Food & Drink

Deliveroo

We catch up with William Shu of Deliveroo, the restaurant food delivery company.

Whether you’re a new mother, a late worker or just feel like a break from cooking for the night, Deliveroo offers a welcome change from the traditional takeaway, bringing the best restaurant food direct to your door in under 35 minutes. Founded in 2013 by William Shu and Greg Orlowski, the idea - to connect local, high quality restaurants, that don’t usually deliver, to discerning customers – has taken off. Recently, the company secured $70 million in its third round of funding and it is growing rapidly to meet demand. We caught up with Will to find out more.

Deliveroo came about... when I first moved to London. I was working in finance, which involved extremely long hours most days of the week. I’d just moved from New York and quickly found that London lacked a thriving, quality, food delivery ecosystem. I lived on Burger King, so, with Deliveroo, we made it our mission to bring high-quality local restaurant food to Londoners’ doorsteps.

I was the first delivery driver for Deliveroo... At the beginning of this year, I was still doing deliveries on my bike up to four hours a week!

The majority of online marketplaces were and still are for takeaway restaurants... This means customer choice is limited to restaurants that already provide a takeaway service. The quality of food is often poor and the delivery experience is typically long and inconsistent.

We do something different by... partnering with high-quality, local restaurants such as Michelin-starred Trichna or Ollie Dabbous’ Barnyard that typically don’t offer delivery, as well as quality chains such as Dishoom and Wagamama. Customers can have the food they love delivered to home or at work in as little as half an hour, and restaurants can use their excess kitchen capacity and fixed costs to increase revenue.

The online food delivery market has exploded recently... We’ve grown daily orders by over 500 per cent since January. The rise of the smartphone and the on-demand economy has played a significant role in this - our Deliveroo app topped the App Store’s food and drink chart in a matter of days.

That said, food delivery is still largely an offline industry... Online penetration is roughly one per cent only, so there is still a huge opportunity available. We are only at the very beginning of the journey.

I use Deliveroo everyday, and often twice per day! We love to test out new restaurants in the office, and, sadly, I don’t have a lot of time to cook. I like to keep a very close eye on our operations to ensure we maintain our high service standards, and this is a good way to do so.

Our recent funding (of $70 million) will be used to... capitalise on the phenomenal growth we’ve seen since launch. Our plan is to expand into new markets in Europe and Asia, while continuing to rollout in our existing markets, and invest in growing and improving all areas of the business. It’s an exciting time.

The best piece of advice I have ever been given is... “Clean behind your ears."

My favourite food website is... Lucky Peach. It has the best pictures, drawings and articles about food.

Deliveroo has got to where it is today through... agility and aggressiveness. These qualities will be essential to maintain, as we scale to become the best food delivery company in the world. Watch this space.

August 2015