It’s an exciting time to be on demand delivery service Deliveroo. The business, which allows consumers to order food from local restaurants, has just launched in Perth, making it the fourth Australian and 100th international location for the company.
The business has also recently re-branded; announced it will offer alcohol delivery in Melbourne; and signalled a new venture, RooBox, which will bring restaurant quality food to developments further from major cities. We sat down with Australia country manager, Levi Aron, to discuss these changes and the challenges of being on demand.
Why have you started in Perth?
Perth is somewhere we’ve wanted to go for a while. It’s an exciting city with great restaurants and we know the consumers are quite savvy when it comes to smartphones and ordering online.
We’ve built up operations and support and are happy with how these work, so now we’re in a position where we can go into Perth. Because of the time difference and other intricate details like it being more remote we had to wait a bit.
Is Australia a strong market for Deliveroo?
We’re in 12 countries [and] Australia is in the top four countries in terms of volume and expansion—it’s a very important country for Deliveroo. Everyone is hearing about it but not everyone can access it yet, so we want to make it relevant to as many people as possible.
What sparked the rebrand?
As we introduce new products and services we wanted a brand that could do all this for us. We’re now offering alcohol in Melbourne, we can do later deliveries past midnight in Melbourne and Sydney because of Perth, and we have RooBox.
It was also about safety—our riders work late at night so we invested in reflective gear so riders are very visible. Safety comes first.
What challenges have you faced while growing the business?
We’re very lucky because we have strong messaging both digitally and offline. Like any brand we do need to do an education piece, and launching in a new city means you have to start all over again.
Food delivery was not always a great experience—it was often something you did because you had no other choice. So we’re educating people that this isn’t cheap and nasty delivery. This is delivery from restaurants you have probably been to, it’s hyper local.
Do you think on demand retail models like Deliveroo are becoming more popular?
I believe a lot of people are looking at the on demand space in fascinating ways (like on demand dog walkers). I think it’s quite an interesting space but at the very core you need to make sure what you’re building isn’t a fad but a sustainable business that makes sense.
The unit economics of the way a business works is extremely important. Food is something that everyone does so it’s something we know is very personal to everybody. Other industries you might not need all the time.
How is Deliveroo changing the way consumers think about retail?
I think in some ways we’re our own worst enemy. We’re excited to bring more innovation and technology to the sector, for example when you place an order you can track it every step of the way, and it’s fascinating to have this ability.
So we keep raising the bar…. While that’s great for the consumer it means that as we keep raising the bar in terms of expectations we have to continually step up as well. Consumers forget how things used to be even a year ago.
What’s next for Deliveroo in Australia?
We’ll expand further in the cities we’re already in, but we’re also planning on opening up in more cities.
As we grow further within the Australian landscape it’s about our teams. Whether you’re a retailer or a start-up, it’s all about building strong teams.