Irish tech unicorn Flipdish has launched a not-for-profit online directory of Irish restaurants and food businesses, Straightfrom. com, designed to act as an alternative to food marketplaces such as JustEat.
The site, which is free of charge, is open to all restaurants and takeaways, even if they are not customers of Flipdish. Flipdish chief executive Conor McCarthy said the initiative was intended to support the hospitality industry, which has been hard hit by the Covid pandemic.
“We see that people care a lot about their local businesses and they want them to succeed,” Mr McCarthy said. “People want to order from their local restaurants to help them, order from them directly as opposed to through marketplaces. But we were seeing consumers struggle with discovering restaurants, who can deliver to you, without going through a marketplace. StraightFrom.com came from trying to solve that problem.
The listings on the site are automated, pulled from a number of different sources such as Flipdish, and is available in all markets where Flipdish operates. More than 1,000 food businesses have been listed from Ireland, with more than 30,000 in total listed across the UK, US and Europe.
“We want to help the industry as a whole; it’s not just about Flipdish,” he said. “If there are more independent restaurants that are staying in business and thriving, then there will be more future customers for Flipdish. They don’t necessarily have to be customers of ours today.”
Food marketplaces charge fees to restaurants to feature on their services. According to independent analysis, aggregators have taken an estimated €120 billion in revenue over the course of the pandemic in Ireland, the UK, France and Spain, earning £2.5 billion in commissions in the UK, €1.1 billion in France and €1 billion in Spain. In Ireland, the commissions earned amount to more than €200 million.
However, Mr McCarthy said Flipdish has seen some customers leave the food marketplaces when they realise they can receive orders directly by using its platform.