Just Eat goes all out for lunch ordering service

Online takeaway platform is marketing its offer with a promise to ‘liberate your lunchtime’

“It’s all about ‘yes, the takeaway is here!’,” says Amanda Roche-Kelly, of the “mini fist bump” ads for ordering site Just Eat. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Fennell Photography

“It’s all about ‘yes, the takeaway is here!’,” says Amanda Roche-Kelly, of the “mini fist bump” ads for ordering site Just Eat. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Fennell Photography

 

Lunch is back, according to Just Eat. Consumer confidence is up, and the instinct to “brown-bag it” is waning. It’s just the right time for the online takeaway ordering service to pick up some business earlier in the day, it says.

To the streets of Dublin, Just Eat has sent forth a promotional figure called the “Lunchtime Liberator”, as well as some voucher-distributing eco cabs, to announce that it has signed up 150 food outlets to its ordering platform for a lunchtime collection service.

A television advertising and social media campaign has been launched on the premise that Just Eat can “give workers back that 10 minutes” they might spend queueing.

Ireland is one of the first of Just Eat’s markets to chase lunch, and Irish smartphone adoption rates make it “a pretty good place to trial things”, says Amanda Roche-Kelly, managing director of Just Eat in Ireland. “We’re being watched very closely by the group.”

Slow burner

In the first year, lunch is only expected to generate 2 per cent of Just Eat’s total business.

The company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and employs 41 people in Dublin, received two million orders last year, up 58 per cent, and it says its platform delivers about €30 million to the Irish takeaway industry. For each order, Just Eat charges its “TR” (takeaway restaurant) partners a commission of 12 per cent. “Nobody gets any special treatment,” says Roche-Kelly. “They know how much it costs to be with us, but they also see how we reinvest that.”

For the lunchtime service, Just Eat hasn’t eliminated what it calls the “traditional TRs” – meaning pizza, Chinese and Thai outlets – but the main focus is sellers of sandwiches, salads and wraps. These include Brother Hubbard, Lolly and Cooks, the Punnet, Oxmantown, Chopped and the Artisan Parlour (all in Dublin), as well as Wagamama in Cork, Amber’s Spring Asian in Limerick and Dough Bros in Galway. Some deliver, but many will offer a collection service only.

“We have always been looking to put on healthier and different cuisine types, and that naturally led to a lunchtime offer for us,” says Roche-Kelly. “The typical question is, ‘Is this not really unhealthy?’. And I love that question, because I can say, ‘No, look at all these options’. But if you want that stuffed crust pizza, it’s there.”

Concept

“It’s all about ‘yes, the takeaway is here!’” Roche-Kelly says.

It’s the independent outlets rather than the bigger chains that have something to gain by getting into bed with Just Eat.

“They don’t have the budget to set up apps and websites, and they don’t have the budget to market themselves on TV, or even in newspapers,” Roche-Kelly says.

The eateries Just Eat approached weren’t always convinced, however. “I’ll be honest, they wouldn’t have seen themselves in this space. Probably their first reaction was, ‘Oh no, that’s not for us’,” Roche-Kelly says.

Reviews are another key feature of Just-Eat.ie and its app, and takeaway restaurants that regularly prompt negative feedback from “hangry” (hungry and angry) customers will be taken off the service, she adds.

The company has 1,700 takeaways signed up and 750,000 active users, while its app has been downloaded 320,000 times. “We’re expecting another year of high growth. There’s going to be a time when the market is maturing,” says Roche-Kelly, “but we’re not there yet.”