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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 10, 2020
While many businesses are struggling to keep the doors open with the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery businesses are seeing high demand for their service.
Food delivery services including CB Eats, a locally-owned Cape Breton company, as well as Skip the Dishes, a national chain, have seen their business increase since mid-March in Cape Breton.
“Many restaurants were completely reliant on takeout and delivery and a lot of those restaurants were ones we worked with prior to COVID-19,” said Matt Stewart, co-owner and CEO of Click2Order, which owns CB Eats.
“When it became (obvious) that (the pandemic) was happening, we cut our fees in half until dining rooms could reopen and our delivery fees were cut 10 per cent as well just to make it a little more affordable with the unknowns around income.”
Stewart, who is originally from the Truro area and has called Cape Breton home since 2006 with his wife and three children, said business has been busier than normal.
“The slower time of year for us tends to be closer to summer, but we haven’t really seen that slow down a whole lot,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate in one circumstance because COVID-19 has hurt a lot of businesses and people have been affected by it, and on the other hand it’s been beneficial to our company, so it’s a battle of perception I suppose.”
CB Eats service gives restaurants its own branding online ordering system, allowing those businesses to reach their customers if they can’t visit the physical location.
Customers can order food online through the company’s website at cbeats.ca or by downloading the CB Eats app on their phone.
Stewart told the Cape Breton Post, the company, which also serves communities in Port Hawkesbury, Antigonish, Truro, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, currently has 20-25 drivers providing the delivery service in the Cape Breton area.
Earlier this month, CB Eats expanded to Glace Bay. The company serves three restaurants in that community including McDonald’s, Subway and TALO Cafebar.
“We’ve seen a good steady increase, we’ve spoken with about a half-a-dozen other restaurants who have shown interest in coming on board,” said Stewart of the Glace Bay service.
“Our goal there is to see another six to 10 restaurants join on over the next couple of months.”
Along with the expansion to Glace Bay, the company will also be expanding to the Northside communities in the coming weeks. No date was confirmed for the official launch.
“Expansions were held off a little bit,” said Stewart, noting the original plan was to launch services in Glace Bay and the Northside in mid-April.
“A lot of restaurants started to temporarily close down and reduce hours, understandably so … we held off a little bit.”
Stewart confirmed restaurants on the Northside are ready to go, however, it’s a matter of making sure the company has a sufficient number of drivers to handle the capacity.
Meanwhile, Skip the Dishes is reporting a 250 per cent increase in orders in the Sydney area since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With no added or hidden service fees, Skip makes delivery an accessible tool for social distancing Canadians from coast-to-coast,” said Shanae Blaquiere, spokesperson for Skip the Dishes, in an email.
“We have given over $24 million back to our restaurant partners and community through commission of rebates and order-driving initiatives across the country.”
Skip the Dishes said the three most-ordered items during the pandemic in the Sydney area were pretzel bites, Big Mac extra value meals from McDonald’s as well as popcorn.
Meanwhile, the most popular local restaurants in the Sydney area since March were Alexandra’s Pizza on Charlotte Street and Tasty Treat on Grand Lake Road.
To order through Skip the Dishes, visit their website at www.skipthedishes.com or download the phone app.