One industry that is doing well during the pandemic is takeaway delivery services, allowing people to treat themselves to a meal from their favourite restaurant without having to leave the safety of their homes. The increased demand has seen some of the players offer new services and innovation, including in-restaurant payment options and home delivery of groceries.
The restaurant food delivery business is valued at more than £5 billion in the UK and growing fast. The average person in the UK is estimated to spend more than £110 per month on takeaway meals, making some 12 orders per month.
Restaurants can pay commissions as high as 30 percent to some of these delivery companies – but some are decreasing on partially lifting some of those costs now, so as not to push these restaurants – their bread and butter – over the edge.
Here are the UK’s top seven.
1. Just Eat
Takeaway delivery services in the UK are booming thanks to the coronavirus and Just Eat is one of the fastest growing.
Just Eat was founded in Denmark back in 2001 and operates what it says is a leading global hybrid marketplace for online food delivery, providing customers with an easy and secure way to order and pay for food from its many restaurant partners. The company now operates across the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Spain and Switzerland. The Group also has a stake in iFood in Brazil and in Mexico.
According to a snap poll conducted on March 18, 2020 by Statista, Just Eat was the most popular operator, with 52 percent of respondents saying they currently use or plan to use them. Just Eat saw orders grow by 33 percent year on year in April and May during the height of lockdown, while breakfast deliveries saw orders increasing by 50 per cent compared to the previous quarter, and lunch deliveries saw exceptional growth of 80 percent the company said via news release.
“Lockdown conditions have really made a difference to UK takeaway habits – our customers are thinking about health and holidays as well as taking comfort in little treats like a delicious dessert or takeaway lunch to brighten our days. We’re delighted that with the support of our valued restaurant network we’ve been able to help customers enjoy more of the food they love at home,” said Andrew Kenny, Just Eat UK Managing Director.
The online food order and delivery service has seen its revenues increase dramatically, from £33.8 million British pounds in 2011 to £779.5 million in 2018.
Stoke-on-Trent based Foodhub, one of Just Eat’s main competitors, saw its business increase by 30 percent during lockdown. The company, founded in 2017, has built its reputation on offering the lowest price as it doesn’t charge a commission to its restaurants, allowing them to offer a discount to their customers.
As a result, Foodhub is quite popular with restaurants, and it attracts many more than several other food delivery platforms. This has been the company’s main point of differentiation, and its highlighted on its site with the message: Get Exclusive Discounts!
The company says it doesn’t charge for delivery either, meaning that meals ordered can be significantly more affordable than the same meal ordered from the same restaurant through a competitor. In fact, consumers are believed to save an average of about 15 percent over other delivery companies.
But if the company doesn’t charge restaurants a commission and doesn’t charge for delivery, many might wonder how it makes any money at all. It does so by opting for a fixed rental model for each restaurant.
To help boost sales, particularly after the new rule that allows no more than six people in a group, Foodhub (no relation to the American GrubHub) is offering students a 20 percent discount.
Deliveroo is a 21st-century company with innovative ideas to get your favourite meal delivered to you when and where you want it. They provide a variety of cuisines to allow customers to choose whatever meal you want to have at any time of the day.
Up to June, Deliveroo revealed it had seen more than 7,000 new restaurants sign-up to the platform in the UK since restaurants were forced to close their dine-in service at the end of March.
Then the company introduced its Table Service, allowing customers to pay at the table inside the restaurant using their app reducing the risks of physically handling other payment methods.
There is currently no commission charge to restaurants that use the service, already beleaguered by plunging sales.
Then in July, Deliveroo announced that customers could now order from 400 Co-op stores serving towns and cities with a combined population of 27 million people across the UK. This move made Co-op the most widely available supermarket on the Deliveroo app with order volumes rising during lockdown.
As a result, more than 600 grocery and household items are now available to customers on the Deliveroo app, which are delivered by Deliveroo riders in as little as under 30 minutes.
4. Uber Eats
Uber Eats is a spinoff from US-based Uber, the app that allows customers to arrange and pay for a private car to take them to a destination. With Uber Eats, those drivers can now pick up and deliver restaurant food.
The service has been in high demand during the coronavirus epidemic, with customers unable or reluctant to go to a restaurant for a meal.
Now Uber Eats has developed one step further, and has created a contactless ordering feature that allows restaurant diners to pay the bill without having to use a wallet, credit card or a pen to sign. So far the service is only available in a few American cities including Atlanta, Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington DC.
5. One Delivery
One Delivery started by Craig Pollock in Leeds with just a few restaurants in 2013 and now has a presence in more than 90 areas across Britain and is close to delivering its one millionth order.
One Delivery works with small and big restaurants across the country, including big restaurant chains like KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King.
One Delivery operates a franchise model and is looking to expand abroad. The company says the average order value for One Delivery customers is £23 meaning there is a potential profit of between £8 and £9 per delivery for the franchise holder.
FEAST started off as a late-night food delivery service for London specialising in nearby restaurants – no more than two miles away from the customer – so that food would arrive quickly and piping hot. When the company started in 2015, operating hours for the London-based company were 11 pm to 5 am, perfect for customers looking for a meal after night out.
The company has built itself out on that premise, especially speed, and is now operating out of many other UK cities, with delivery costs starting at about £4.
“Do you believe that food delivery should be fast, affordable, and easy? So does FEAST. They make your favourite meal available to you from restaurants within your vicinity at affordable rates and in the fastest time possible,” the company says.
Their process is quite simple. Visit their website and provide your postcode; a list of restaurants within two miles from your location will be shown to you. You then select your desired restaurant, choose the food you want, and make your payment using PayPal or credit/debit card. Finally, enter your delivery details and wait for your food to be delivered to the provided address.
One of the largest players in the food delivery business in the UK, Domino’s only delivers its own restaurant’s food – mainly pizza.
Global brand Domino’s Pizza, operates in the UK under the master franchise Domino’s Pizza Group and is a major player on the pizza delivery market. It has a well-developed online ordering system and orders can also be made by phone.
Infact, even though its range of restaurants is limited to just one, Domino’s is one of the UK’s most popular online takeaway providers along with Just Eat.
One to watch – DoorDash
DoorDash is not in the UK yet, but it could be one to watch. It is a US company based in San Francisco, started by delivering takeout food to customers – but like many of its competitors is trying to widen its scope. The company has gone into grocery delivery, at least in some parts of the United States and it is conceivable that it will expand that service to the UK as well, if it isn’t too saturated already.
“We know that grocery shopping can feel like a chore, which is why grocery stores on DoorDash will be available on an on-demand basis — that means no scheduling required, no queues, no waiting. More than 10,000 grocery items, from dairy and eggs to local produce to fresh meat and fish, will be available for delivery from participating grocery stores in less than one hour” the company says.
The company has also launched a service that helps restaurants to build their own websites for online ordering. There is no cost associated with the new service, at least not until the end of the year.