Kelly Sikkema

We add up the cost of takeout containers, delivery fees, PPE, and other necessities putting a financial strain on restaurants.

“This January, we’ll have been in the business for 14 years,” says Robbie Kane, owner of Café Medina. The always-busy spot originally opened in 2008, but COVID-19 saw it transition from brunch hub to online store in a matter of weeks. (It’s open for reservations now). “It was a huge, huge learning curve,” emphasizes Kane. “We went from serving 400 people a day to walking into an empty room and taking an order for three lemons, two potatoes and a side of hummus—it was a kick in the gut.” But while everyone knows it’s been tough, no one seems to be laying out the actual nuts and bolts of the extra costs restaurants took on to serve fewer people. So we sat down with Kane to take a look at his keeping-afloat-in-COVID price list.

The Cost of Takeout for Restaurants

Takeout Necessities

Approximately $3 for a party of two people ordering brunch.


Uber Eats is an extra 20 percent of the total bill (as per government mandate; it was 23 percent before). For an average order of $50, we are giving up $10.

Credit Card Fees

Fees have remained the same (average: 2.75 percent), but almost no one pays with cash anymore, so that cost has increased. If we’re using Shopify to sell in-house groceries, that’s 5 percent of sales. For Stripe, which we use to process Tock  (Tock also takes 10 percent of any sales over and above a monthly fee and independent of Stripe), that’s 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. (Credit cards are on top of that.) Paypal takes 10 percent for gift card orders.

Reservations and Takeout Services

Tock’s reservation service is $250 per month. Ritual’s takeout service is 13 percent of sales.


Mailchimp Hosting for our new newsletter costs $79 U.S. per month.

PPE and Safety

Masks are $50 per week. Gloves went from $12 per box of 100 to $22 very quickly (and we likely doubled our glove usage during this time). Hand sanitizer is $25 per litre. Acrylic shielding cost $10,000. Cleaning supplies and labour are… a lot.

Patio Construction

This is sadly a temporary patio in Medina’s case. Cost: $10,000, not including labour time.

All in all, Kane is grateful that Medina was able to keep its doors open. “I think, at the end of the day, what I’m most proud of is how the entire industry has come together to support each other,” he says—through the pandemic, Kane and his peers shared information about subsidies and how to overcome industry-specific challenges. “There have been lots of chats, group conversations and Zoom calls—the industry is really rising up and meeting the challenge together.”