Meals.co.uk is looking to carve out a slice of the £3Bn UK market for home delivery of restaurant food with a move into the London area for its service that provides a delivery, logistics and marketing service for quality casual dining restaurants that do not have delivery in place.
The move follows a successful one-year trial in Bristol and Bath that has seen the firm deliver 5,000 meals to over 2,700 customers, with a month-on-month growth rate of just under 30%. The start-up has already raised £500k in seed funding and aims to raise Series A funding in 2015 to enable the service to be rolled out across the UK over the next three years.
The idea for Meals.co.uk was the brainchild of a 37 year old Nigerian born founder, Dotun Olowoporoku, who supplemented his income after his PhD by working as a restaurant delivery driver. During this time he realised how hard it was for an individual restaurant to maintain a viable delivery infrastructure.
The Meals.co.uk web- and mobile app-based service matches up quality casual dining restaurants with customers in the local area, providing the logistics for orders and deliveries through its proprietary technology known as Marvin. Restaurants simply cook the food and tap into a potential additional revenue stream that the company claims could be on average £200k per year. Meals.co.uk makes its money from the delivery charge and a percentage of the order value.
The service aims to fill a gap in the market for restaurant quality food at home. Research shows that there are some 34,000 quality restaurants in the UK that do not offer a delivery service. “On the whole the standard of the average takeaway is poor and there is little in the way of a co-ordinated delivery service at the quality end of the market,” claims Dotun. “Our target customers are young professionals and busy working families who are time-poor and relatively cash-rich, but tired of the poor nutritional value and service quality of the typical takeaway.
“We have validated the business model and the market over the last year and we have seen high levels of repeat business. The data we have gathered gives us the confidence that this is a highly scalable business. Moving into the capital is the obvious next step in taking the business to the next level,” added Dotun.
The venture has won backing from VC company Midven as well as a number of high profile tech sector investors including: David Pritchard, former CEO of Open Table, Chris Nixon, former CEO of TravelSupermarket and Doug Scott, of seed investors potential.co.uk and founder of discountvouchers.co.uk and Carrentals.co.uk.