Deliveroo's new 'rescue team' will support struggling high street restaurants

Deliveroo courier bags. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/PA Images

Delivery giant Deliveroo will attempt to “rescue” failing high-street restaurants, it announced this week.

The company has launched a rescue team focusing on identifying restaurants at risk of closing — or that have already closed — to offer them a place in its delivery-only kitchens, called Editions.

This team will “use local knowledge and market insights to identify restaurants that they think will perform well in an area where an Editions site is based,” the company said.

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This makes it likely that said restaurants will move to an entirely new location.

The team will also help restaurants with branding, menu development, and pricing strategies. The company said that for a “limited period” — which it did not define — those who enter Editions though the “Restaurant Rescue Team” will receive support that is not available to others on the platform.

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The select restaurants will enjoy “preferential” commission rates, and Deliveroo will cover the costs of rent, equipment, maintenance, utilities, food safety setup, and audit costs.

Deliveroo has already had some success when it comes to helping struggling restaurants survive.

Modern Lebanese restaurant Waleema was forced to close before entering Deliveroo Editions in November 2017. It has now expanded to multiple locations, including Deliveroo's Whitechapel and Battersea Editions sites.

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The initiative comes as the restaurant industry faces a number of economic challenges in recent years, from rising business rates to increased food and labour costs.

In a highly competitive market, this means even the most popular restaurants and well-established brands are running into financial difficulties. In fact, analysis shows restaurant insolvency rose by a third to reach a record high in 2018.

Deliveroo said it will initially focus its efforts in London, before expanding to other areas of the UK.