More than 80 percent of restaurant operators said third-party delivery prevented them from having to lay off staff members or cut hours during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study from Uber Eats in partnership with food market research firm Technomic.
The survey polled more than 400 restaurants across the U.S. and in Canada for the month of June that use Uber Eats. More than 350 respondents said they partnered with third-party delivery service providers. The survey included a mix of limited-service and full-service restaurants and found that at the height of the coronavirus pandemic on March 15, 92 percent of restaurants reported using third-party delivery services, a 27 percent increase from before the crisis broke out.
What’s more, three out of four restaurant operators surveyed said they would have had to close their business if they did not have access to third-party delivery and noted the average check from third-party apps increased by 69 percent, from $34.10 prior to March 15 to $57.50 after March 15.
With restaurants forced to close dining rooms and resort to delivery or pick-up only for three months, third-party delivery from services like DoorDash, Grubhub, Seamless and Postmates enabled many restaurants to keep staff on their payroll during the crisis. Indeed, with more than 40 million Americans unemployed as a result of the pandemic, a staggering number of those jobs were from the hospitality sector.
More than 8 million restaurant workers were laid off or furloughed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, and on average, these restaurant owners cut 83 percent of their total staff while 41 percent laid off or furloughed their entire staff, according to the National Restaurant Association.
But while third-party delivery service may be vital to businesses in the age of the pandemic, the services take out a costly chunk of between 10 to up to 30 percent of each bill, making it hard for a small business to make a profit in some cases if sales are already slow.
To help restaurants keep as much revenue as they can, more U.S. cities -- including Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago -- have pledged to cap the commission fees third-party delivery services charge at between 5 and 15 percent.