Restrictions on movement due to Covid-19 has driven more consumers online as food delivery services take additional safety and hygiene measures.
For those who want to maintain social distancing by staying home, Uber Eats is one of the ways to get their food delivered safely in Nairobi.
One of the initiatives the company has invested in is a Covid-19 prevention and awareness course for drivers conducted in partnership with Zydii, an online educational platform.
Although the delivery people are not employees of Uber Eats, they receive in-app messages with advice on helping to prevent spread of the virus.
In addition to an in-app safety checklist, riders and drivers wear masks and gloves, there is no-contact delivery and money used to buy sanitisers is reimbursed. Drivers and couriers must send a selfie photo to verify their face coverings before logging onto the platform.
“We work with manufacturers to provide drivers, carriers and delivery people with disinfectants and cloth masks,” said Uber Eats general manager Nadeem Anjarwalla.
If a delivery person is unwell, Uber Eats recommends they stay at home, and should anyone test positive for Covid-19, they are temporarily removed from accessing the platform. There is some support to incapacitated persons. Anjarwalla explained, “We provide up to 14 days of financial assistance to drivers and delivery people diagnosed with Covid-19 or order them to self-quarantine as recommended by a doctor.”
Over 600 restaurants have registered on the Kenya platform, and 5,400 motorcycle riders signed up to the app. Head of communications for East Africa Lorraine Onduru says, “It is a flexible way of working as people can track their earnings and choose their working hours.”
There are several other food and groceries delivery providers. Food delivery company Yum has been operating in the country since 2012 and recently launched in Uganda. Jumia, the online retail platform from Nigeria with a presence in 11 African countries, also set up food delivery service in Kenya in 2013 and operates in several towns.
The economic impact of Covid-19 has been especially hard on low income people and their ability to access food.
“Recently we launched an initiative providing 1,000 meal kits to needy families,” Anjarwalla said of their partnership with Unesco and Team Pankaj, a community food distribution drive.
Customers placing food orders can opt buy an extra meal as a donation.
Anjarwalla notes a rise in virtual restaurants and eateries. Mambo Italia, a well-established Italian restaurant, has a different menu selection for online ordering and promoted under the storefront name ‘Ciao Mambo’.
Anpa Restaurant that specialises in Kenyan meals, sells breakfast items on Uber Eats. Mama Ntilie, which also serves local Kenyan dishes, does not have a physical location.
A distinct offering from Uber Eats is the Share-a-Delivery where a customer can order food for delivery to somebody else. “People were not able to spend as much time with their loved ones as they would wish to, so Share-a-Delivery came at a good time,” Ms Onduru explains.
Share-a-Delivery recipients “can track status of the item, what you ordered for them and how long it will take.”