In Battle With Uber Eats, Deliveroo Deploys Field Kitchens

  • Food delivery startup competing with Uber and Amazon
  • Company says kitchens will create 1,000 jobs in U.K.

In the increasingly intense battle between food delivery services, it’s no longer enough just to bring the food to the customers. Now Deliveroo, the London-based startup, is moving whole kitchens to new neighborhoods to gain an edge over rivals like Uber Eats, Amazon Restaurants, and Just Eat Plc.

Deliveroo, which has received $475 million in venture funding, will begin rolling out field kitchens to 30 locations throughout the U.K., allowing customers in new locations to order food from popular upscale restaurant chains such as MEATLiquor, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and Busaba Eathai, the company announced Wednesday.

"Using its own technology, Deliveroo can identify specific local cuisines missing in an area, identify customer demand for that cuisine and hand-pick restaurant brands that are most likely to appeal to customers in that area," the company said in a statement.

Deliveroo is facing increasing competition from other delivery providers, including Uber Eats, which launched in London nine months ago and announced in March it was expanding to 40 other U.K. cities. It also has to contend with Amazon, which has launched its restaurant delivery service in the U.K., targeting many of the same sorts of upscale eateries that Deliveroo has often seen as its key market.

The Deliveroo field kitchens, which are staffed with employees hired by the restaurants, lower the risks and costs a restaurant traditionally had to undertake to enter a new neighborhood, the company said.

If restaurants contribute to the capital investment in their "RooBox", as the field kitchens are called, Deliveroo charges the same commission it does when it provides delivery service for an established restaurant. In other cases, Deliveroo makes all the capital investments in the kitchen, but then charges a higher commission on each order, Deliveroo Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Will Shu said.

Deliveroo said the initial roll-out of these field kitchens, which Deliveroo has already piloted in a few London neighborhoods, would lead to the creation of 1,000 new jobs. The first location outside of London will be in Hove, outside of Brighton. It will also expand to other countries this year, including Singapore next week, and Dubai, Shu said.

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