Deliveroo claims that it has been supporting the sector through the crisis have been dismissed by industry insiders as restaurants across the country gear up for reopening.
Will Shu, chief executive of the food delivery business, today called on companies to do more to help restaurant brands which are “hurting” due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “Even if restrictions are lifted soon, there’s going to be a long period of socially-distanced dining and an increased demand for delivery and collection”, adding that Covid-19 has sped up adoption towards online and apps by “one to three years”.
But his comments appear to have left a sour taste in the mouths of many within the food industry.
Jay Patel, who runs Legare in London Bridge, told The London Economic that the general feeling towards the app is “fairly universal” amongst his peers.
“Essentially during a time when they could really help business stay afloat during the three month lockdown by assisting in the transition to a takeaway/ click and collect model, they chose to keep fees at 30 per cent or in some cases increase fees to 35 per cent based on catchment.
“It just comes across as profiteering off the back of a crisis”.
Supporting independent business
The platform’s unwillingness to reduce its fees has led to several competing apps launching with the aim of supporting independent business.
The Great Feast of London and Big Night have popped up to cater for smaller outlets which are more likely to be dented by Deliveroo’s fee structure which “absolutely decimates margins”, Patel said.
What’s more, Shu’s appeal for companies to better develop tools for restaurants has been criticised for simply promoting their own new Table Service platform, which will allow customers to pay for sit-down meals in restaurants through its app.
Supporting restaurant partners
Responding to the allegations, a Deliveroo spokesperson said:
“Deliveroo is committed to providing new ways to support our restaurant partners during the COVID-19 crisis.
“This is our absolute priority and we have a positive track record of responding to the needs of our restaurant partners during this challenging time.”
They said the new Table Service feature will be available to restaurants, pubs and cafes at a zero per cent commission fee, yet questions will still be raised over whether it can do more – particularly in regards to the bottom line.
As restaurants prepare to navigate a fragile economic environment they will need more than just token gestures to survive.