At the Smart Kitchen Summit Europe a few weeks ago (miss you, Dublin!), disrupting the meal journey was a big theme. And one of the biggest things changing the way we eat is food delivery to our homes.
I had a chance to discuss this shift with Dan Warne, Managing Director of Deliveroo in the U.K. and Ireland, during a Fireside Chat entitled “New Possibilities in Home Food Delivery.”
I was especially excited to talk with him about Deliveroo’s Editions project, a concept that helps to distinguish the company in an uber-crowded food delivery market (pun intended), and one reason we chose Deliveroo as one of our Food Tech 25.
If you didn’t already know, Editions is essentially a curated hub of cloud kitchens. Deliveroo uses customer data to place delivery-only restaurants in areas with unfulfilled demand. People get a larger swath of delivery options, and food entrepreneurs can open up establishments with significantly reduced overhead and less risk.
Editions is so successful, according to Warne, because it has been able to optimize both the hardware and software of running a delivery-based food establishment. “The restaurant can dedicate everything to the food,” he said. Which means that the food has to be really good, since there’s nothing else to hide behind.
“We [also] see it as an opportunity for us to aid the industry by bringing down costs,” he continued. For example, Deliveroo is working with an eco-friendly utility producer as well as a London-based app called Placed, which helps cut labor costs.
The topic of food delivery came up a few times throughout the day at SKS Europe — though not always in a favorable light. After all, companies working to get people cooking at home more often (connected kitchen appliances, guided cooking apps, etc.) should be diametrically opposed to a service that just brings food right to the door. Right?
Warne doesn’t see it that way. “Food delivery . . . has become a compliment to eating at home,” he said onstage. “We see ourselves as very much supporting the eat-at-home experience.”
“The use case of getting food delivery at home is fundamentally different than the social experience of going out to a restaurant,” he continued. Or, presumably, than the experience of cooking at home with your family, or the satisfaction of making a meal from scratch.
Deliveroo now works with around 10,000 restaurants across the U.K., has 25,000 delivery drivers, and operates in 12 different markets. “We are continually surprised with the appetite in every consumer set,” said Warne. “At first, we saw Deliveroo becoming a billion dollar business… now we now seeing it being much, much bigger.”
So what’s next for Editions, and Deliveroo on the whole? Robots — maybe. “We have a few engineers working on robotics,” said Warne. “There’s a bigger opportunity there since there won’t be the same regulatory challenges that there are with, say, drones.” Which some unnamed food delivery companies are currently piloting.
Watch the video below to see Warne’s full fireside chat on the future of home food delivery.