The food delivery business Just Eat has been operating in Ireland for 10 years. Originally established in Denmark, the global company is valued at £5.6 billion and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. When Just Eat came on the scene 10 years ago it was considered a disruptor to the sector, but Managing Director of the Irish operation, Amanda Roche Kelly, said the company has enhanced a traditional industry that was already there.
"When we started, we started with just over 200 restaurants and around 11 cuisine types. Now we've over 2,000 restaurants, with over 40 cuisine types, so we're offering choice and diversity to consumers. So yes, we've disrupted a traditional industry but we are partners with our restaurants rather than being competitors now," Amanda Roche Kelly said.
Just Eat does not employ delivery drivers directly. It got into delivery two years ago because it was something restaurants asked the company to do. "The main thing we do is support our restaurants to add value, so when some restaurants came to us and asked us to introduce them to the whole delivery model which was different to our self serve model of your traditional take-away restaurant, we decided to look into it for them and partner with third party delivery companies," Ms Roche Kelly explained. "So they own the drivers. They promote our brand so they don't deliver or work directly for Just Eat."
It was not a business that Just Eat wanted to get into, it was support that the company was asked to provide to other restaurants. "It is something that we are investing in slowly, and we'll see where it goes from here," she added.
Just Eat uses data analytics to inform and advise restaurants and take-aways. Ms Roche Kelly said they use these insights to help inform their customers' decisions. "We inform decisions around menu creation, about opening hours, location of restaurants and popular cuisines that they could provide. It sounds very simple but they are the key things to having a successful restaurant," she said.
Healthy options is becoming a big trend in Ireland, particularly when you look at what people are eating at all times of the day. "Our healthy orders have increased 18 fold since we started. We are very specific down to gluten free, paleo, but the usual pizza and chinese, that's what the Irish love. We try to cover all tastes with our 40 cuisine types."
Just Eat is an innovator in the market place. It recently introduced robots to deliver food in the UK. "We are actually a technology company, delivering food, so technology is at the heart of everything we do. We try to answer the consumer need, and deliver food whatever way they want to order it." Robots are travelling around London, delivering food but there are no immediate plans to introduce them here. "Dublin is probably in the plans in the very near future," she said.
MORNING BRIEFS - AIB has agreed a deal with so called vulture fund Cerberus to acquire a portfolio of non-performing loans. The bank said the loan sale involved around 800 customers, and the loans were sold for €800m. AIB said the deal excluded own occupier loans and loans to family farms, and are mainly commercial and buy-to-let loans.
*** Over €415m is being invested in programmes this year to meet the skill need of the economy, according to the National Training Fund Expenditure Report published today. The investment will see the Government expand the number of apprentices, trainees, Springboard and Skillnet participants by nearly 10,000.
*** French energy giant Total is preparing to pull out of a billion dollar gas project in Iran in the face of renewed US sanctions. Total said it will unwind operations unless sanctions are waived. The US is re-imposing strict sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the 2015 deal to curb the country's nuclear programme.
*** Tower Holdings Group are today applying for planning permission for a €20m office building on the edge of Cork's docklands. The application is for a 15 storey, glass fronted triangular structure, which, if planning is granted will be called The Prism Building.