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Apparently there are no takeaways any more... just 'delivery restaurants'

We talked to the head of Just Eat Ireland about being labelled ‘down-market’.

Image: Jasmine

THE FIGHT FOR delivering takeaway food for the nation’s stomachs just got a little bit ugly.

Fast-growing UK startup Deliveroo launched in Ireland on Monday with a jab at the competition, labelling traditional operators – like dominant player Just Eat – as simple marketplaces, which tended to lead to “down-market” offering.

Rather than relying on takeaways to deliver their own food, Deliveroo will employ its own drivers and open up the trade to restaurants which previously didn’t deliver.

But the head of Just Eat Ireland, which today had the official launch of its dedicated lunchtime service, said the company didn’t even use word “takeaway” – it now preferred the term “delivery restaurants”.

In an interview with TheJournal.ie, managing director Amanda Roche-Kelly said it was unfair to brand its food down-market because of the range of appetites it catered to.

We offer a range, we offer a choice and we offer what the consumer wants. If we don’t have it we try to go out and get it for them,” she said.

Here Roche-Kelly explains why Just Eat doesn’t deserve to be dismissed as nothing but cheap junk food:

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

‘We welcome competition’

She said the company wasn’t concerned about the fresh competition from Deliveroo and it still considered its main business rival to be people ordering direct from food outlets over the phone.

Their proposition is slightly different to us. As the market leader, we’re not worried – we welcome competition … everything we do is to drive people online and to drive orders to our restaurants.”

Deliveroo has initially rolled out with 40 restaurants in only a few parts of Dublin, while Just Eat has over 1,700 food outlets across the country on its books.

In November last year it swallowed up smaller rival Eat City, a move which led to criticism from some businesses because of the bigger take it was demanding.

Eat City was charging only a 5% commission, compared to 12% for Just Eat. Another new player, Marvin.ie – run by former Just Eat managing director James Galvin – is due to launch in May, promising a 7% commission.

But Roche-Kelly said Eat City was “doing nothing” for the money it was taking, compared to the new owner which spent “millions” on marketing and advertising.

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Just Eat took in over 2 million orders in Ireland last year, a 58% increase on 2013, which contributed to €190 million in annual global revenue.

This is how Roche-Kelly explained that buyout and justified charging restaurants more than double to use its service:

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Lunch time

Just Eat also recently expanded its options into lunchtime collections – although Roche-Kelly said that segment was only expected to make up about 2% of orders by the end of the year.

The company has signed 150 outlets including KC Peaches, Wagamama and Lolly & Cooks, in a change that came partially in response to peoples’ appetites shifting towards healthier options.

We will never move away from the traditional (takeaway) market, that is the base of Just Eat and it’s where we’ve grown from … at the end of the day, we have to offer as much as we can,” she said.

READ: Fianna Fáil wants a new tax… on sugar >

READ: Moveable feast – a round-up of Ireland’s food market heroes >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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