Uber Eats waives delivery fee for independent restaurants as virus spreads

FILE PHOTO: An Uber Eats food delivery courier walks with a bicycle in central Kiev, Ukraine September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc's UBER.N food delivery business, Uber Eats, said on Monday it would waive delivery fee for independent restaurants across the United States and Canada.

Uber Eats is the latest aggregator to suspend commission from restaurants hit by the coronavirus outbreak, following in the footsteps of GrubHub Inc GRUB.N and Postmates Inc. TKWY.AS, Europe's largest online food ordering and delivery service, said on Monday it had seen a surge in restaurants signing up on its platform in the Netherlands in the wake of a government-ordered restaurant closure.

Restaurants need the financial relief. They face an expected drop in diners as states and cities postpone major events and crack down on dining establishments and other gathering places themselves.

GrubHub on Friday said it expected dine-in traffic in U.S. eateries to reduce by 75% over the next few weeks.

Some food chains including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc CMG.N and Fried chicken chain KFC, owned by Yum! Brands YUM.N, are offering free delivery to offset in-store declines.

Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi