Mark Brumby, of Langton Capital, presents a snapshot of the delivery market in the UK and asks whether the likes of Deliveroo and UberEats are friend or foe of the restaurant trade.

Where are we now?

• Operators don’t want to be on the wrong side of history

• Delivery isn’t new - but apps & Google Maps are

• Delivery may have become a ‘must-have’ accessory

Problems in practice:

• Nothing about food (price, temperature, consistency) improves over the journey

• Customers don’t want worse food, delivered late & at higher prices

• Restaurants may be using underutilised facilities

• But existing customers may be ignored, riders may antagonise nearby residents

• And, whilst the customer may desire convenience, who is making money here?

• Delivery: Deliveroo lost £129m to Dec 2016, has lost £163m since incorporation, & will have lost more in 2017

• Operators: They pay c20% to Deliveroo, Uber & Amazon & c14% to Just Eat. They need additional facilities to deal with increased collections

• Staff: Waiters lose out on tips, delivery drivers are hardly overpaid, jobs are insecure, etc

A current snapshot:

• Delivery is growing, it is convenient, it may be unstoppable, and it drives LfLs

• But it is only marginally profitable, it’s not green, not socially beneficial, etc.

• And it causes as well as solves a number of problems

• Re. new units, a dedicated collection point, perhaps at the rear, may work well

• But older, make-do operators may struggle with delivery & still alienate existing customers