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Latest Editions: how delivery-only kitchens are shaping the restaurant sector

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

How delivery-only kitchens are shaping the restaurant sector

Related tags: delivery, Deliveroo, Hostech

Delivery-only kitchens have emerged as one of the most intriguing elements of the fast-growing delivery space, particularly during a time when restaurants have been unable to seat dine-in guests.

Allowing operators to optimise smart kitchens solely for delivery purposes, delivery-only kitchens utilise technology to streamline the process, from ordering, to prep, to dispatch, to last mile delivery.

Pioneered by Deliveroo’s Editions, the model has spawned a new currency of virtual restaurant brands, and the potential for spin-off concepts, which can be road-tested in new locations with little of the capex required for traditional bricks and mortar restaurants. This has allowed relatively small operators, such as Oowee Diner and The Athenian, to embark on regional expansion plans that might otherwise have alluded them. As well as offering smaller operators a low-cost roll-out, the Editions model has caught the eye of more established brands, with Dishoom and Shake Shack debuting on the platform during the past year.

Launched in 2017, Deliveroo Editions is run by Nigel Rivers, general manager of global site operations. Overseeing the concept since its inception, originally as director of site operations, Rivers was previously operations director at TRG concessions and Tragus Group.

How has the technology powering Editions developed since the platform first launched?

Deliveroo pioneered the creation of delivery-only kitchens, which we call Deliveroo Editions, back in April 2017 and we now have 32 sites globally. Tech is very much at the heart of Editions and how we scale them. We've developed and adopted tech solutions to support our restaurant partners in a range of different areas, including customer experience and food safety. 

What are some of the tech features that have bolstered the service and made it more efficient?

There are a number of examples but I'll start by highlighting the two main areas we've focused on for efficiency: our proprietary technology behind prep time accuracy and the app based software to manage operational standards. With on-demand food delivery, lower prep times typically lead to a shorter order duration for the customer. We have focused on pinpointing the timing of orders being ready for collection, so we can ensure the food reaches the customer in the best condition. Our goal here was to simplify the dispatch process for riders and shave time on the order duration for customers, all while focusing on the quality of food that arrives at the customers door. On operational standards, we introduced an app-based approach to monitor the completion of daily compliance checks and management functions. This was to ensure we nurtured a food safety culture throughout the business and set our restaurant partners up for success. The software also operates as a distance management tool allowing our team to have full visibility of all operations across the eight international markets in which Editions operates.

What data are you able to feed back to restaurant partners?

Data plays a huge part in what we offer to our Editions restaurant partners. We are focused on operational excellence at every stage of the customer journey. Getting it right the first time is paramount for our partners and so we work with them to provide daily feedback especially around operational errors such as rejected orders and missing items. Looking at the granular data helps our partners get to the root cause of any operational issues they might have - from layout to ingredients - to get a consistently better result. 

How does data inform the location of new sites and the operator types that go into the kitchens?

We've built out the technology that allows our restaurant partners to easily expand into new areas and being guided by our data insights about which cuisines will be popular in certain areas. This enables restaurant expansion at both a lower cost, as it's without the need for an expensive high street premise, and also a lower risk as the decisions are made on the basis of real time information and data.

Do you see Editions as becoming the dominant platform for Deliveroo, or continuing to operate alongside bricks and mortar restaurant delivery?

For us it's not really an 'either or' situation, they work hand in hand. The purpose of opening Editions sites has always been to add a greater selection and service for our customers choosing online delivery. It's easy to view Editions as a preferred expansion route, due to the rapid growth that it can provide, but we very much see the two as complementary to our wider business goal of providing people with a variety of great food options.

Are there any new tech features that you plan to introduce at Editions?

Editions form a big part of our growth plan as a business, and I look forward to sharing more of those details soon. In 2021, we're expecting to double the number of sites that we currently have, so watch this space.

What does your data tell you about the future direction of food delivery, in terms of cuisine preferences and what travels best?

Every year, we release data for the 10 most popular food items by region. Additionally, we recently released a brand new report called the 'Share of Stomach', which looks into growing trends that can help small and independent restaurants reach new customers. The report includes insights into the changing tastes of customers, and contains advice on how restaurants can adapt and grow their business. 

Learn more about what your customers want from delivery with Deliveroo's Share of Stomach report, which can be downloaded here

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