LONDON — Food delivery service Deliveroo announced on Wednesday that it will create clusters of pop-up kitchens to help existing restaurants launch delivery services in areas they don’t already cover.
The “Deliveroo Editions” locations will each include six or seven portable kitchens, the company said, adding that it expects to create 1,000 jobs in the UK in 2017 through the launch of the new initiative.
Deliveroo CEO Will Shu told journalists at a press event in South London on Wednesday that the company plans to launch around 30 sites in the UK by the end of the year.
The company will open further Editions locations in countries such as Singapore and Dubai, Shu said. A Singapore location will open next week, and the company said it expects to have Deliveroo Editions locations in five countries internationally by the end of 2017.
Shu said that “we put up all the capital” for the Roobox restaurants, and the company would then charge a higher commission on each order to get its money back from the restaurants. He said that he expects Deliveroo Editions to be a “significant part” of the company in three to four years.
The Deliveroo Editions kitchens will help restaurants split up their in-house dining and delivery services, Shu said. The company met with its “top partners” in London 18 months ago, Shu said, and plotted how to “segregate your delivery business from your in-house business so you can do both, better.”
The issue of standard restaurants being turned into delivery locations is nothing new. The Telegraph reported in August 2016 that a South London restaurant which appeared empty told diners that it was actually “really busy” due to a stream of Deliveroo riders collecting meals to deliver.
“[We] scour our database and we look for what are the areas of high demand that maybe don’t have a lot of restaurants,” Shu said. “Say you see less than 20 restaurants on your app, does it make sense for us to fill in A. More restaurants and B. What are the missing gaps in cuisines?”
Shu was asked during the press event in South London how closely Deliveroo is looking at automation and driverless cars when it comes to the food industry. Domino’s announced in March that it is testing delivering food using Starship Technologies’ robots in European cities.
But Shu said that Deliveroo is not “super actively focused on” automation. “I’ve looked at a lot of that stuff,” he said, but “I think we’re pretty far away from a lot of these things.” Shu did, however, say that his company is “closely monitoring the space.”
Editions helps Deliveroo tie in restaurants to its service
Editions is another way for Deliveroo to differentiate itself from one of its main competitors: Uber’s food delivery service UberEATS. Uber doesn’t offer these kind of pop-up local kitchens, and restaurants using the Editions locations will be unable to offer food cooked at those locations to competing services such as UberEATS.
In January Deliveroo launched a new subscription service called Deliveroo Plus that provided heavy users of the service with a discount if they paid a monthly fee of £8.99. That encouraged customers to stick to Deliveroo instead of switching between Deliveroo and its competitors, because they wouldn’t have to pay a delivery charge on each order.
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