Deliveroo is setting up a new £5m ‘innovation fund’ to invest in new chefs and restaurant concepts as part of a growth strategy underpinned by the ramping up of its so-called delivery-only super kitchens.
The move will see the company expand its programme of ‘Editions’ kitchens, providing an unrivalled operational platform for developing new concepts and sites.
Deliveroo’s delivery-only kitchens are already helping restaurant chains expand their customer base and increase their revenues, and the programme outlined today is designed to give even more operators the chance to bring new foods to new areas.
The £5m innovation fund will have a ring-fenced budget within Deliveroo and will be led from London by the team who ran the New York company Maple, which it acquired last year. Its priorities include investing in existing restaurants, introducing new brands, and supporting upcoming chef talent.
Deliveroo will invest in restaurants that it thinks have significant growth potential and will help them to expand in the UK and potentially internationally. Existing favourites will receive help developing new concepts, sometimes under new brands, in order to expand their cuisine offering.
Deliveroo will also invest in developing new concepts from scratch, which will be based at the company’s delivery-only Editions kitchens.
And it will hire budding new chefs to open delivery-only kitchens in areas where Deliveroo has identified that there is local demand for specific cuisines.
As a first step, at Deliveroo’s Cambridge Editions site, the fund will this month begin investing in a new pizza brand, ‘Nonna’s Square Pizzas’, pan-cooked square pizzas with thick crust, similar to Sicilian-style pizzas.
Additionally, Deliveroo says it will work with celebrity chefs to produce delivery-only concepts. The company will also seek to bring international favourites to the British market, enabling them to test the British market without having to first invest heavily in the UK.
Caleb Merkl, VP special projects, Deliveroo, said: “Deliveroo is excited to be setting up this fund to invest in UK restaurants. We are committed to supporting the sector and enabling restaurants to offer consumers as many new and exciting food options as possible. At a time when there are so many barriers for chefs wanting to turn their dream into reality, Deliveroo will use our expertise to help restaurants to expand and help budding chefs to have their first shot.”
Meanwhile, the expansion of Deliveroo’s delivery-only kitchens programme is poised to have huge implications for the market given its growth so far.
By partnering with Deliveroo Editions, restaurants are able to use delivery-only super kitchens to deliver to more homes without needing a high street presence in the area, enabling restaurants to overcome the costly barriers to entry of a new premise and expand more easily, at lower risk.
This year will see a rapid expansion of the programme in the UK. Deliveroo has added 51 new Editions super kitchens in 2017 in the UK, which took the programme to 74 kitchens in total. Deliveroo now works with nearly 40 restaurant partners in delivery-only kitchens in the UK in total.
It currently has 14 live sites in the UK and is opening more this year. A site has just opened in Battersea, with another to follow in Bermondsey. Outside of London, Deliveroo will open sites in Cambridge, Nottingham and Manchester.
Deliveroo expects that locations of delivery-only sites will move as Editions expands, as the company continually seeks to serve the maximum number of customers.
The programme is expanding around the world, with new sites recently opening in Singapore, Dubai and Melbourne, which join the site already open in Hong Kong. This year Deliveroo will open delivery-only super kitchens in Madrid, Paris, Sydney and Amsterdam.
By the end of the year Deliveroo will have 5 Editions sites in Europe with a total of 35 kitchens; and 11 sites in APAC with a total of 80 kitchens.
By the end of the year, Deliveroo will have 130 Editions kitchens in the UK and 250 globally.