Deliveroo to expand into 100 new UK towns and cities in 2021

FILE PHOTO: A Deliveroo driver goes past a bar as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Newcastle, Britain March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith

LONDON (Reuters) - Online delivery group Deliveroo plans to expand into around 100 new towns and cities across the UK in 2021 as it seeks to capitalise on its popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Tuesday.

Demand for home delivery of restaurant food and groceries has soared during the crisis with the hospitality industry largely closed.

Deliveroo’s expansion means around 4 million more people will be able to access its services for the first time in 2021, it said.

The delivery company also plans to expand its reach in around 150 of the areas it currently operates in, which, together with the new towns and cities it expects to enter, will bring the total number of people that could order from Deliveroo to almost two-thirds of the population of the United Kingdom.

Bankers say Deliveroo could look to list its shares this year to grab some of the billions of dollars of investor cash that fuelled a record-breaking run of tech IPOs in the United States last year.

Amazon owns 16% of Deliveroo’s equity.

In 2020 some 20,000 new restaurant partners joined the firm’s UK delivery platform, while its grocery platform grew with new partners including supermarket groups Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi and Waitrose.

Deliveroo created work for an additional 25,000 riders in the UK last year, taking the total to over 50,000.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky