By Press Association
The boss of Deliveroo has warned that restaurant brands are “hurting” due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will Shu, chief executive of the food delivery business, also warned that a long period of socially-distanced dining faces customers.
In an interview with the BBC, he stressed that the pandemic has had a significant impact on Deliveroo and its restaurant partners.
“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.”
In April, Deliveroo said it would axe more than 350 staff, around 15% of its workforce, after restaurants shut their doors in the face of the virus across the UK.
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 UK 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 €482m 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.