You’ve been told to close your restaurant. What now?

by | Jun 19, 2020 | Business Advice, COVID-19

Thames Williams has been closely documenting the on going economic changes due to the current Coronavirus outbreak for our clients.

On 20 March 2020, in a necessary move, the UK Government declared the closure of Restaurants, Bars and Clubs. Interestingly, this did not include takeaways.

Currently, planning permission is required for businesses to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway. The government announced on 17 March 2020 planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This opens up new opportunities not just for Pubs and Restaurants, but also for businesses such as Cafés and Catering Companies to now take advantage of two of the largest delivery platforms in the UK. Both have taken measures to help UK businesses during the disturbance caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses who have never looked at or avoided the option of home delivery will be forced to now start considering this as a viable option if they are to survive.

Just Eat

For the next 30-days (From 20 March 2020) until 19 April 2020, Just Eat are waving their standard signup fees for new businesses. However, you still have to meet Just Eats standard conditions such as being registered with your local authority as a food business and have the required hygiene certificate.

From a £10m+ emergency support package, Just Eat will rebate a third (33%) of commissions paid by restaurants. Furthermore, they will remove the commissions due from collection orders with the hope of reducing the strain on restaurants’ delivery operations, where collection is available.

Further to these measures, Just Eat will continue to pay restaurants weekly, including the rebate and relax any arrangements with independent partners that may be in place. This will enable businesses to work with other delivery providers, regardless of existing contractual terms.

Just Eat has 35,700 Restaurant Partners in the UK, delivering to 95% of UK postcodes.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats is waiving delivery and activations fees in the UK to support restaurants hit by decreasing demand during the Coronavirus crisis. This currently applies to over 15,000 independent restaurants registered on their platform.

On top of waiving the activation fee for new restaurants joining the platform, they are introducing fast-tracked onboarding to help them be available for delivery in less than 48 hours after signing up.

Finally, to help to create a more reliable and immediate source of cash flow, they’re rolling out a new payment option for restaurants. This new feature will allow restaurants of all sizes to opt into daily payments on all Uber Eats orders, rather than the typical weekly billing cycle provided by other platforms.

These measures will only be available until 31 March 2020, when their outcomes will be reviewed.


Unfortunately as of 20 March 2020, 23:00. Deliveroo has not released a statement nor have they replied back to our questions to aid UK businesses currently on or off their platform.


The promising near-immediate response from the likes of Just Eat and Uber Eats is a positive sign. As this could see the way Cafés, Catering Companies and Independent Restaurants generate alternate revenue streams outside of normal methods.

We can see the growth of a new market and the way we consume our food will further evolve.

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Just Eat

DISCLAIMER: This article is for guidance only, and professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. Thames Williams cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person as a result of action taken or refrained from in consequence of the content of this article.