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Restaurant tech, delivery providers offer relief to restaurants amid COVID-19 outbreak

Uber Eats to temporarily waive restaurant fees

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the restaurant industry is feeling the pain of closed dining rooms, reduced traffic and in many cases, transitioning to a business that is 100-percent off-premises. New programs and incentives from technology companies have been announced and are meant to support the foodservice ecosystem. Uber Eats, Waitr and Chowly joined a group of companies offering relief assistance to restaurants.

Delivery provider Uber Eats transitioned to daily payouts to help restaurant operators during the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the company said it would waive fees delivery fees for all independent restaurants and drive increased demand for delivery through fee-free orders and its marketing initiatives. Waitr, another on-demand third-party delivery provider, said it would work with restaurants to help offer free delivery and promote such programs.

According to data from Black Box Intelligence, 70 percent of restaurants experienced a decline in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. In upscale casual dining and fine dining, the percentage is higher: 85 percent. Comparable restaurant traffic had declined 3.7 percent at full-service restaurants, but only 3.1 percent at quick-service restaurants.

There’s a real need for restaurants to be able to transition to off-premises business or have contingency plans for severe drops in sales. Waitr announced it will work with restaurants to offer free delivery and promote it. In addition, the third-party delivery provider will continue to pay employees that contract COVID-19 and those employees who are quarantined.

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Chowly, a technology company that integrates third-party online ordering with a restaurant’s point-of-sale system, has waived set-up fees and announced it would provide a 60-day, no-risk trial period to restaurants that sign up for a limited time. The move allows restaurants to onboard rapidly without the concerns of additional technology costs during the crisis.

“Now more than ever, off-premise methods are critical for restaurants’ revenue streams,” said Sterling Douglass, co-founder and chief executive of Chowly. “By helping restaurants add these alternatives to dine-in without any upfront costs, we are enabling them to continue to serve customers during these uncertain times and beyond.”

Photo credit: Charles Deluvio, Uber Eats

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