Delivery apps in Mexico make temporary cut to fees as restaurants struggle

FILE PHOTO: An Uber Eats worker, wearing a protective mask, checks his mobile phone, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Delivery apps Uber Eats and Rappi have temporarily reduced their fees for restaurants in Mexico, the companies said on Friday, under pressure from industry groups to lessen the burden for eateries hammered by tighter coronavirus restrictions.

Mexico’s populous capital and several states are in partial lockdowns as authorities grapple with a surge of coronavirus infections that have strained hospitals. Mexico ranks fourth worldwide for most confirmed deaths.

In Mexico City and elsewhere, eateries without outdoor seating have been restricted to take-out only, which restaurant association CANIRAC warned could be a death knell for businesses that depend on delivery apps.

“Keeping the same commissions that applied before the pandemic has become unsustainable for thousands of restaurants,” the group said in a statement this week, adding that the apps typically charge around 30% commission.

In areas with the strictest health measures, Rappi said it would cut its commission to 16.5% in February, while Uber Eats said it would reduce its to 17%. Both will charge 19% in March, and 22% in April.

Didi Food, another app that delivers restaurant meals, said earlier this week it would offer a reduced commission of 22%.

Since the coronavirus crisis began, 13,500 restaurants in Mexico City and the surrounding urban zone have closed, representing at least 80,000 job losses, according to CANIRAC.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Sharay Angulo, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien