Deliveroo is trying to bolster its credentials as a supporter of independent British restaurants by launching a direct tipping function on its app during a period when many local operators are fighting for survival.
It is understood that Deliveroo will this week unveil a two-month campaign – called Love Your Local – that will encourage millions of customers to order from neighbourhood restaurants.
The takeaway app will introduce a feature, already adopted in some overseas markets, allowing consumers to tip restaurants directly, providing a potential financial boost during the coronavirus pandemic.
The launch will follow criticism expressed by many restaurant owners that the size of delivery services’ commission fees have hampered their ability to withstand the COVID-19 crisis.
Figures to be published by Deliveroo this week will show that 4,000 independent restaurants have signed up to its app since the beginning of March, when outlets were limited to offering delivery and collection services.
The company said this figure accounted for more than half of the 7,000 restaurants that have joined Deliveroo since that time, with independent partners seeing a 50% rise in orders compared with the same period prior to lockdown.
Will Shu, Deliveroo’s chief executive, said the company wanted to “play a significant role in helping the growth of local independent restaurants during COVID-19”.
“Independent restaurants are at the heart of so many communities and they are at the heart of Deliveroo.”
The latest addition to Deliveroo’s service comes amid accelerating layoffs across the UK restaurant sector, with roughly 2,000 jobs lost last week at Casual Dining Group, the owner of Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, as it crashed into administration.
Deliveroo itself has been boosted during the pandemic by the Competition and Markets Authority’s preliminary decision last month to approve Amazon’s acquisition of a minority stake in the business.
A final ruling is expected later in the summer.