Bill’s doesn’t fear delivery channel eating into business

Mark Fox, CEO

The boss of Bill’s Restaurants does not fear the prospect of home delivery cannibalising restaurant sales as he believes customers prefer the experience of eating out at its sites.

While third party delivery currently remains a massive challenge for the restaurant industry, Bill’s CEO Mark Fox said he was confident the brand could juggle both models.

“This is probably going to be a bit controversial with my restaurant colleagues but I think Deliveroo is a good thing. I don’t like having to pay lots of money to Deliveroo to deliver my product to people, clearly, but I’ve come from a delivery business — I used to run the Pizza Hut delivery business — so I know much it costs to deliver an item. To be fair, what Deliveroo charge is not far off what it costs to deliver an item, so I think at that level I think delivery is a good thing. Why? It gets my product to guests who can’t come to me.”

Bill’s currently operates 76 restaurants and is in the process of opening another too. Mr Fox admitted his views on delivery were likely to differ from others in the restaurant sectors because he feels that customers visit Bill’s for more than just the food.

“The food is important, don’t get me wrong, we spend a lot of time on it, we have hired in the best people we can find in food and we spend a lot of time deliberating over what food we do and how we do it. But it is also about the environment, too. Our restaurants are lovely places to be and the service you get layered on top gives that feeling of being special. Our restaurants are lovely places to be and that can’t be replicated in delivery.”

Mr Fox predicts that that delivery will remain a “relatively small” part of Bill’s business and therefore largely incremental. But he acknowledges that not all restaurant operators will feel the same way.

“If you’re a restaurant business that is catering more for that ‘can’t be bothered to cook’ occasion, rather than a treat occasion, and you’re mixing at 15% of your sales on Deliveroo, then I think it probably feels very different,” he said.

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