Deliveroo is an online food delivery company that originally allowed customers to order food from restaurants that did not have their own takeout or delivery service, although it now also works with restaurants that employ their own drivers but use the website as an ordering system. It is a company that has had a significant impact on the food industry in recent years, and one of the company’s aims is to change the way people eat. Deliveroo has received a lot of attention in the media, both positive and negative. Although most people are aware of Deliveroo’s existence and may have used their services themselves, there are many things about the company that people might not know. Here are 20 things you didn’t know about Deliveroo.
1. Will Shu Co-Founded Deliveroo in 2013
Will Shu founded Deliveroo in 2013 from his living room in his London home. Before founding the delivery company, Shu worked as a financial analyst and investment banker. Shu was born in Connecticut in 1979, and his parents are Taiwanese. He worked in New York before moving to London to work for Morgan Stanley. Currently, Will Shu lives in Notting Hill, London, and he is unmarried with no children.
2. Deliveroo Filled a Gap in the Market for Food Delivery
Shu’s inspiration for Deliveroo came to him when he moved to London. He was delighted by the food scene, as there are amazing restaurants serving cuisine from across the globe. However, he was surprised to learn how few of the restaurants offered a delivery service. He started Deliveroo to fill the demand for food delivery, so people had more choices than the traditional takeout, such as Chinese, Indian, and pizza.
3. Greg Orlowski Was the Co-Founder Who Left
While Will Shu is the CEO of Deliveroo, and it is commonly known that he founded the company, people often forget or do not know that Greg Orlowski was a co-founder of the business. He became Deliveroo’s Chief Technology Officer as he was the architect and lead developer of the company’s logistics and website. Orlowski quit the company in 2016, just three years after it was founded, says The Evening Standard. His decision followed the birth of his daughter, and Orlowski returned to Chicago to spend more time with his wife and daughter. Shu and Orlowski were childhood friends, and they have remained friends even though they are no longer business partners.
4. It Operates in More Than 200 Locations
As the company has expanded, they now operate in more than 200 locations across the globe. The locations are in countries including the UK, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The company’s headquarters are in London. In the past, the service was also available in Germany and Taiwan.
5. There Are Both Employed and Self-Employed Staff
Although there are 2,300 people employed by Deliveroo, many in offices, the courier drivers are self-employed. In September 2016, it was estimated that there were more than 30,000 self-employed couriers delivering food for Deliveroo. This number continues to grow as Deliveroo continues to expand its services to more locations.
6. There Is a Subsidiary and a Subscription Service
In April 2017, Deliveroo launched a subsidiary company called Deliveroo Editions. It is a food delivery service that delivers food for ghost restaurants, which are delivery-only kitchens that do not have high-street restaurant premises. The delivery service helps these kitchens to access customers. Deliveroo uses data to identify areas where certain cuisines are more popular to predict what will become a success. Deliveroo introduced Deliveroo Plus in November 2017. It is a subscription service that is ideal for people who use the service regularly. By subscribing, the customers pay a fixed rate each month, and it entitles them to unlimited free delivery. Deliveroo Plus is currently only available in the UK.
7. Deliveroo Uses an Algorithm Called Frank
The technology team at Deliveroo developed an Algorithm with the nickname ‘Frank.’ The algorithm is based on predictive technology, and it was developed in the UK. Deliveroo uses the technology to analyze the best and most efficient way of distributing food orders based on the locations of the customers, restaurants, and riders. The aim of the technology is to streamline the delivery experience, as it predicts times for food preparation and delivery. Deliveroo has already reduced delivery times by 20% using this algorithm.
8. The Company Has a Deal with Heineken International
Although it is usually associated with food delivery, Deliveroo has also expanded into the delivery of drinks, as they have a contract with Heineken International. The deal was closed in November 2016 and involved Deliveroo delivering Heineken’s beers and ciders. Initially, the deliveries were taking place in 15 locations across London, Cardiff, and Bath. However, further locations were later added from 2017 onwards.
9. The Founders Are Award-Winners
Will Shu and Greg Orlowski won an award in June 2016 for the ‘Best Startup Founders.’ The award was part of the Europas Startup Conference and Awards. At the same event, they also won the Europas Grand Prix Award and the Fastest Rising Startup of the Year.
10. Deliveroo Makes Money from Commissions
Deliveroo makes most of its money commissions, as both the restaurant and the customer pay a fee to Deliveroo for delivering the food. Product Mint says that they also make money through their subscription service and selling food through their own cloud kitchens.
11. It Has Never Made a Profit
Despite the business being in operation since 2013, winning awards, and constantly expanding, it has never turned a profit. In fact, it makes substantial losses every year. Shu has explained that this is because there are additional costs as the company grows. Although the company has never turned a profit, it is still considered in the business world as a successful business due to its rate of expansion.
12. They Have Major Competitors
Deliveroo is not the only company of its type in the food delivery industry, so it has some major competitors. Some of Deliveroo’s major competitors include Just Eat, UberEATS, and GrubHub. Another is Foodora, which is a similar service that was established in Germany, and now also operates in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
13. Deliveroo Has Raised More Than $1.35 Billion in Funding
The main that Deliveroo has lasted for so long and continued to expand is that money has been raised in various funding rounds. The Series A investment round was in June 2014, and $2.75 million was raised. Seven months later, Series B funding raised a further $25 million. Another $70 million was secured in Series C investment in July 2015, while Series D five months later raised $100 million. Deliveroo secured $275 million in investments in Series E in August 2016, and Series F raised $385 million in September 2017. Finally, Deliveroo raised $575 million in Series G in May 2019, and this round of investment was led by Amazon. In total, Deliveroo has received $1.35 billion in funding.
14. Deliveroo’s Entry to the Stock Market Was a Disaster
One of the most recent events in Deliveroo’s history was when it was listed on the London Stock Exchange with an IPO in March 2021. Unfortunately, it did not go well, as it lost 31 percent of its value on the first day. The starting point of the market capitalization was £7.6 billion, and it declined to almost £2 billion in one day. It was reported that one of Deliveroo’s bankers described the event as the ‘worst IPO in London’s history.’
15. They Introduced Rider Safety Measures
One of the areas of controversy surrounding Deliveroo was the safety of the drivers. Some people expressed concerns that Deliveroo did not do enough to ensure that their couriers were safe, such as delivering appropriate road safety training. Deliveroo responded by implementing a range of measures to improve their drivers’ safety while at work. In response to concerns over attacks on moped drivers in the summer of 2017, they introduced an app that allowed drivers to report safety concerns, hired 50 staff to focus on rider safety, and trialed helmet cameras.
16. Deliveroo Asked for Changes to Self-Employment Legislation
Although Deliveroo has faced criticism of their self-employed staff, they have also attempted to make a positive change to self-employment legislation in the UK. The Taylor Review, conducted during Theresa May’s parliament, looked into employment practices in the modern UK economy. Deliveroo submitted to the review a request for the government to amend current employment legislation so that they could give their self-employed workers some of the same rights as their employed workers, such as sick pay and injury pay.
17. The Company No Longer Operates in Germany
In the past, Deliveroo operated in Germany, but that is no longer the case. The company sent out emails to their German customers announcing their decision to leave the German market in August 2019. The reason they gave was that they were unable to provide a good enough service. Deliveroo also stated that they wanted to focus on other markets.
18. There Were Problems Introducing the Service in Taiwan
Deliveroo has also previously operated in Taiwan, but they faced various problems introducing their services to that country. They first entered the Taiwanese market in October 2018 and almost immediately ran into problems due to Taiwanese employment laws. The first issue was the status of the drivers, as they were not considered employees according to Taiwanese law. Therefore, there were issues regarding whether Deliveroo was responsible for providing labor insurance. The labor ministry cautioned Deliveroo, as they argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Act also applied to contractors, which is how the drivers were classified. In the same year, safety regulations were proposed by the Sharing Economy Association Taiwan, to which Deliveroo and other courier services agreed. Deliveroo was then fined for violations of the Highway Act by the Directorate General of Highways. After facing so many issues operating in Taiwan, Deliveroo announced its exit in April 2021, just 18 months after first entering the market.
19. Drivers in London Held a Strike in 2016
One of the many issues that Deliveroo has faced since it was founded in 2013 is staff discontent. Staff in the UK conducted a strike in August 2016. It was in protest to a new pay plan Deliveroo was implementing, and the staff was worried they would receive below the minimum wage and continue not to receive accident or sick pay. A similar strike took place in Berlin in May 2017, when German workers protested about their working conditions. British workers based in London also attracted media attention by demanding that drivers could seek union recognition by Deliveroo, but this was dismissed by the courts as drivers are classed as self-employed. The response from Deliveroo was that it was a victory for other riders who enjoyed the flexibility of self-employment.
20. The Company’s Founder Is Still One of the Delivery Drivers
While many CEOs sit in their office and take no active role in the company’s day-to-day operations, Will Shu has taken a different approach. When he founded the company, he was Deliveroo’s first courier driver, delivering food around London. While he has stepped back from being a delivery driver to focus on managing the company, he still enjoys delivering the food a couple of times a month, says CNBC. Not only does he enjoy being one of the couriers, he also thinks that it is important that he understands the challenges the drivers face.