- Neil Hall/Reuters
- As cities across the US have ordered mandatory shutdowns of bars and restaurants, food delivery services are responding.
- Many services are providing their drivers with recommendations for staying safe, but some are also offering financial relief.
- Services like Grubhub, which also owns Seamless, are deferring commission fees for independent restaurants, which means the restaurants are able to hold onto more profit – in the short term – as sales reportedly dip, according to the company.
- Grubhub, Uber Eats, Drizly, Postmates, and DoorDash are five delivery services that have announced plans hoping to keep delivery safe and profitable.
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As we learn more about the novel coronavirus and the applied definition of social distancing evolves, customers across the country are grappling with the decision to dine out and support local restaurants, or stock up on groceries and stay inside.
Ordering in remains a recommended way of supporting local businesses and restaurants, and there are certainly many delivery services to choose from.
“Grubhub’s No. 1 priority is and continues to be the health and safety of diners, drivers, and restaurant partners,” a representative of Grubhub said in an emailed statement to Insider. “We’re also working on ways to make it even easier for diners to access and leave special requests and instructions for drivers.”
From contact-free food delivery options to driver-eligible sick leave and the deferral of commission fees restaurants typically owe certain delivery companies, here’s how five delivery services are aiming to protect their drivers, customers, and partners in business.
The Grubhub group of delivery services includes both Grubhub and Seamless. The company announced on March 13 that it will be “deferring commission fees” that it usually generates from “qualified independent restaurants” partnered with the services for delivery.
The company announced these restaurants make up the majority of Grubhub’s restaurant community and drive more than 80% of orders.
In terms of keeping drivers safe, Grubhub is offering contact-free delivery as well as the option to order pickup for anyone who feels more comfortable getting the food themselves, according to the announcement. In a separate email from Seamless to customers, the company explained that customers can select the delivery option at checkout and instruct the driver to leave food at the door, in the lobby, or anywhere else the customer specifies.
Additionally, Grubhub and Seamless are using its Donate the Change program to help support drivers and restaurants affected by reactions and restrictions surrounding virus concerns.
Grubhub told Insider that it does not have a definition for what qualifies a restaurant as independent, but that this initiative “just excludes big chains.”
Uber Eats announced to its customers that it will be waiving delivery fees associated with ordering from independent restaurants. To help customers identify which restaurants qualify, the app is tagging them with an “Eat Local” banner.
Additionally, the company announced in a press release on March 16 that it will be giving restaurants of all sizes the option to receive daily payments from Uber Eats, rather than the usual weekly payment schedule.
The company is offering contactless deliveries, and it’s “working to provide delivery people with sanitization materials.” Uber Eats announced that it’s provided restaurant partners with CDC-issued guidelines that will ensure food is sealed in tamper-evident packaging.
Uber Eats announced in a message to customers that it will be providing financial assistance to delivery people and drivers who can’t work because they have been exposed to, or have tested positive for, the novel coronavirus.
The under-an-hour alcohol delivery service is taking precautions by encouraging outdoor deliveries, according to a statement on its website. With legal regulations around the delivery of alcohol, Drizly – as of March 16 – confirmed deliveries need to be made in-person to a residential or corporate address.
Drizly is working to limit customer and driver contact by implementing touch-free ID scanning and eliminating the need for customer signatures. While customers won’t have to sign on a driver’s electronic device, the company said some drivers may ask that customers bring their own pen and sign a paper receipt.
In a statement shared with Insider, the company announced its Postmates Fleet Relief Fund will provide financial assistance to employees with medical expenses related to COVID-19 regardless of their diagnosis. If a fleet member tests positive, they can receive two weeks of paid sick leave through the fund.
If a Postmates fleet member does test positive, the company will place their account on a temporary hold until they can confirm the virus has “passed through the incubation period” in efforts to prevent community spread.
Postmates is also offering a selection of non-contact delivery options for customers. The company also encourages customers to report if their Postmate appeared sick when delivering.
The delivery service is currently testing out a program in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Sacramento which waives commission fees for businesses that join the Postmates network.
Postmates outlines steps fleet members can take if they’re sick or wanting to prevent sickness.
DoorDash CEO Tony Xu told Business Insider on March 13 that it’s “stockpiled tens of thousands of gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer” and is offering them to delivery drivers for free – drivers do have to pay for shipping if they want the supplies, though.
The company, which also owns the Caviar delivery service, said it’s changed the default drop-off option to contactless delivery as of mid-March.
For DoorDash and Caviar drivers with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or a mandated quarantine, the company is offering up to two weeks’ pay.
DoorDash announced on March 17 that it will be rolling out a “priority access program” for any affected restaurant worker who wants to sign up as a Dasher while their work schedules are disrupted.
As of March 17, DoorDash began rolling out initiatives to support its restaurant network. The company originally offered 30 days of no commission fees for independent restaurants that join DoorDash or Caviar through the end of April – the offer has been extended through the end of May. For restaurants that are already part of the network, the company is waiving commission fees on all pick-up orders and reducing commissions for restaurants on its subscription service DashPass.
The company also announced that it’s giving Caviar restaurants the opportunity to take part in a $0 delivery fee program.
As of April 13, the company began reducing commission fees for local restaurants across the country by 50%.
- Read more:
- Ordering delivery is the safest way to get food during the coronavirus outbreak, and services like Instacart and Postmates are making it easier to avoid physical contact
- Uber drivers and other gig workers, in their own words, describe the reality of working through the coronavirus outbreak
- NYC, Los Angeles, and Washington state have announced a shutdown of bars and restaurants. Here are all the places taking drastic measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
- Seamless will stop taking commission fees from independent restaurants as the coronavirus pushes cities to ban dining out