Deliveroo says new software boosts earning power for riders

‘Frank’ algorithm cuts food delivery times by 20 per cent, online service says

Deliveroo now has more than 400 riders working its platform in the five largest Irish cities, of whom about 20 per cent are motorcyclists. Photograph: Mikael Buck/Deliveroo

Deliveroo now has more than 400 riders working its platform in the five largest Irish cities, of whom about 20 per cent are motorcyclists. Photograph: Mikael Buck/Deliveroo

 

Online food delivery service Deliveroo claims its self-employed riders can now earn more money for the same work after it deployed a new algorithm on its platform to cut delivery times by 20 per cent.

“Frank”, the new algorithm that allocates riders to nearby delivery jobs based upon a complex series of variables, was introduced at the beginning of the year, replacing its predecessor, “Louie”.

Louie essentially matched a delivery job with a free rider geographically closest to the pick-up point. Frank also takes into account other factors, such as riders who are not free but who are about to finish a job, the time it may take for the food to be cooked, and nearby riders who are already booked in for a simultaneous job on a similar route and can double up.

Deliveroo says Frank has cut delivery times by 20 per cent since January, allowing riders “to make more cash without working extra hours”.

Prioritising

Liam Keenan, the general manager of Deliveroo in Ireland, says the new algorithm may also, for example, prioritise motorcycle riders over cycle riders if the job is longer distance.

“As we scale up, we needed something more complex than Louie,” he said. Deliveroo now has more than 400 riders working its platform in the five largest Irish cities, of whom about 20 per cent are motorcyclists.

The average time from when a Deliveroo rider picks up an order to customer delivery is seven minutes, said Mr Keenan.

“The more efficient we make our algorithm and platform, the more time we can shave off that and the more money our drivers can make.”

Frank has been rolled out across all 12 markets in Europe and Asia in which the UK-headquartered company operates.

Deliveroo is part of the new so-called “gig economy”, where many workers are often casual or self-employed without the traditional working rights that accrue to workers in more traditional sectors.

The gig economy has been criticised by trade unions and some politicians for eroding workers rights, although companies such as Deliveroo dispute this and say they give their riders flexibility.

Mr Keenan said Deliveroo plans to introduce to Ireland Deliveroo Editions, which involves opening satellite kitchens to serve areas where there are plenty of residents but few restaurants, at the beginning of next year.

A plan to deliver alcohol to customers’ homes from drink suppliers in Ireland has been delayed, but is still on the agenda, Mr Keenan said.