Deliveroo and the chief executives of its leading restaurant partners, including Itsu, Pizza Hut, Pret A Manger and Wagamama, have called on the government to provide urgent support to the restaurant industry.
The food delivery firm and 90 of its partners, representing more than 1,000 restaurants across the UK, have written a letter to Boris Johnson outlining a range of measures they say are needed to weather an extended period of reduced capacity including VAT on restaurant food and maintaining the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for restaurants while social distancing measures are in place.
Deliveroo said research it had carried out found 75% of its partners were concerned about making a profit while necessary social distancing requirements remain in place.
Unless additional government support is provided, the signatories warn the “shuttered restaurants in towns and cities across the country will be a permanent reminder of the damage this pandemic has done”.
“We are proud to be part of the UK’s restaurant sector, which delivers so much to the UK economy and local communities and is one of the most diverse and vibrant in the world,” said Will Shu, the founder and chief executive of Deliveroo. “That is why we are urging the government to implement this package of measures to ensure that the UK’s amazing restaurant industry survives and then thrives.”
The signatories state the crisis for the UK restaurant industry is far from over, with thousands of restaurants facing bankruptcy due to ongoing challenges posed by covid-19.
In a detailed submission to the government, Deliveroo stated based on extensive consultation with partners large and small, it has formulated a series of key policy proposals, which would help the industry through this challenging period, adapt to the new economic environment and thrive in the future.
As well as maintaining the CJRS and cutting VAT, the letter called for action on rent. Deliveroo has proposed a number of solutions, including “mortgage holidays” for landlords to give financial breathing space to restaurants in the form of lower rents, and an extension of the moratorium on evictions for as long as social distancing measures prevent restaurants from operating at full capacity.
Other areas for proposed action include helping restaurants meet the cost of becoming covid-secure, a government-led campaign making clear restaurant food is safe and changes to planning law to enable restaurants to adapt operations more easily.