- Google Maps launched a new app feature that shows which restaurants are offering takeout and delivery, according to CNBC.
- If a user wants to place an order at a particular restaurant, the app directs them to the brand’s website. This allows the restaurant to receive the order without having to pay a fee from a third-party delivery service.
- The effort is aimed at helping restaurants that may struggle to generate enough business to stay afloat during the novel coronavirus.
Restaurants are taking a brutal hit during COVID-19 as shelter-in-place orders require them to close their dining rooms. Delivery and takeout has become the only way that many brands can continue to generate business. But if a brand does not traditionally rely on delivery and takeout to generate customers, the transition is likely a rough one. Some consumers may be more inclined to think of restaurant formats that were already associated heavily with delivery and takeout, like major QSRs or fast casuals.
Google Maps’ new feature will help even the playing field for brands that do not already have a robust delivery and takeout platform while increasing awareness among consumers. Some people may be using this opportunity to explore new restaurants that they have not tried, for example. Media reports about how badly hit restaurants have been during this pandemic have led some consumers to purchase gift cards to help generate steady income for restaurants.
Perhaps the biggest assistance that the new feature offers, however, is channeling traffic directly to a brand’s website. With restaurants predicted to lose $225 billion as a result of the crisis, cutting any costs is a matter of survival for some brands. Third-party delivery services, which charge a commission on each order their drivers deliver, are continuing to operate during this crisis and have seen an uptick in orders as consumers stay at home.
Third-party delivery services are starting to step up to assist the suffering restaurant industry, however. Uber Eats recently waived delivery fees for more than 100,000 independent restaurants throughout North America. It’s also allowing the restaurants to opt for daily payment instead of a weekly billing cycle.
Grubhub previously announced that it would waive fees for qualified independent restaurants, but received criticism over the fact that it was not eliminating fees, only suspending collection of fees for restaurants agree to a one-year agreement. Last week, it said it is spending $30 million to support 100,000 restaurant partners and regional chain franchises, with the anticipation that the funding will help generate $100 million in restaurant sales, according to an email sent to Restaurant Dive. Each restaurant will receive $250 from the company to allow the partner to give $10 off any order of $30 or more. The funding will run through April.
DoorDash is waiving commission fees for 30 days for new independent restaurants that sign up for the platform through the end of April but existing restaurant users will pay no commission fees on pickup orders. Postmates is offering an emergency waiver on fees charged to new restaurant users.