In a move worthy of reality TV, Deliveroo has launched a “Restaurant Rescue Team” to identify and help struggling restaurants and revive them as delivery-only businesses.
According to a blog post from Deliveroo, the so-called rescue team, set up within Deliveroo’s HQ, will look for restaurants either at risk of closing or already recently closed and offer them a place with Deliveroo Editions, the company’s ghost-kitchen program that houses delivery-only brands and restaurants.
The rescue team will use its “local knowledge and market insights” to identify those restaurants they think will perform well in an area where an Editions kitchen is located. Deliveroo said it will help these restaurants with branding, menu development, and pricing strategies as well as some extra support.
From the blog post:
For a limited period, the restaurants who enter Editions through the Rescue Team will also receive support which is not available to other restaurants on the platform, to help maximise the benefit of moving into a delivery-only kitchen. The selected restaurants will enjoy preferential commission rates, and Deliveroo will cover the costs of rent, equipment, maintenance, utilities, food safety setup and audit costs.
It all sounds a bit like those TV shows where third parties try to save restaurants, bars, and marriages, only this time it’s in real life. Deliveroo said it will first help restaurants in London, then expand to other parts of the UK.
If successful, this ghost-kitchen-as-a-savior model could spark a trend in the industry. Restaurants are going bust at record levels right now as they face increased labor costs, simultaneous labor shortages, and pressure to meet demand for new technologies, including delivery.
Ghost kitchens provide a way for restaurants to cut costs, meet demand for delivery, and even try out new concepts without struggling under the overhead of a full-service business. In this area, Deliveroo faces competition from Uber Eats, who is reported to be doing its own ghost kitchens in Europe.
The “rescue” aspect of Deliveroo’s new intitiative is in keeping with the brand’s self-proclaimed “track record of helping restaurants on the verge of closing.” The company launched a restaurant makeover competition in June to revamp struggling restaurants in the UK.