Despite this hot summer day, the ballet of the delivery men seems unchanging at midday. In front of this hangar in Courbevoie, scooters congregate in front of the entrance to the Deliveroo kitchens. Inside, eight “dark kitchens” – that is to say, virtual restaurants only dedicated to delivery – are in full swing. No time to take a breather to prepare sushi, pizzas or burgers. The names of the brands whose dishes come from these special cuisines are known to Parisian “foodistas”: PNY, Le Camion qui fume, Le Petit Cambodge or even the Tripletta pizzas. Without forgetting Pierre Sang who will arrive shortly.
The delivery platform opened in Saint-Ouen in 2017 this “Editions” concept tested in London. The 500 square meters of Courbevoie followed at the end of 2018. Deliveroo thus rents the kitchen boxes to restaurateurs in exchange for a larger commission on the bill. The 18 m2 of each ghost kitchen can accommodate up to 5 people. In exchange, Deliveroo still takes up to almost 40% of the bill. “We do not have a fixed rent, boasts Gabriel Diaz, operations manager for Europe at Deliveroo Editions. At the beginning we approached restaurateurs. Now, it is they who come by themselves.” And to insist heavily: “the concept is now accepted. They are real restaurants, real products and real professionals.” As if it was allowed to doubt it.
Test the market
“This allows us to test areas to see if it’s worth setting up restaurants there or not,” explains Valentin Bauer, founder of Tripletta pizzerias, founder of a real restaurant in Belleville. Save a lot of time. Creating a place, whether it’s a sending kitchen or a restaurant, takes between 8 months and a year. With Deliveroo, in a month you can be up and running. ” The location of the Courbevoie site makes it possible, of course, to deliver the offices of La Défense, but also the well-to-do residents of Neuilly, Levallois and the 16th arrondissement of the capital.
Tripletta pizzerias have even created a virtual brand from Courbevoie online: Pinsatta. The pizzas are of size, and budget, smaller than usual. “Perfect for office lunches, for example” adds the founder of the brand. “We support our restaurateurs to create a suitable offer on our platform, comments Gabriel Diaz. We advise them to improve their” metrics “, the preparation time of the order or the quality of user notes.” In exchange for the presence in its kitchens, Deliveroo requires the exclusivity of the delivery of the sign on its platform. However, the test disappointed restaurateurs who preferred to shorten the experience.
“We were losing money”
“I am very happy to have left the Editions kitchens, explains a restaurateur wishing to remain anonymous. We were losing money. Even if on paper, the idea of not investing anything while developing the brand’s notoriety was attractive In reality, you feel like you are opening up your know-how to them while they keep the data and ultimately control the user experience without taking any risks. ” Without taking into account the proximity of the competition for this brand. “Clearly, it made us very drunk to work a few meters from signs that made the same type of food as us. We are very demanding on the know-how, the way we work the products and the installation. putting your main competitor in front of your kitchen is pretty phew. And there was nothing we could do about it. ” What about the platform data help? “The platforms promise to help you with the data but that’s bullshit. Basically they tell you how to create a brand of pizza but without specifying how much you will sell and how often. And that’s the heart. One of the big challenges for a restaurant is to predict volumes with fresh products. “
Anyway, with the green light from the British competition authority in early August, Amazon and investment funds are now authorized to inject $ 575 million into the platform. Deliveroo will thus use the new money to accelerate the openings of these ghost kitchens. An opening in the Paris suburbs is announced by the end of the year. Before Lyon, Bordeaux and maybe Lille next year.
Read alsoWhy you eat in ghost restaurants without knowing it
Amazon will deliver everything tomorrow
However, the model has not yet proven itself according to the sector expert, Bernard Boutboul, founder of the Gira firm. “What had to happen happened. Meal delivery has not yet taken off in France. And since that does not work, Deliveroo will play himself at being a restaurateur. They do not bother directly with customers but create a restaurant without tables or waiters in order to improve its economic profitability. ” Even by reducing costs, that would not mean making money in France. “In France to be delivered, you need a pretext. An evening, a football match or other, reminds Bernard Boutboul. The delivery is still an event in France and is not as common as in Anglo-Saxon countries . Amazon has put money into learning. And they will be able to deliver everything tomorrow, the hot pizza and the groceries at the same time. “
Not sure that the future of ghost kitchens will pass serenely in France. Before confinement, delivery men had stepped up punches in front of Deliveroo centers in the Paris region to denounce the practices of the platform. “These delivery hubs are an additional trap, says Jérôme Pimot of the collective of autonomous deliverers of Paris (Clap). This increases the control of platforms both on restaurant owners and on delivery men who are behind Deliveroo.” New action days are planned for the start of the school year.
Read alsoContainment: Deliveroo and Uber Eats replace restaurants with supermarkets
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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