Landlords across Australia are being urged to offer rent abatements to restaurants, cafés and catering companies to help them stay open, while Uber Eats has caved under public pressure and announced a raft of relief measures to ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hospitality.
Restaurant & Catering Industry Association of Australia (R&CA) has issued a call to landlords to ensure restaurants, cafés and the catering industry are kept open as travel bans, lack of consumer confidence and economic uncertainty take their toll on the industry.
Welcoming stimulus measures aimed to soften the blow felt by small businesses, R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said more needed to be done to help keep restaurants’, cafés’ and caterers’ doors open.
One clear problem being faced by business owners across the country is rent bills, Mr Lambert explained, adding that while bills need to be paid, trade has dropped by as much as 80–90 per cent.
“That is why R&CA is today asking members to write to their landlords asking for rent abatements to assist them in keeping their businesses running,” Mr Lambert said.
“We are calling on landlords, wherever possible, to partner with our industry to keep businesses making coffees, cooking meals and providing the world-class hospitality they can by providing rent abatements to get businesses through these uncertain times.
“A closed business is a closed business, and this is the worst-case scenario for everyone across the hospitality sector.”
Uber responds to public pressure
Doing its part to help the industry stay open, Uber Eats announced on Wednesday it is making $5 million in funding available for independent restaurants across Australia and New Zealand, allowing them to deploy promotions to attract customers.
Uber Eats will also allow restaurants to receive daily payments rather than once a week during the pandemic, and will scrap service fees on pick-up orders until 30 June.
“With less people dining out and many events cancelled, we can help generate new revenue streams for impacted businesses by unlocking new opportunities. To that end, during this time, we will be waiving activation fees to help new restaurants wanting to quickly join the platform,” Uber Eats said.
Additionally, the delivery giant will expand the platform’s capabilities to include caterers, who have also been hit hard as people continue to follow health advice and self-isolate or adopt social distancing.
In welcoming this announcement, Mr Lambert said Uber’s measures will allow small businesses “to quickly pivot to still be able to serve great food, keep their doors open and keep staff working throughout these difficult times”.
Uber’s announcement follows the launch of an online petition by food writer Dani Valent, calling on all delivery platforms to cut their fees.
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business.
Maja has an extensive career as a journalist across finance, business and market intelligence. Prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja spent several years unravelling social, political and economic intricacies in Eastern Europe.
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