Deliveroo London no-contact drop-off service

With official news in that Boris Johnson urges everyone to avoid social contact with others, the timing is right for Deliveroo to offer a no-contact drop-off service starting this week. Customers who wish not to make physical contact with drivers can add a note to their order to request it to be left on their doorstep. Drivers will also receive statutory sick pay for 14 days, should they be diagnosed with Covid-19. The new service gives us all a chance to support our local businesses and those who depend on the hospitality industry for their livelihoods.

Restaurants react…

Restaurants are going cashless, introducing non-contact delivery options, for example, Yard Sale Pizza, or closing their doors altogether. There are also changes in layout to space people further apart and help limit transmission, and restaurants offering ‘buy now, dine later’ vouchers – D&D Restaurants, Bleecker, Kricket, Hawksmoor. Not a restaurant, but also in the hospitality sector, Best Western hotel group is even considering turning their hotels into temporary hospitals.

…while the government doesn’t

Taking matters into their own hands is not something that should be asked of restaurateurs in these economically and morally difficult times. But that is exactly what the government is forcing restaurant businesses to do. Spitalfields noodle bar Noodle and Beer and family-run Chinese restaurant Silk Road are two of many that have decided to close shop for now – a far from easy decision. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has stopped short of a mandate, only issuing advice to ‘avoid’ restaurants, bars, and pubs, meaning the government isn’t responsible for covering businesses’ lost revenue. And neither will the £12 billion coronavirus relief package offer much relief, with the vast majority of (central) London restaurants not qualifying for it.

A regularly updated list of London restaurant closures and changes can be found at Eater.

Coronavirus may speed up the switch to online shopping

Before Coronavirus happened, experts predicted that less than 10% of the UK grocery market would be online by 2024. A decade ago this prediction was 40%. Discounters such as Lidl and Aldi, as well as convenience stores, have seen more growth at supermarkets than online shopping. Thanks to Covid-19 and people increasingly spending both their work and leisure time at home, this may be about to change.

Vegan restaurant meals have high levels of salt

And in non-Coronavirus related news, most vegan restaurant meals in the UK are found to have high levels of salt. According to non-profit organisation Action on Salt, 80% of tested meals would attract a red traffic light label and some contain more than the daily recommended intake. The survey analysed 290 curries, pizzas, and other dishes offered at 45 restaurant, fast food, takeaway, and coffee chains throughout the UK. Papa John’s and Bella Italia were one of the worst offenders, with 9.28g salt in a Papa John’s American hot medium pizza (more salt than in seven McDonald’s hamburgers) and 8.1g salt in a Bella Italia’s vegan cheese pizza.