Food delivery apps are booming in Australia, saving dinner with offers of haute cuisine or fast food
Food delivery apps are booming in Australia as services queue up to deliver anything from haute cuisine to booze to your door.
BEING too darned tired to cook dinner is creating a multibillion-dollar industry, and Australians are hungry for a piece of the pie.
Food delivery apps are skyrocketing in popularity and number, and they’re also upping their sophistication levels.
While pizza and fast food are still on the menu, more than 130 cuisines can now be ordered from the new services, and some are offering haute cuisine previously out of reach to those unwilling to leave home.
A recent study by YouGov found almost half of all Australians had ordered food online, and most would do it again.
UK export Deliveroo, which arrived in Brisbane two months ago, says it is growing 30 per cent every week, while the leading food delivery app, Menulog, added 1500 new restaurants to its service over the past 12 months.
Delivery Hero Australian chief executive Clive Thorpe says 600,000 new users have tried its service in New South Wales so far this year, and app-based food deliveries have changed the way we think about takeaway dinners.
“If you go back just five years ago, the market has completely changed,” he says. “Habits have moved from people who would have a drawer full of menus and flyers in the kitchen that they would pull out when they want to eat.
“We’ve been able to transfer restaurant menus to the internet and give consumers a choice of cuisines in their local suburbs … and they’ve got the convenience of paying online.”
Mr Thorpe says it’s not necessarily laziness fuelling the trend, as the services are not competing with homemade meals but takeaway food ordered over the phone.
“It’s just people’s habits changing,” he says. “The phone is still our major competitor.”
Competition among the new food delivery players is fierce, however.
UK food delivery platform Just Eat bought Menulog for an unprecedented $855 million in May last year.
Rival Delivery Hero responded by snapping up Melbourne and Sydney-based service Suppertime for an undisclosed sum in October, which it has since rebranded Foodora and launched in Brisbane this May.
Deliveroo chief executive Levi Aron says the company plans to grow beyond Australia’s three biggest capitals to serve the central business districts of Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.
All three firms are fighting for a stake in the industry Restaurant and Catering Australia estimates to be worth $16.4 billion.
For consumers who prefer to watch MasterChef than be part of it, however, the new services simply deliver a greater choice.
Delivery Hero and Menulog categorise food options by cuisine, rely on users to rate the food’s appeal, and organise orders for restaurants with their own drivers.
A recent app update lets Menulog customers reorder their favourites in two taps.
Foodora and Deliveroo offer fancier fare and provide their own food packaging and delivery staff for restaurants — often on bicycles — but their delivery areas are much more limited.
With so much competition, and technology improve so rapidly, can it be long before robots deliver our dinners?
“There’s lots of talk about drones, Domino’s have their little robot, but let’s be realistic,” Thorpe says. “Maybe in another 30 years the landscape will have changed with driverless cars, but until then it’s about working with local businesses.”
TOP FIVE FOOD DELIVERY APPS
Menulog: This Australian-founded food delivery app boasts more than 7000 food outlets and 130 cuisines.
Delivery Hero: Menulog’s biggest competitor delivers food nationwide and takes orders in its app or redesigned website.
Deliveroo: New to Brisbane, it delivers a wide variety of food, from the likes of Jamie’s Italian to Buffalo Bar, to a limited area around the city.
Foodora: Delivers cuisine from “only the best restaurants” to a limited area around Brisbane’s CBD. It offers fewer choices but a greater delivery area than Deliveroo.
UberEats: The ride-sharing service now delivers food in Australia, but only to Melbourne residences