Mr D Food, UberEats, NetFlorist shift focus for COVID-19

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 09 Apr 2020

As non-essential delivery services see a sharp decline in demand after the implementation of lockdown regulators, delivery apps like Mr D Food, NetFlorist and UberEats have re-focused their operating models to respond to the requirements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Yesterday, Mr D Food announced a partnership with Checkers, to deliver prescriptions and medication to its MediRite pharmacy customers. The takeaway food delivery service, which has partnerships with restaurants across SA, will now deliver medication to vulnerable individuals and those not easily able to leave their homes throughout SA.

SA is currently on day 14 of the 21-day lockdown period, which aims to curb the spread of COVID-19 through restriction of travel, leisure and work, resulting in the closure of many businesses and all restaurants around the country.

Grocery chains, spaza shops, pharmacies, and those producing and selling essential goods remain open during lockdown.

As food delivery apps take a blow with takeaway deliveries being limited to only essential goods, Mr Delivery says this partnership shows food delivery apps can play an important role in supporting lockdown regulations.

“Our partnership with MediRite is just one example of how Mr D Food plans to support South Africans as they play their part in flattening the curve through social distancing,” says Mr D Food CEO Devin Sinclair.

To arrange the delivery of their medicine through the Mr D Food app, MediRite customers need to place an order and quote their MediRite order number.

Traditional supermarket delivery services have become overwhelmed in recent weeks as more people choose to order essential groceries via their mobile phones from their homes. Some customers have been forced to schedule orders several days in advance.

Online gifts delivery service NetFlorist has temporarily suspended the delivery of non-essential orders on its platform and has now introduced the delivery of essential food items such as fresh fruit, vegetables and groceries to consumers who choose to order from home. According to its Web site, the company will in future introduce an array of other food items, with hot meals also in the pipeline, for a delivery fee of R89.95.

This week, Uber Eats announced it had joined forces with essential goods providers to deliver these items through its mobile app.

Grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies and frozen meal options are now available for delivery throughout SA on its app, for a minimum delivery fee of R25.

Delivery items include fresh fruit juices, ready-made healthy meals, toiletries, household goods and vitamins, according to Uber Eats.

“Partnering with essential service providers across SA, to help deliver everyday items via Uber Eats, will allow people to stay at home and help flatten the curve of community spread,” says Ailyssa Pretorius, Uber Eats GM.

“Safety is essential to Uber and it’s at the heart of everything we do − all deliveries requested through Uber Eats are contactless, meaning users can have deliveries left on their doorstep. We remain in close contact with the local public health authorities and stand ready to provide additional support as required.”

For all orders less than R50, Uber Eats says a “small order fee” of R5 will be applied.

Standard operating hours will be from 9am to 5pm, subject to change.

The company noted only payments via card will be available and no cash will be accepted.

SA’s largest grocery online service, Pick n Pay Online, has partnered with alcohol delivery app, BOTTLES app, to meet the significant increase in online orders during lockdown.

Shoprite says it has extended its one-hour delivery time on its online shopping app Sixty60, while delivery app OneCart has seen a 300% spike in order volumes since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in SA.