With upward of 191 million Americans under government orders to stay home as much as possible to stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Subway and McDonald's (MCD -0.21%) have both announced that they'll be temporarily offering free delivery. McDonald's promotion starts today and continues through April 6; Subway is only saying its offer will be available for a "limited time" -- its customers must use the promo code "SUBWAYNOW" when ordering.
Subway is offering free delivery via multiple services, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB), Uber Eats, Seamless, Postmates, and DoorDash. Some of those providers may also offer contactless delivery; Subway said it urges customers interested in that to communicate their request directly to the delivery service.
In a Facebook post, McDonald's said its $0 delivery fee would apply to any McDonald's order of $15 or more that uses Uber Eats or DoorDash.
The chains are apparently aiming to catch up with a number of their quick-service peers, among them Taco Bell (NYSE: YUM), Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO), and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), all of which have already rolled out similar delivery deals to meet the needs of customers during this period of social distancing.
Still, McDonald's promotion is set to have a considerably shorter duration than some other brands' offers. KFC, for example, will deliver free via Grubhub through April 26. Shouldering the cost of delivery naturally cuts into the profit margins of the restaurant companies themselves, which is why they are limiting their offers. While Grubhub recently announced it's suspending $100 million in commissions to help clients navigate the coronavirus downturn, most of these benefits are aimed at small, independent restaurants rather than the major chains.