Deliveroo boss warns to expect a 'long period' of socially-distanced dining

29 June 2020, 09:57

The boss of the delivery firm has warned some restaurants are suffering during the lockdown
The boss of the delivery firm has warned some restaurants are suffering during the lockdown. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Deliveroo's boss has warned some restaurant brands are "hurting" in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Will Shu, the chief executive of the delivery business has said Covid-19 has had a significant impact on Deliveroo and its restaurant partners.

He also warned that customers are facing a "long period" of socially-distanced dining.

"We've seen a lot of increased consumer engagement, but on the other hand, our restaurant partners are hurting," 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."

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The firm has cut more than 350 staff, which is around 15 per cent of its workforce when restaurants were forced to shut their doors as the coronavirus lockdown hit the industry.

Nevertheless, Mr Shu stressed that there is a new opportunity for companies like Deliveroo to support the sector.

He said: "Companies like Deliveroo need to better develop tools for restaurants to operate safely and profitably, with our Table Service platform being an example of what we want to do."

Deliveroo has announced a new feature, called Table Service, which will allow customers to pay for sit-down meals in restaurants through its app, to reduce contact within restaurants.

Earlier in June, Deliveroo joined chains including Pret a Manger and Wagamama in writing a letter to the Prime Minister urging increased support for the dining sector.

The letter to Boris Johnson, signed by 90 restaurants, called for major tax breaks and financial support until the social distancing rules have gone.

Although Deliveroo has recently expanded its customer base, Mr Shu said that the sector has "not been profitable" in recent years.

The company has agreed a £440 million investment deal with Amazon to bolster its finances, with the UK competition watchdog provisionally approving the deal despite initial concerns over its impact on the sector.