Just Eat explores catering equipment supply deals for restaurant partners

Robin Clark, business partnerships director

Online food order and delivery service Just Eat could facilitate the supply of catering equipment to the 30,000 restaurants it serves in the UK as part of plans to add more value to its customer base.

18 months ago the company, which processes two million orders every week, set up a ‘Restaurant Services’ division aimed at helping the restaurants on its platform save money by exploiting economies of scale on their behalf.

Just Eat claims restaurants are already saving thousands of pounds from centralised agreements it has created for food, utilities and electronic card payments, and it is now looking to add services that benefit other parts of their businesses, including kitchen equipment.

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Robin Clark, business partnerships director at Just Eat, revealed at the CESA annual conference that it had recently surveyed more than a thousand restaurants on the services they would like to see next and kitchen hardware came out on top.

“I think the focus for us is to drive the top three services at the moment — card transactions, utilities and food — but over the course of 2018 we will also be exploring how we do something in this space. The average restaurant probably spends about £40,000 to £50,000 to set up the equipment in their kitchen. And if you think about the replacement cycle, perhaps once every nine or 10 years, then if you do the maths — and people have told tell me this might be right or wrong — but maybe it’s about a £300m market with our restaurants.”

Mr Clark revealed that Just Eat had already begun conversations with different catering equipment manufacturers, although he did not specify who was talking to or how many suppliers he would be looking to limit any agreements to.

“There are 28,000 restaurants on our platform doing £2 billion worth of food and drink. What business wouldn’t be interested in having a conversation to see how we can help both sides?” he said.

Mr Clark suggested the benefit of working with preferred partners in areas such as food and catering equipment was a more satisfied and profitable customer base, as opposed to any direct financial incentive for itself.

“Restaurants love it, and we love it because it’s helping our restaurants, there’s nothing in it for us. This is not about a revenue stream for Just Eat. We have a very simple revenue model, 14% on every order, but we’re helping our restaurants to save. If you think about the top three deals — food, card payments and energy — we know that from the data we have got already that restaurants will save over 60% of the commission they pay to Just Eat.”

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