BERLIN, April 2 (Reuters) - Delivery Hero DHER.DE, one of the world's top online food delivery marketplaces, announced measures on Thursday to support restaurants that are trying to survive coronavirus lockdowns by ramping up deliveries to consumers stuck at home.
Delivery Hero said it was speeding up the onboarding process for new partner restaurants, increasing the frequency of payments to its partners to improve their cashflow and offering free delivery for customers close to restaurants.
Berlin-based Delivery Hero runs platforms for food delivery in 44 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, working with over 500,000 restaurants.
"Many of these restaurants might have liquidity for one, two or three weeks of sales so they could go bankrupt very quickly," Delivery Hero Niklas Ostberg told Reuters. "There will be partners who don't make it through."
Restaurants and cafes have been closed in many countries as governments have sought to contain the coronavirus, prompting many businesses to switch to home deliveries, with some offering takeaways directly to local customers, without using an app.
Delivery Hero said it had added 50,000 new restaurants to its platform in the last three weeks, as well as 1,500 grocery stores and pharmacies as it speeds up a drive to expand into delivery of other essential products as well as meals.
Uber Eats UBER.N said on Wednesday it is teaming up with French supermarket group Carrefour CARR.PA for a new delivery service aimed at helping Parisians buy essential goods and food, and also has similar plans in Spain and Brazil.
Delivery Hero, which takes a commission on each meal ordered, said it was temporarily offering free delivery to most customers when ordering from restaurants close by and said it was focusing its marketing on supporting local restaurants.
U.S. rival GrubHub Inc said last month it will temporarily suspend collecting commission fees of up to $100 million from independent U.S. restaurants hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Delivery Hero has not found it difficult to attract enough delivery drivers in the crisis and has introduced no-contact delivery to make the process safer, Ostberg said.
"In general people are willing to work and they feel safe. We have new riders who want to be useful," he said.
While some customers were ordering less because working from home allowed them more time to cook, he said the business was also attracting new customers, particularly in countries where people are wary about going out.
In Turkey, it is trialling a service where older customers who prefer not to use an app can call in their order by phone.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Richard Pullin)
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