In Focus
FOOD SERVICES | Staff Reporter, UK

EXCLUSIVE: Uber Eats on Industry Dynamics and How Restaurants Can Use Technology to Drive Sales

Find out more about their perspective on the status of food delivery in the UK.

Despite intense competition within the food delivery space, Uber Eats UK General Manager Toussaint Wattinne believes their slice of the food delivery pie will only increase.

QSR Media went to find out why, and learn more about their perspective on the market and their competition. 

QSR Media: How do you differentiate yourselves from other food delivery companies such as Just Eat and Deliveroo?

Our model is similar to Deliveroo’s but we try to differentiate ourselves in several ways. First among these are the benefits of being part of the broader Uber brand. When people use their Uber Eats app, they do so using the same log-in and payment details as they do for Uber cars. By breaking down the barriers between our services, we can increase conversion rates and the speed with which we are making diners out of riders and riders out of diners. This is a huge asset that none of our competitors can match.

The second differentiator is on the logistics side. We've built the best technology in the market. Given our background, the technology has by necessity been built to be highly efficient, highly reliable and quick at working out the best routes to get meals to customers. For example, in a city like London we deliver in under 23 minutes on average- this is the fastest of any company in this space, and we know that every minute you can shave off a delivery makes a huge difference to overall customer satisfaction.

The third differentiator is our ability to support our restaurant partners through data. Because it is a business that is very much led by the food and drink offering; we can offer both quality and choice. This isn't just about having a variety of restaurants on our platform, it's about using our data and working with our restaurant customers to bring them more business. Typically, this is a major reason why restaurants are excited to work with us.

QSR Media: You mentioned shortening delivery times - how do you do this?
We do it by breaking up every single point of a delivery period. It starts with making sure that preparation time is reduced as much as possible. From here it's about making sure that we have the logistics in place to make a courier available when the food is ready and then that we have the most efficient possible route to get the order to the end user.

Beyond this, it's also about making sure the customer is nudged to choose the restaurants closer to them. If they are looking for a specific brand, then of course they should go for it regardless of the distance. However in cases where people haven't chosen a specific restaurant making sure that we're able to steer them to the restaurants that are the closest to them is what we help them to do. We know that doing this makes a difference to customer satisfaction which in turn adds to repeat app usage.

QSR Media: You also mentioned utilizing your data - how do you do this?
For example, we provide insights around what menu items our restaurants could offer in their given areas that are underserved by the market. These sales are highly incremental not only versus in-store sales but also versus what our competition is able to offer.

QSR Media: How many delivery companies do you think there can be in the UK?
Food delivery in general is still growing. Within food delivery, online food delivery is still only a portion of this. This means there's still huge potential for growth. We're growing fastest within the online category but there is more than enough demand to accommodate a number of providers. I don't expect it to be a one-player market because restaurants are excited about the opportunity to have more volume coming from multiple partners. They see that having two apps bring you more volume than just one.

And from the end customer point of view, we are investing heavily into educating the offline food delivery users as well as non-delivery users that have not yet converted. We need to educate them on the benefits of getting the food you love delivered in such a convenient way at such a low price.

If we’re able to do that well, we're actually expanding the pie much faster than we are cannibalizing it. This is the dynamic that's going on right now so the reason why there's more investment is because of how fast the pie is growing rather than anything else.

QSR Media: How do you plan to entice more customers to shift from ordering via phone to ordering through your app?
You need to be extremely clear on both the rationale and emotional benefit that you're bringing to the end user. When the convenience is extraordinary and the choice is extraordinary, people typically not only go for the food they want and come to us; they're excited to use it but because they discover new food once they go into the app. One area we're investing a lot into is awareness marketing.

(Photo credit: Uber Eats Facebook page)

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