Deliveroo launches a 'contactless' delivery service for those ordering during the coronavirus outbreak

Deliveroo riders on the coronavirus frontlines (Photo by Matthew Horwood, Getty Images)
  • Deliveroo will allow customers and riders to opt for ‘contactless’ delivery as of Monday.
  • The option will see food left on doorsteps with customers notified that their food has arrived.
  • Riders will then need to stand “at least one metre” away while the food is collected for the order to be completed.
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Australian delivery services are going out of sight, out of mind – well, sort of.

To counter the spread of coronavirus – not to mention capitalise on burgeoning demand – food delivery service Deliveroo announced on Monday it will minimise contact between customers and delivery drivers with a new option in its app.

“The safety of our riders and customers is our top priority. That is why we are launching a new, contact-free delivery service [where] customers and riders can request in the app that food is left safely on the doorstep,” a spokesperson said in a release on Monday. “We remain in daily contact with local health officials to make sure we are offering the safest service possible to customers, riders and restaurants.”

From Monday, customers will be able to choose the contact-free delivery option at checkout, and riders able to opt for it once an order is made. Riders will then be instructed to place the deliver open on the doorstep, notify the customer they have arrived before stepping back “at least one metre”. Customers will then need to collect the food with their Deliveroo rider still present for the order to be complete.

Customers will be able to instruct riders where to leave their orders. (Supplied)

While there’s sure to be some demand for the feature, it does seem at least a little gimmicky. For one, having a rider wait an awkward distance away to witness you emerge from self-isolation will likely only make the transaction seem a whole lot stranger. For another, the latest health advice is pretty clear that to risk transmission of coronavirus, 15 minutes of close contact is required with a confirmed case.

Given a typical transaction is unlikely to take more than 15 seconds, the move will likely do more for consumer confidence than for anyone’s actual health and safety.

But, with delivery services some of the few businesses that might actually do well out of this whole coronavirus affair, it’s not a bad PR stunt. To do so however they’ll have to keep enough riders on the road to fulfil demand.

With employees increasingly working from home, and self-isolation likely to become the unfortunate trend of 2020, consumers are only going to rely more on delivery. Given those often casual workers and now responsible for feeding and supplying those fortunate enough to work from home, the least we could do is acknowledge their hard work.

Even if it’s from a ‘safe’ distance.

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