- Deliveroo is a UK food delivery startup, valued at £1.5 billion
- Its goal is to make takeaway more popular than home cooking
- Its CEO Will Shu said he can’t cook and lives on takeaway
- The company is facing political scrutiny over how it treats delivery riders
If you start a company that wants to kill home cooking, it’s probably on-brand to be incapable of cooking yourself.
And Will Shu, founder of British food delivery company Deliveroo and a former banker, is very on-brand.
“The only thing I can make is an omelette,” he told The Evening Standard. Apparently his recipe involves stewing tomatoes down and finely minced onions. He also boasted of having a grill.
Otherwise, he pretty much survives on takeaway food according to the interview. He orders an egg pot from Pure for breakfast, a “healthy” lunch of chicken with several helpings of broccoli, and the occasional KFC for dinner.
Shu also said he hadn’t owned a TV since 2004.
Shu’s interview comes as Deliveroo faces considerable scrutiny for its role in the “gig economy”, the term used to describe companies which rely heavily on independent contractors rather than full-time employees. Deliveroo relies on its network of 15,000 cyclists and moped riders to deliver meals across the UK and it pays, according to Shu, around £10 an hour.
Deliveroo is deemed a British success story, with huge revenue growth in the last year and millions in venture capital funding. It grew 600% last year, albeit with tiny gross margins. According to one of its investors and board members, Martin Mignot, the ultimate goal is to make takeaway food more popular and cheaper than cooking at home.
Deliveroo told a committee of MPs this month that it couldn’t sustain that massive growth if it was forced to give riders worker status, and benefits such as holiday pay.
Managing director Dan Warne said at the time: “The biggest impact on the model would be that we wouldn’t be able to attract the same volume of riders to perpetuate that growth.”
Shu, in his interview with The Evening Standard, said most riders wanted the flexibility of contractor work. The implicit suggestion here is that the company would still fight against full worker rights, but it does want to reward drivers with some benefits. Those who fulfil a certain number of orders, for example, might qualify for sick pay.
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