It seems like a boy’s book story. Dutch Jitse Groen, founder of Thuisbezorgd.nl, Take Away, will create one of the largest meal delivery companies in the world with the merger with JustEat. With a leading position in Europe, Take Away makes it even harder for competitors Uber Eats and Deliveroo to make money. What are the benefits for consumers?
It is impossible to imagine our streets without meal delivery services anymore. In the Netherlands, consumers get more than 300 million meals delivered this year. There are more than 50,000 meal deliveries in Amsterdam every evening. The growing army of delivery bikes and scooters from Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat don’t respect any traffic rule. Driving through red lights, over the sidewalks, all in a hurry. The results: many dead and injured meal delivery drivers, often without insurance.
At first, I thought it would bring something good to the neighborhood. Nice to see all those young delivery men and women on their bikes. Really an Amsterdam picture. We love bikes. But with the growth in home delivery restaurants, more and more of those bikes and scooters are on the doorstep of those restaurants. Blocking the sidewalks in my neighborhood. Is it time for reclaiming public space and regulating the home delivery restaurant? Just like we have permits for terraces.
Home delivery brings extra sales for the restaurants. Their consumers appreciate it. But, will all those nice neighborhood restaurants survive this home delivery trend? I hope so. Take Away is working on a new revenue model in which restaurants will have to pay more for a good position in the app and on the website. Dutch Koninklijke Horeca Nederland is rightly concerned about the merger. Restaurants have only one option left for online presence.
Or will home delivery become the domain of the central soup kitchens of the large restaurant chains that are ‘top of the list’ on the website or app? I have a nightmare about ‘dark kitchens‘ on the outskirts of the city making faster driving even more necessary. That’s not good safety on our local roads.
Recently I walked in at a good Thai restaurant in the neighborhood. It was always nice, but not anymore. Empty tables. And, you don’t even know if it’s your turn soon. It turned out that there were ten online customers waiting, impatient and hasty home delivery customers for me. They always go first!
The kroepoek dish and a glass of white wine made the wait a bit sweet. But, when I see such a pink, green or orange jacket standing in front of the restaurant door, I now turn around. Then I’d rather eat at home. Home delivery of meals? Is it a curse or a blessing for the neighborhood? Have we brought in the Horse of Troy?
For now, it is 1-0 for Dutch CEO Jitse Groen. He is an inspiring top entrepreneur. In 2013 I was invited to join Jitse Groen to discuss his company when judging for the Dutch Home Shopping Awards. He didn’t want to know anything about delivering himself at that time; “Leave that to our restaurants.” He now understands like no other person how the market works. Well done!
Walther Ploos van Amstel.