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Fancy a takeaway? There's a new player in town (and they're bringing loyalty cards)

And they mean business. Marvin.ie are looking to give Just Eat a serious run for their money in a sector that is getting bigger and bigger…

Image: Shutterstock/Joe Gough

THE INTERNET HAS given us many wonderful things in recent times, not all of them practical.

Aggregation of services is very, very useful however.  Hailo, the taxi app, is a marquee example, having made the tedious job of flagging a cab as easy as pushing a button.

Just Eat have, until now, been the Hailo of takeaway aggregators – the only show in town here, providing a centralised menu system for 1,600 restaurants and takeaways in Ireland, along with the ability to pre-pay and track your order in real time.

That is about to change.  Marvin.ie is launching this coming May and they’re pitching themselves as direct rivals to Just Eat.  What’s more, they’re convinced they can do it better.

Marvin

“It’s all about competition,” Marvin’s managing director James Galvin tells TheJournal.ie.

Right now Just Eat don’t have any whatsoever and that’s not good for anyone, not for the consumer, not for the restaurants, and probably not even for Just Eat. It’s why we’re launching in Ireland, the market here needs us.

Almost unnoticed the online takeaway sector has become huge business. One restaurant owner told us his online orders have gone from a lower than 10% a couple of years ago to almost 40% now. Which is nothing compared to Domino’s Pizza in the UK – online now accounts for fully 70% of their orders and counting.

In November 2014 Just Eat took over its then only rival Eatcity.ie. Overnight the restaurants who had been partnered with Eatcity found the commission they were being charged upped from 5% to 12%.

One restaurant owner (who wishes to remain nameless for obvious reasons) told TheJournal.ie that he was ‘very unimpressed’ at the situation.

Tweet by @Marvin.ie Source: Marvin.ie/Twitter

 

“It’s why we’ll be joining Marvin – the low commission (Marvin will be charging 7% to partner restaurants) is the real kicker,” he said.

So does operating through an aggregator mean better deals for customers?

Of course. It transfers into lower prices, or at the very least it means we can keep prices as they are, especially so when we’re paying lower commission.
Ideally, we’d like to be operating off only our own website (participating restaurants are under no obligation to operate through an aggregator), and that may happen, but for the moment you have to recognise that the likes of Just Eat, and now Marvin, are a brand, and the consequent business that means they can bring to the table.”

One only has to look at the scale of Just Eat’s results released this week to recognise the veracity of that statement.

Galvin is sure his company can do it better. So what will make them stand out for the paying customer? Loyalty cards for starters.

“We have a loyalty reward system, so for every 10 takeaways you get a free one, it’s just one of many ways the restaurant and consumers get a better deal,” he says.

Galvin certainly has the experience, having been managing director of Just Eat itself for two years between 2008 and 2011.

Yeah, we launched the franchise here, having done so in the UK the year before. It was naturally a bit smaller then than it is now.
There is such a market opportunity here, Just Eat’s restaurants aren’t one bit happy with the 12% commission they’re being forced to pay.
There’s been a huge void in the market since Eatcity got bought over, and it’s not making anybody happy. The level of interest we’re seeing from restaurants has surprised even me, they’re clambering over themselves to switch. You’re talking a new one every hour.

james-profile Marvin.ie's James Galvin

Galvin is pretty cagey when it comes to naming what restaurants he’ll be running with on D-Day (Monday, 11th May is the scheduled launch date).

Having heard a few names however you can trust us, there’s some big hitters in there.

“We should be kicking off with upwards of 200 or 250 partners. Most will be in the Dublin area to begin with, common sense for any starting company as that’s where the population is, but we’ll be expanding nationally as we go,” he says.

I don’t want to get into a slagging match with Just Eat, it’s not about that it’s about competition. They are far from untouchable though, it’s why I’m back in the industry, the opportunity is there.
I can say with absolute certainty that we have the better system. (Marvin will be using Delivery Hero’s [yep, their real name] online technology.)

Delivery Hero are currently Just Eat’s biggest competitor worldwide, operating in 24 countries to Just Eat’s 13.

So what happens next in the takeaway wars?

“What they do next is up to them. My gut feeling is they won’t be as nimble as we will be, long term we want to be the better option which we already are,” says Galvin.

We have a seven-figure investment (one investor is original Just Eat founder Jesper Buch) which should show anyone how serious we are.
Make no mistake, we are here to compete, and we mean business.

Exciting times ahead for all our bellies.

donuts

Read: Was your favourite takeaway shut down over food safety breaches last month?

Read: 10 reasons why takeaways trump eating out every time

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