Deliveroo is a food delivery company that serves as an intermediary between customers and restaurants. Using the app, customers place (and pay for) an order, which is then conveyed to the participating restaurant.
When the food is prepared, a Deliveroo courier collects the food and delivers it to the customer in the comfort of their own home, office, or wherever else they’ve chosen. Deliveroo takes a cut of the revenue, and pays the delivery delivery, unless the restaurant carries out its own deliveries.
Deliveroo was founded by Will Shu in 2013. The American (a banking analyst by trade) had recently moved back to London after an MBA, and was shocked at how few of the city’s (many) better restaurants offered delivery. He moved to rectify this by creating Deliveroo, alongside Greg Orlowski.
The pair had attempted something similar a few years before, after Shu initially moved to London and found himself eating from his local supermarket as opposed to the higher-quality takeaways he enjoyed in New York. They were limited by the failure of smartphone technology to match their ambitions, however.
The company’s purported goal is not just to make restaurant quality food more easily accessible – but to kill home cooking altogether (notably Shu claims an omelette is the height of his culinary prowess – so home cooks might want to take that with a pinch of Maldon salt).
The app uses an algorithm (named Frank) to ensure the efficient delivery – aiming to maximise earnings for both restaurant and courier, and minimise customer waiting time. Delivery radius is limited to maintain this level of efficiency, and to encourage people to order from restaurants that are local to them.
Most deliveries are made by a fleet of Deliveroo couriers, who along with Uber drivers are archetypes of the gig economy. Like many other names in the gig economy, Deliveroo has seen its fair share of controversy over workers’ right and pay.
Despite this – or partly because of it – the ‘unicorn’ company has been wildly successful. Indeed, it enjoyed a period as the fastest growing company in Europe. It has expanded into a number of new markets in Europe, Asia, and Australia operating in a total of 12 markets (having left the 13th, Germany, in August 2019).
Deliveroo moved offices in 2017 to Cannon Street in London, and hired 300 new tech staff in a move to build one of the largest tech hubs in the country. Deliveroo also bought Edinburgh-based software company Cultivate in 2019, as part of a move to set up a new tech hub in Scotland. Difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic, however, have led Deliveroo to lay off 15% of its staff.
Deliveroo’s troubles, however stem from before this period. It has made a loss on every delivery made since day one. While revenue continues to rise, losses continue to deepen – calling the robustness of the business model into question. After ranking first and second in the Financial Times‘ list of Europe’s fastest growing companies in 2018 and 2019, it completely feel out of the ranking in 2020 (covering 2015-2018).
Investment from Amazon was intended to give Deliveroo a boost in late 2019. The UK Competition and Markets Authority, however, launched an investigation into the investment under anti-monopoly laws. Eventually, provisional approval was given in April 2020 (drawing criticism from rival Just Eat). Much damage, however, was thought to be done by the delay.
Whether Amazon’s $575 million stake will help to improve Deliveroo’s fortunes will be of great interest to many startups and observers. Deliveroo’s collapse coming so soon after its supposed success would stand as a damning indictment of a venture capitalism model predicated on loss.
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 put additional strain on the company. While we might have expected it to thrive in the circumstances, it seems a considerable proportion of Deliveroo revenue came from big chains. With these shutting their doors, Deliveroo revenue was consequently hit. This gives lie to Deliveroo’s claims that its model centres on independent, local businesses.
To learn more about Deliveroo’s growth, who works for Deliveroo, and what the future of the food delivery business might look like, read on.
Table of Contents
|Registered company name||Roofoods Ltd.|
|People||Will Shu (founder, CEO)|
|Company type||Private, limited company|
|Valuation||$2 billion (estimated)|
Key Deliveroo Financial Statistics
Source: Financial Times
|Deliveroo gross profit|
|Deliveroo administrative/operating expenses *|
*2015-2016 listed as administrative expenses, 2017-2018 as operating
|Deliveroo funding rounds|
|Series A||June 2014||$2.75 million||Index Ventures/Hoxton Ventures|
|Series B||January 2015||$25 million||Accel|
|Series C||July 2015||$70 million||Index Ventures/Greenoaks Capital|
|Series D||November 2015||$100 million||DST Global/Greenoaks Capital|
|Series E||August 2016||$275 million||Bridgepoint|
|Series F||Sep-Nov 2017||$480 million||T. Rowe Price/Fidelity|
|Series G||May 2019||$575 million||Amazon|
|Deliveroo estimated valuation|
|January 2015||$100 million|
|July 2015||$315 million|
|November 2015||$600 million|
|August 2016||$1 billion|
|September 2017||$2 billion|
Other Key Deliveroo Statistics
- Deliveroo was estimated to hit 6 million UK customers before the end 2018 (Marketing Week)
- 45,000 daily Deliveroo users in the UK as of late 2018 (Priori Data via Financial Times)
- 80% of UK users of food delivery apps never or rarely switch between platforms (McKinsey)
- 30,000 UK restaurants served by Deliveroo as of late 2019, at least 5,000 of which deliver their own food (Deliveroo)
- 80,000 restaurants served by Deliveroo worldwide in 500 towns and cities, as of early 2020 (Deliveroo)
- Deliveroo claims that working with Deliveroo has contributed £1 billion to UK restaurant industry, including £320 million for independent restaurants (Deliveroo)
- Deliver takes a cut of up to 35% plus VAT from each order in the UK (CNBC)
- Deliveroo claims to have created 25,000 jobs in the UK restaurant sector in 2018, including 8,000 in the independent sector; pre-coronavirus this was estimated to rise to 70,000 by 2020, and 176,000 internationally (Deliveroo)
- The value of Deliveroo to the British economy was reckoned at £372 million ($470 million) over the 2016/17 financial year – set to rise to £1.5 billion by 2019 (Deliveroo via Telegraph)
- Deliveroo estimated (pre-coronavirus) it would be contribute a total of £4 billion of economic output in its markets (Deliveroo)
- 25,000 couriers work for Deliveroo in the UK as of 2019 (Deliveroo)
- 60,000 Deliveroo riders worldwide as of 2020 (Deliveroo)
- 93% of UK Deliveroo couriers are male; 73% are between 18 and 34 (Deliveroo)
- 84% of couriers said they were happy working for Deliveroo (Deliveroo)
- Deliveroo claim average earnings for couriers are around £12/hour with per delivery payment format, up from £9.50/hour with previous hourly rate (Mirror)
- Indeed. reports average Deliveroo driver hourly earnings of between £7.71 and £13.89 (Indeed)
- Deliveroo took 96 weeks to get to 10,000 weekly orders in London, 33 weeks in Paris, and 18 in Singapore (London Eater)
- The Poké Signature Super Protéiné from Pokawa, Paris was the most-ordered dish of 2019, following on from the pad thäi offered by Thäi at Home in Paris in 2018 (Deliveroo)
- 24 of the top 100 dishes ordered over Deliveroo were either burgers or burritos in 2019, though poke bowls account for 4 of the top-20 (Deliveroo)
- Deliveroo named Europe’s second-biggest growing company by Financial Times in 2019, for period 2014-2017, with total revenue growth of 15,749% at CAGR or 441% (Financial Times)
- The previous year Deliveroo held the top spot, for the period 2013-2016; over this period revenue increased by over 100,000%, with a compound growth rate of 923% (Financial Times)
- Deliveroo first company to top Deloitte’s UK Fast 50 two years in a row, in 2017 and 2018 (Deloitte)
- 15% of Deliveroo (permanent) workforce let go during coronavirus pandemic (Guardian)
Deliveroo is reportedly on course to hit 6 million customers in the UK by the end of 2018.
According to a GlobalWebIndex survey, Deliveroo is the third-most popular food delivery service with takeaway aficionados in the UK; though its 23% is only a tiny margin (1%) behind Uber Eats. Deliveroo does not operate in the US at the time of writing.
Most-popular food delivery services in the UK/US
This is borne out by Priori Data figures, referenced by the Financial Times. These show just under 45,000 daily UK users of Deliveroo, compared with 51,000 Uber Eats customers. Just Eat, however, commands just shy of 10 times as many daily customers – a dominant market position if ever there was one.
Deliveroo disputes these figures, claiming that it is larger than any other food delivery service with its own fleet of riders (so including Uber Eats, but excluding Just Eat, which merely facilitates the connection between consumer and restaurant).
Weekly UK users of food delivery services
Source: Financial Times
How might Deliveroo move into prime position? Well, according to GlobalWebIndex, if the delivery is fast and free, you’ll be getting somewhere. Deliveroo currently charges variable fees for delivery (based on distance and delivery time), or gives users the option to pay a monthly subscription fee (£7.99, equivalent to $10.12) for unlimited deliveries through Deliveroo Plus.
Aside from that, users like to see a good variety of restaurants, with a good quarter valuing the chance to use local businesses rather than faceless chains.
What do food delivery service users value?
It’s worth getting these customers in through the proverbial door, because once they’re using your app, they will continue to do so it seems. A study by professional services firm McKinsey found that, in the UK, 80% of food delivery customers had never or rarely switch platform.
Food delivery services customer loyalty
Source: McKinsey & Company
According to SimilarWeb, Deliveroo ranks 96th in the Apple App Store in the UK, and 72nd in France. On the Google Play Store it comes in at number four in the UK, and seventh in France in terms of usage in the food and drink category. In terms of overall Google Play rank, it just creeps into the top-100 in the UK (98th), and is 164th in France.
Deliveroo works with 80,000 restaurants globally, as of early 2020, with 30,000 of these based in the UK. These are based in 500 cities and towns across the 12 markets served by Deliveroo in Europe, Asia, and Australia. This had been 13, before Deliveroo pulled out of the Germany to focus its efforts on other markets. The food delivery market in notably competitive in Europe.
Deliveroo opened up the platform in June 2018 to 5,000 UK restaurants who wanted to use their own delivery drivers instead of Deliveroo’s own network of 15,000 riders (in the UK). This increased the total number of UK restaurants on the platform by 50% (from 10,000) to a total of 15,000. Quite a few more than the three with which it started. That’s Thai chain Busaba Eathai, Italian chain Rossopomodoro, and the since closed-down Chelsea restaurant The Stockpot, in case you were wondering. This move was seen as an attempt to take on chief rival Just Eat, which has always left the delivery portion of the transactions to the restaurants in question.
Deliveroo also operates 16 ‘dark kitchen’ sites around the UK, most being in London, under the aegis of ‘Deliveroo Editions’. These are collections of small prefab structures or adapted buildings available to restaurants who want to run delivery-only businesses in the potentially lucrative vicinities (such as close to the Canary Wharf financial hub). Over 100 kitchens operate from these sites.
This allows them to cater to new markets without opening new high-street premises. These Rooboxes, as they are officially known, have been noted for being particularly unglamorous, particularly as compared with the restaurants’ reputations. Working conditions have been questioned, as have their adherence to planning regulations.
Deliveroo Editions has also opened sites in Singapore, Dubai, Australia, Spain, France, and the Netherlands.
Around 66 UK restaurants used these as of October 2018. Clients include popular names such as Meat Liquor, Busaba Eathai, and Franco Manca. There are plans to further expand these to new sites in the future, though growth thus far has not matched targets, which were set at 200 dark kitchens on 30 sites.
Deliveroo launched a ‘virtual food market’ in 2018, allowing customers to place orders with multiple restaurants in a single transaction. After trialling the scheme for three months in Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, it launched in the UK in September 2018. This will work as part of the Deliveroo Editions business.
Deliveroo also opened up a brick-and-mortar location in Hong Kong in November 2018, which will serve a similar function – hosting five restaurant groups offering 15 dining concepts that will serve a variety of global dishes. Like its virtual equivalent, the restaurant will carry the name Deliveroo Food Market. The restaurant is aimed at allowing restaurant groups to experiment with new concepts. It will cater for in-store customers as well online ones. If the concept proves to be a success in this location, Deliveroo will roll it out worldwide. This is also an extension of Deliveroo Editions. It has since opened two more sites in Hong Kong.
According to an analysis by Capital Economics, Deliveroo claimed to have contributed £460 million in revenue to UK partner restaurants and their supply chains in 2017. This rose to £1 billion in 2018, with £320 million of this going to independent restaurants.
In May 2018, Deliveroo announced a £5 million ($6.3 million) ‘Innovation Fund’, for investment into the UK restaurant sector, new chefs, and new restaurant concepts. It also announced that it was working with as-yet unnamed celebrity chefs.
Three priorities were identified for the Innovation fund: investing in existing restaurants, incubating new brands in the name of customer choice, and supporting up-and-coming talent and working with celebrity chefs.
Perhaps these mysterious chefs are connected with one of Deliveroo’s most ambitious plans: to begin making its own food. This plan also involves the automation of food production, allowing for ‘hyper-personalised’ food.
Deliveroo driver statistics
Deliveroo’s fleet of couriers stands at 15,000 strong in the UK, with another 20,000 in its international markets, giving us a grand total of 35,000.
Of Deliveroo’s courier base, around 85% worked in another job alongside their work with Deliveroo. It’s a young demographic, with 60% reportedly under the age of 25.
William Shu claims that 90% of the firm’s fleet of couriers value the flexibility that comes from not being full-time employees. Around 1,000 people apply to work for Deliveroo every week in the UK, he adds.
Deliveroo published a survey of its delivery drivers in November 2018, based on a survey and focus groups carried out in September 2018, and carried out alongside Public First.
The survey contained some key demographic trends pertaining to Deliveroo’s driver base. Notably, 93% were male, and 73% were between the age of 18 and 34. This compares to 56% in the gig economy as a while. Over a third were based in London, compared to 13% of the general UK population and just under a quarter of gig economy workers. 21% were full-time students, compared to 12% in the gig economy as a whole, while 28% were carers.
Deliveroo driver demographics vs. gig economy vs. overall population
Source: Deliveroo/Public First
Perhaps the most eye-catching stat: 84% said they were happy working for Deliveroo – though, naturally, with the company itself carrying out the study, we might entertain a small degree of reasonable scepticism over this bombastic figure.
The survey also asked them what they’d do if they weren’t working for Deliveroo. Over a third said they didn’t know, while another third would try to start their own business or work in some other self-employed capacity.
What would Deliveroo drivers do if not working for Deliveroo?
Source: Deliveroo/Public First
Around half the sample had experienced a period of unemployment over the past five years, though notably nearly half were in full-time study. A small proportion it seems had come out of retirement to work for Deliveroo.
As Shu suggests, the element of flexibility was the most popular option when drivers were asked why they currently worked for Deliveroo (they could choose multiple options). This, however, does not seem to be as high a figure as his claimed 90%, instead falling at a touch over 50%. The second-most popular option, interestingly, was simply for the love of cycling, while exercise also features in the top-5.
Unsurprisingly, we also see money featuring prominently, with the need for immediate income ranking highly, as well as it simply offering higher earnings potential than other career paths currently open to the surveyed drivers. In answer to a different question, 45% claimed that Deliveroo does well on providing high fees, while 19% thought it did not.
On the other hand, only 3.6% said they could not find a traditional source of employment, while 3.2% said they had no other choice.
Why do drivers work for Deliveroo?
Source: Deliveroo/Public First
45% of full and part-time students also said they worked for Deliveroo to support a further long-term goal. This demographic also particularly valued flexibility.
Flexible work also comes out on top when asked what they liked about working for Deliveroo, this time at a robust 80%. Around two thirds said they strongly agree that working for Deliveroo provided more flexibility than other jobs, with a further 20% agreeing (in answer to a separate question).
Active work and local work are the next popular option. Less than a third of the surveyed drivers elected to say they liked working specifically for Deliveroo, showing less brand loyalty than customers. Indeed, the report also states that riders admit that they would immediately stop working for Deliveroo if a better alternative came onto the market.
A similarly small proportion found the pay competitive, and even fewer thought the stability on offer was notable.
What do drivers like about working for Deliveroo?
Source: Deliveroo/Public First
Most Deliveroo delivery agents use a bicycle (80%), while others use scooters or even cars. Deliveroo workers are part of the gig economy, paid for work completed. Based on location, couriers are paid per hour with a small extra per delivery (£7, plus £1 for each delivery – $8.87 plus $1.27), or a higher per-delivery rate (£3.75 originally, now at £4.50; equivalent to $4.75 increasing to $5.70).
The announcement of the launch of the per-delivery rate resulted in protests in London, with couriers arguing that this would make their earnings less predictable. The UK government declared that Deliveroo must pay at least the national living wage, set at £7.20 ($9.13) in 2016.
In 2016, it was calculated that a Deliveroo driver would have to work for nearly 74 hours a week in order to pay the average UK rent for a single room (if they made one delivery per hour). The average driver works for under 15 hours a week, Deliveroo says. There is no obligation to work a minimum number of hours.
Deliveroo claim that the average wage is £9.50/hour on the old system, and that drivers can earn up to £120/day. The new system, they claim, allows drivers to earn a higher average rate of £12/hour, rising to £21 during busy periods. Drivers may keep any tips, and those using scooters get a small contribution towards fuel cost.
According to Indeed, which aggregates salaries, the average stood at £7.71 for those classing themselves as couriers as of May 2020. The range found by this analysis starts at £6.65 and rises to £15.10. At this top rate, couriers would stand to earn a touch under £121 for an eight-hour day. Those earning the average figure stood to a touch under £62. The UK minimum wage for those over 25 stands at £8.72.
We might note that given the casual nature of the work, workers may not be working in concentrated shifts, which complicates the matter somewhat.
While the highest number of figures are reported for ‘couriers’, we also have various figures for drivers (£13.89), delivery driver (£8.74), delivery person (£12.83), and courier driver (£10.27). All of these serve to bring the total up somewhat, with the overall average at £9.73, or £77.84/day. These are all-time figures, so include both old and new payment systems.
Deliveroo has garnered a fair deal of controversy for pay levels and the denial of workers’ rights based on the employment status of its couriers. Strike action has taken place in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. In June 2018, Deliveroo reached an out-of-court settlement with workers who had brought a lawsuit against them for denying them rights such as minimum wage and holidays.
Deliveroo drivers are classed as ‘self-employed contractors’. They cannot be classified as ‘workers’ under UK law, as they are able to pass on the work to another person and therefore are not providing a ‘personal service’. They are therefore not legally obliged to be given holiday or sick pay. Deliveroo won a court case to this effect in November 2017. Just over a year later, Deliveroo couriers lost a case to be given union recognition, and undertake collective bargaining. The lawsuit was brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain. The result was once again because of the ability to workers to pass on work to someone else without detriment.
Interestingly, the Public First/Deliveroo survey found that riders do not see a great deal of merit in governmental intervention in the gig economy.
On average, drivers score Deliveroo at 3.6 out of 5 on Indeed. By way of comparison, the equivalent score for Uber drivers is 3.7.
The company says it has invested £10 million to provide free accident and injury and third party liability insurance to its base of delivery drivers (an old system required them to paid £1.85/week for the privilege). This covers medial expenses up to £7,500 ($9,508), and offers riders £50 per night, capped at £3,000 ($63.39 capped at $3,803) if they have to stay in hospital. If they’re kept off the road for whatever reason, the insurance also covers 75% of their average gross income for 30 days.
Deliveroo claims to have created 25,000 jobs in the UK restaurant sector up until 2018, including 8,000 in the independent sector. It predicted that this figure would rise to 70,000 by 2020, with the international figure climbing to 176,000. This was, however, before coronavirus hit – likely to have a heavy impact on the company.
Coronavirus or not, we might see job creation from Deliveroo come to an abrupt end: in March 2018, Deliveroo outlined plans to automate both the production and food and delivery. This was with the goal of doubling its profit margins, with the cost of making a meal coming down to £1 ($1.27), and the cost of delivering an order coming to the same level.
Deliveroo international expansion
After launching in the UK, Deliveroo has since expanded to 12 counties, in which it operates in 150 cities. You can currently use Deliveroo in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain within Europe, and further afield in Australia, Singapore Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.
The international business has played a key part in Deliveroo’s growth, with a 99% increase in Europe and 204% increase in other markets over 2017.
While Deliveroo took 96 weeks to get to 10,000 weekly orders in London, it reached the same level in 33 weeks in Paris, and a mere 18 in Singapore.
Outside of the UK, Deliveroo’s biggest European market is France, where it records around 20,000 daily users – though it is some way behind Uber Eats, which commands nearly twice as many. In the Italian and Spanish markets, where the market share on offer is smaller due to the dominant position of Just Eat, Deliveroo outstrips Uber Eats (which is only available in a handful of cities).
Deliveroo/Uber Eats daily users in European markets
Source: Financial Times
The Western European market, as this graphic from Dealroom (using Priori Data stats), is a complex and competitive landscape. France and Italy in particularly are identified as crowded markets. Head east though, and things are little simpler – with German Delivery Hero and its subsidiary Food Panda (acquired in 2016) dominant.
European food delivery market landscape
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
According to the same analysis, the UK is by far the biggest market for online food delivery in Europe. This is due to the large overall size of the food delivery market (online and offline) and a high degree of online penetration.
The latter stood at 49% at the stage of this study. This report was published in the first third of 2017, and looks back using 2016 information. YouGov stats in late 2017 show that while 41% made orders by telephone, 33% used a website, 18% used an app, and 8% used a mobile website – putting online orders of all stripes well out in front.
The total value of the market stood at €3.5 billion (£3.1 billion or $4 billion). This has since risen to £4.2 billion ($5.3 billion) – with the food delivery market growing at 20 times the size of the food service market as a whole.
This puts it at between four and five times the size of second-place Germany, which is worth a mere €784 million in comparison ($896 million). France, Deliveroo’s second-biggest market is worth €578 (US$660 million), and comes in third place.
Size of European markets for online food delivery
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
These slightly dated figures show once more the dominance of Just Eat in the UK, outstripping Deliveroo by some 8 million in terms of app downloads. Web traffic stood at just under a third, however.
This was nascent days for Uber Eats, which has now come to overtake Deliveroo in terms of deliveries (and presumably app downloads).
Food delivery web visitors and app downloads: UK
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
In Germany, both Delivery Hero and Takeaway were both on the rise, showing a growing market. Deliveroo and Uber Eats figure here, though only barely, with the former in six figures and the latter in five figures (Uber has a problematic reputation in Germany, it should be noted)
Food delivery web visitors and app downloads: Germany
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
Takeaway dominates the Dutch market even more than Just Eat dominates the UK one.
Food delivery web visitors and app downloads: Netherlands
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
In France, on the other hand, everything looks like it’s to play for – though for any market entrant, new or established, market dominance appears as if it might be chimerical notion.
Food delivery web visitors and app downloads: France
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
Spain shows growth in food delivery apps across the board, with domestic brand Telepizza leading the way.
Food delivery web visitors and app downloads: Spain
Source: Dealroom/Priori Data
As specified above, these graphs are somewhat dated and represent food delivery markets that often seem to be in their nascent stages. Online penetration in more traditional food cultures, like France or Spain, for instance, stood at a mere 13% and 12% respectively.
This is likely to have increased in the years since, so the customer bases are there for the taking (or have been). As specified above, once customers have picked their preferred delivery service, they tend to stick with them, so getting in early can be key to establishing market dominance.
Deliveroo Usage Statistics
Deliveroo may be the fastest growing, but it does not exist in a vacuum. Food delivery apps have gained massively in popularity in recent years. According to a survey carried out by GlobalWebIndex 11% of ‘takeaway lovers’ in the US (where Deliveroo is not yet available) and 3% in the UK used a food delivery service every day or nearly every day.
26% of Deliveroo’s key market in the UK order on a weekly basis, with a further 13% ordering multiple times per week.
Frequency of use of food delivery apps
As mentioned above, food delivery services are in the ascendancy. According to eMarketer, of those in the UK spending money through smartphone apps, nearly a third are buying food for delivery. This outstrips games, music, and books – indeed, everything except clothes and footwear.
What are smartphone users buying through apps?
Most-ordered dishes on Deliveroo in 2019
Deliveroo publishes an annual list of its most-ordered dishes around the world on its Foodscene blog.
In 2019, the most-ordered dish was the Poké Signature Super Protéiné from Pokawa in Paris. Poke was prominent in the 2019 ranking, being the most-ordered dish in nine countries, and accounting for a fifth of the top-20.
On the other hand, burgers and burritos make up 24 of the top 100, showing that there’s lots of love for old takeaway favourites. Traditional local meals also feature promimently; Deliveroo highlights Cod and Chips from Harbourside Fish & Chips in Plymouth, Regina Pizza from Assaje in Milan, and Beef Hor Fan from Rasa Rasa in Singapore.
Other trends included Asian dishes, which accounted for a quarter of the top-100, and chicken, which featured in a quarter.
- Poké Signature Super Protéiné from Pokawa, Paris
- Cheeseburger from Five Guys, London
- Burrito Pollo from Gonzalez & Co, Barcelona
- Salmon Pokè from Pokèria by NIMA, Milan
- Footlong Sub from Subway, Dublin
- Tommy the Chook from Boss Burger Co, Geelong
- 米線+一餸 from 譚仔雲南米線 Tam’s Shop, Hong Kong
- Shack Burger from Shake Shack, Dubai
- Big Giant Menu from Quick, Liege
- Sushi Burrito from Sushito, Amsterdam
In 2018, the leading dish again came from a Parisian restaurant. This time it was the pad thäi offered by Thäi at Home.
Poke was again the big story of the year. The Hawaiian raw fish speciality features twice in the top-10, and 12 times in the top-100, from a total of eight countries. Just in case that all sounds too obscure, we also see the reassuring presence of KFC Hot Wings in 10th place, thanks to the people of Brighton (a coastal city in the south of the UK).
It seems the most popular dishes are burgers – which feature twice in the top-10, led by Five Guys in London – and burritos, which appeal no less than three times in the top-10 alone, with Boojum in Dublin leading the charge. In all, burgers and burritos account for 20% of the top-100. If we add pizza to the equation, we’re up to a full quarter.
Local dishes feature prominently alongside these international favourites, while we saw a fivefold increase in sweet dishes between 2017 and 2018. José Luis of Madrid’s tortilla Española, or the Ravioli di manzo offered up by Ravioleria Sarpi of Milan are examples of the first; Berlin’s Waffle Brothers’ Happy Waffle and Dubai’s Magnolia’s banana pudding of the second.
Aside from this sugary surge, the previous year’s list showed similar trends; it seems the burger and the burrito’s appeal shows no sign of abating. Particularly those served by Five Guys and Boojum, both of which hold their position in the top-10 from 2017. Sushi also features in both years’ top-10 lists.
Top international dishes Deliveroo, 2018
- Pad Thaï from Thaï at Home, Paris
- Cheeseburger from Five Guys, London
- Sushi Lovers Poke Bowl from CALI-POKE, Dubai
- Burrito from Boojum, Dublin
- Bubble Tea from Tenren’s Tea, Hong Kong
- Grilled Chicken Burrito from Guzman Y Gomez, Sydney
- Burrito from Gonzalez & Co, Barcelona
- Beef Burger from Tommi’s Burger Joint, Berlin
- Poke Bowl from Temakery, Amsterdam
- 2 Hot Wings® from KFC, Brighton
In 2017, Deliveroo published a UK-specific list, with the themes similar to the international trends of the year – with four burgers and three burritos featuring in the top 10. Five Guys had already claimed the number one spot it continues to hold in London.
Most-ordered dishes on Deliveroo in 2017 in the UK
- Cheeseburger, Five Guys – London, UK
- Boojum’s Twojum, Boojum – Belfast, UK
- Chicken Katsu Curry, wagamama – London, UK
- Cheese 6oz American Cheeseburger, Gourmet Burger Kitchen – London, UK
- Chicken Tinga Burrito, Mission Burrito – Bristol, UK
- Medium Grilled Chicken Burrito, Tortilla – Brighton, UK
- Crazy Salmon Roll, Kenji Sushi – Edinburgh, UK
- Byron Burger, Byron – London, UK
- Dead Hippie Burger™, MEATliquor – London, UK
- Oahu Bowl, Ahi Poké – London, UK
Deliveroo spice map
Deliveroo also published a map ahead of National Curry Week in the UK, which looks at which cities in the country were most fond of a spicy curry, contrasting this with the ones most spice-averse. Unsurprisingly for those who know the UK, cities with the large South Asian diasporas, and famed for their curries feature on the former list: the likes of Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow. Though perhaps surprisingly, Welsh capital Cardiff takes the top spot.
And the most dainty of tongue? Hang your head in shame, Coventry…
Deliveroo Spice Map 2018
Deliveroo Revenue Statistics
Deliveroo takes as much as 35% from every order it processes, depending on whether Deliveroo couriers or the restaurant itself is making the delivery.
In 2019, Deliveroo revenue grew by 72% to reach £476 million.
Revenue growth has been slowing from the early days of rapid expansion, as we might expect. Deliveroo revenue increased by 600% in 2016, to £129 million ($173 million). In 2017, we saw 116% growth in Deliveroo revenue reported in 2017, giving us a total of £277 million ($350 million).
What is more of a concern is that the business continues to run at a considerable loss due to its high cost structure – £129 million in 2016, rising to £185 million in 2017, and finally to £232 million in 2018. These figures are pre-tax.
Its gross profit figure is, however, on the up, suggesting that it is moving towards curbing its losses. In 2018, this figure stood at £91 million, up from £64 million in 2017, and a mere £1 million the previous year. 2018 Operating expenses of £349 million, however, put paid to any ultimate notion of Deliveroo profitability.
If its automation plan comes to fruition, we are likely to see Deliveroo move confidentially towards net profitability. This would also see the average cost of a meal halved from £24 to £12, thus presumably increasing the volume of orders – that is if customers go for automated food…
Deliveroo was found to be the fastest-growing company in Europe. Between 2013 and 2016, its revenue increased by over 100,000%, according to Financial Times/Statista figures. Its compound annual growth rate over this period was 923% – which is comfortably more than twice the percentage of the second-placed company, German energy startup Thermondo (the total revenue growth figure stood at nearly 10 times greater.).
In taking the top spot, it deposed the leading name in the previous iteration of the list (now in 18th place), food delivery rival HelloFresh.
The following year’s dataset saw Deliveroo fall to second place for the years 2014-2017, wtih total revenue growth of 15,749%, at a CAGR of 441%. By the time we got to 2015-2019, Deliveroo had fallen out of the ranking altogether.
It was the same story in Deloitte’s UK Fast 50, which Deliveroo became the first company to top two years in a row in 2017 and 2018, before vanishing from the list completely.
A study by Capital Economics shows that Deliveroo boosted the UK economy by £372 million ($470 million) over the 2016/17 financial year. Sustained growth would see the economic contribution increase to £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion).
A year later it was predicted that Deliveroo would contribute a total of £4 billion worth of economic output in its markets by 2020. These predictions were made pre-coronavirus.
The virus hit Deliveroo hard, however, with 15% of its 2,500 strong workforce made redundant. The model, it seems, leaned heavily on big-name chain restaurants. With many of these closing their doors during the pandemic, order numbers decreased.
At the time of writing, these big names were once again opening these doors, and the Amazon investment had recently been approved. This may spell a recovery, or at least a respite for Deliveroo. On the other hand, Deliveroo’s supposed focus on local restaurants has been shown up to be something of a fallacy.
In September 2017, Deliveroo was valued at $2 billion (making it a unicorn), after winning $385 million in investment. This was the biggest investment made in Deliveroo to date, with a total of $860 million raised since the company’s founding according to Crunchbase, over eight funding rounds.
Prior to this, it had raised $275 million in August 2016, and $100 million in November 2015. Investors include Greenoaks Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates and Fidelity Management & Research
The 2017 valuation is notably lower than its key rivals. UK-rival Just Eat is valued at £4.7 billion ($5.9 billon), while Germany-based Delivery Hero has a market cap of $6 billion ($7.11 billion).
Deliveroo was said to have caught the eye of Uber, in a bid to build scale in their Uber Eats business. The two were reported to be in talks in September 2018, with talks of a £1.5 billion bid from the ride-hailing business ($1.9 billion). The Financial Times reports that Deliveroo would hold out for a price north of $4 billion (£3.2 billion), while the same figure represented the highest that Uber would be willing to bid.
Talk of this bid had a detrimental effect on Just Eat share prices, which dropped by nearly 5% in the wake of these reports. Ultimately, nothing came of the talks, with Deliveroo still seeming to be targeting a stock market flotation on their own steam – though voices in the financial sector believe that it could work out better for Deliveroo to accept a bid if it was made.
In April 2020, the UK Competition and Markets Authority provisionally approved a $575 million investment from Amazon into Deliveroo, initially made in late 2019. This represents a return to the food delivery business for Amazon, which closed down its own food delivery business in 2019, a year after suspending operations in London.
The valuation at which the investment made is unknown, though most observers believe it remains unchanged from the $2 billion valuation from the last investment round in September-November 2017. Previous reports indicated that Deliveroo was targeting a $4 billion valuation.
The food delivery market has grown in leaps and bounds in recent times, and looks set to continue to do so. As both eating out and ordering in have both become a central part of our lives in the 21st century – particularly if you happen to belong to the generations millennial and Z.
Deliveroo has managed to establish a crucial foothold in the lucrative UK market, preventing this sizeable food delivery market belonging entirely to Just Eat. Indeed, the site of cyclists in Deliveroo livery conveying large square insulated backpacks is a mainstay of UK city life.
Crucially, it managed to get in there before Uber Eats entered the game – which may well have put the kibosh on any other food delivery company competing seriously in the market, without serious disruptive potential.
While the market is competitive, Deliveroo also commands a valuable presence in Western Europe, as well as carrying out innovative operations in the Asia-Pacific region.
These innovations perhaps give an indication of the food delivery market of the future. Perhaps purists may feel a revulsion at the idea of food being created in ‘dark kitchens’ – let alone by machines. The ceding of creative and financial control of the food industry to an app developed to help bring takeaway to a hungry banker may also seem problematic. Will this create a multi-tiered market, will cheap automated food win the day – or will it be an abject failure as people regret the loss of the human element? One would have to be brave to predict what the future might hold…
Speaking of the human element, what will automation mean for the fleet of Deliveroo couriers? The gig economy is not known for its benevolent treatment of workers, but certainly, there’s an unpleasant air to the idea that maltreated workers will one day find themselves out of the job because a machine can do it for cheaper. A factor that will probably put paid to any sort of concerted resistance from the ordering public.
It will certainly be fascinating for industry observers to see the impact of a combined Uber-Deliveroo challenge to the market. If not, the fate of a publicly-listed Deliveroo will surely be equally as compelling. Certainly, the haemorrhaging of cash may not go down so well in this environment – perhaps creating extra impetus for the company to push forward with its ambitious plans for a bold new future, whatever people may think of that…