Food Delivery Gets A Tech Upgrade

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foodRestaurants have delivered food to people’s homes for decades, but now the sector is being disrupted by a raft of technology startups removing pain-points for consumers and vendors. Investors believe the category will spawn a number of billion dollar companies in Europe, ?described as ‘unicorns’.

“It’s driven by a convergence of trends: convenience, increased penetration of smartphones, recession-learned frugal habits (as it’s often cheaper than eating out), the home becoming more of a center for entertainment (again driven by the recession) and increased availability,” explains Euromonitor’s Head of Strategic, Economic and Consumer Insight Sarah Boumphrey, who adds that apps have spurred growth in the sector.

Just Eat formed part of the first wave of tech companies in the food delivery space

Just Eat formed part of the first wave of tech companies in the food delivery space Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

First wave

One of the early pioneers was Danish startup Just Eat, launched in 2001 and which debuted on the London Stock Exchange 16 months ago. The web-based service offers menu aggregation and a secure online ordering and payment system to restaurants so they don’t have to invest in their own web systems. The model is echoed by other companies such as Dutch-founded TakeAway.com and Berlin-based Delivery Hero.

“These companies are still growing quickly because they have solved big headaches experienced by independent restaurants,” explains Alessandro Casartelli, Vice President at tech-focused investment bank GP Bullhound.?

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