Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia, Deliveroo has introduced a raft of measures and initiatives to support its restaurant partners as they navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic.

In May, Deliveroo enabled customers to opt in to add a tip to their bill with the amount going directly to the restaurant and not subject to any commission, with Deliveroo matching the first 10,000 consumer tips. In July, Deliveroo launched the ‘Lockdown Giveback’ campaign in Melbourne and then Geelong to support Victorians through the lockdown with Deliveroo funding a 20% discount on all orders $30 and above made from Monday to Thursday across more than 5,000 restaurants.

Following the success of this campaign, Deliveroo has today introduced an ‘Early Week Deals’ campaign nationally for local independent restaurants. The same discount will apply (20% off on a $30 minimum order) on all orders placed with participating restaurants between Monday and Wednesday each week across 13 cities around the country.

Local ordering has boomed since the onset of the pandemic with 31% of consumers ordering more frequently from their local restaurants, according to recent consumer data. Further, 85% of Australians said it is ‘important’ to support their local restaurants, with 47% expressing that it is ‘very important’.

This is supported by Deliveroo data which has seen a significant shift in orders away from city centres as people work from home, coupled with a large increase in pickup orders and average order size as more families use online ordering and delivery.

The inaugural Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report released in August revealed that since the beginning of lockdowns, nearly three quarters (74%) of restaurants had adopted new revenue streams such as takeaway and delivery. Of these restaurants, 90% said they would maintain at least some of these revenue streams into the future with takeaway (57%) and food delivery via a platform such as Deliveroo (55%) the most popular.

Deliveroo Australia CEO, Ed McManus said it’s great to see consumers getting behind their favourite local restaurants to give them the extra boost they need to persevere through this pandemic.

“Restaurants are such an essential part of not only our economy, but our local communities. As Australians, we have a strong emotional connection to our favourite local haunts, they are part of who we are. I think customers want to make sure it stays this way and understand they play a role in making this happen,” he told Retailbiz.

However, the government also has a significant role to play in providing ongoing support to the hospitality industry with Deliveroo’s Index Report highlighting the importance of government assistance with two thirds (65%) of restaurant owners accessing JobKeeper and two thirds (66%) seeking rental relief from their landlords during lockdown.

“At Deliveroo, everything we do is in support of a thriving and dynamic hospitality industry. The Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report surveyed more than 500 restaurant owners across Australia to understand business confidence, the challenges they face, how they’ve responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, what government policy initiatives will help aid recovery and their plans for the future.

“Restaurant owners were also asked to rank the government policies they felt were most important in aiding their recovery. Tax relief was the overwhelming priority (79%), followed by payroll tax (49%) and penalty rates (43%), while more than a quarter (29%) are keen to see a relaxation of regulations for outdoor seating.”

Deliveroo continues to work closely with its restaurant partners to ensure they are operating as safely as possible with the release of a guidebook which outlines best practice operations under COVID 19 restrictions and is regularly updated. This includes reminders on food and personal hygiene displayed in kitchens, regular hand washing with alcohol-based hand sanitisers or soap, regular staff temperature checks and understanding of potential symptoms, hygiene measures around certain equipment including chopping boards and knives, providing hand sanitiser for customers and riders, as well as regular deep cleans, especially in the kitchen and dining areas.

The future of the hospitality industry

McManus said the pandemic has reshaped how many restaurants operate, and new ways of working, including takeaway and delivery, are here to stay.

“Food takeaway and delivery will play a more important role in the future, with almost three quarters of restaurants agreeing that delivery will be more important than ever. The hospitality industry has shown its resilience and customers aren’t going anywhere. The impact of COVID-19 has presented an opportunity to reshape what a restaurant can be, and we’re excited to play a role in this future by continuing to partner with the world’s best restaurants.”

He added: “Businesses across the country are changing the way they operate to ensure they not only survive this crisis but can thrive in the future. This pandemic has accelerated macro trends that were already in motion such as high-end dining at home and the increasing role of technology in the hospitality customer experience, and many businesses are planning to permanently adopt the new revenue streams introduced during the lockdowns.”

Owner of Boss Burgers in Geelong, Victoria, Jamie Kolovos said being able to offer delivery as a point of convenience has been vital to the survival of his business amid restrictions.

“Deliveroo initiatives such as contactless delivery ensures customers continue to feel safe ordering delivery. Our business also benefited from the ‘Lockdown Giveback’ campaign in August, having experienced a loss from walk-ins, it provided us with a sales boost early in the week when it is generally quieter, which meant we were able to claw back from these losses. I believe ecommerce delivery services will continue to grow as an essential part of the hospitality industry even beyond COVID and will be the way of the future,” he told Retailbiz.