6 steps to safe, sustainable service during COVID-19   

The new social distancing and self-isolation measures announced by the Government (announced 23 March) spell out the measures necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to save lives.   

The Government guidelines specifically state: Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational. Operators already providing a takeaway and/or delivery service are free to continue. Any operator can offer this service provided they do so within the guidelines: 

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and between customers and staff 
  • Only admit people in small groups to prevent crowding 
  • People must not consume food or drink on site or whilst waiting for takeaway food 
  • A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence. 
  • Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fine 

 If you have made the decision to continue running a delivery service or are doing so for the first time we’ve read and reviewed advice from the main providers to help you run a service that you, your staff and customers should feel comfortable with. 

 Consider health and safety, both food safety and the physical and mental health of you and your staff. Check the latest government advice and keep an eye on thesra.org/coronavirus for up to date information. 




  1. Register your business

 Planning regulations have been changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. Do contact your local authority to register. 


  • We’ve negotiated a deal with UberEats for members, which includes free activation (usually £500) and no commission for first month (usually 30%).  Find out more here 
  • Just Eat has also waived its sign-up fee and reduced commission charges.   
  • Deliveroo has reduced its on-boarding fees to £298. Its commission charge is 35% 
  • Or follow the lead of several of your fellow members and go it alone  


Staffing and costing delivery only service  

A delivery only model requires only two-three experienced staff, but they will need to be flexible. 

Citing the experience of a major national chain, Deliveroo says labour costs that would by a third of net sales in a standard restaurant are reduced to about a fifth in delivery-only. 

 Further suggestions for reducing costs and increasing profitability include reducing opening hours to peak only and adapting the menu to focus on straightforward dishes 

 For additional recommendations on how to adapt opening hours, menus and communications, check out this guide from Deliveroo. 


  1. Safety - in the kitchen

As well as the usual food safety, like requiring staff to wash their hands every 15 minutes, Deliveroo offers full advice here. Here is a summary: 

  • Limit access to the kitchen and other areas, especially smaller spaces 
  • Staff should still practice social distancing, 2 metres apart.  
  • Limit the number of riders waiting and clearly mark where they can wait 


  1. Contact-free delivery


  • Have a runner to take food from kitchen to driver drop-off station 
  • Communicate with your delivery drivers, use signage outside your business with clear instructions 
  • Clearly mark where delivery drivers should wait, space them out and limit the numbers 
  • Create a table to place food on, for contactless hand off, that separates driver and staff 


  • Delivery couriers should ring the doorbell, place the food outside the customer’s door and step back and then wait for the customer to come to the door. 
  • Ensure payments are now by card to ensure contact-free delivery. If customers insist on cash then ask them to use an envelope. 


  1. Refine your menu

 Once you’ve got all health and safety measures in place it’s time to think about the product.  

 Make delivery good for your business and your customers. 

  •  To simplify operations, increase profitability and reduce waste create a short menu. The main delivery platforms report that more than four out of five orders are concentrated on less than half the menu. 
  • Shorten your opening hours to meet demand. 
  • If at first you’re finding it hard to predict demand and over cook, then freeze and offer customers re-heatable meals too. 


  1. Support your staff

 Some of your staff may not want to continue working at this time, for a number of reasons. Listen to their concerns. Employers like LEON are giving their teams the option. 

 We are keeping an up-to-date list of mental health resources on our website 


  1. Let your customers know

Use social media, your window front, your mailing lists to let people know you are still delivering and how they can support your business. 

  •  Deliveroo has launched the campaign #HereToDeliver 
  • Share your safety policy with them 
  • Keep them informed and encourage them to support you through this time 



Keep up-to-date on our COVID-19 advice page

Sign up to WhatsApp for more solutions and ideas 

Visit the community to ask a question or call us on 020 3903 2777 

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