March 13, 2020 / 4:48 PM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-GrubHub suspends $100 mln in restaurant commissions as virus spreads

(Adds details, CEO comments and background)

March 13 (Reuters) - Online food delivery company GrubHub Inc said on Friday it will temporarily suspend collecting commission fees of up to $100 million from independent U.S. restaurants hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The move will provide immediate cash relief to restaurants that make up the majority of Grubhub's over 350,000 partners and drive more than 80% of its orders, the company said.

"Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities. They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need," Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement.

Earlier this week, rival Postmates said it would waive off commission fees from small businesses in San Francisco due to decline in sales and traffic.

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

"We have seen revenue decrease in the past week as a direct result of our customers staying home," said Darnell Johnson, owner of Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles.

The flu-like disease caused by the coronavirus has killed 41 people and infected at least 1,832 people in the United States.

Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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