An interview with Toon Gyssels, Founder and CEO, Foodora Australia
What we eat has been steadily evolving in recent years, as greater nutritional awareness and an insatiable appetite for new culinary experiences drive an ever-growing menu of new restaurants and innovative dishes.
Interestingly, the greater revolution has been in how we eat, as demand for greater choice and convenience has given birth to a disruptive, global industry in food delivery. Toon Gyssels is a former rock-star turned CEO. Whilst completing a ‘traditional’ career path (from civil engineer to partner at McKinsey) his passion for hardcore and metal took him touring across Europe many times.
After having lived off take-away pizza for too many nights, Toon saw an opportunity and decided to turn his entrepreneurship hobby into a serious business – he moved to Australia, and soon-after launched Foodora.
What were the biggest challenges in getting Foodora operational in Australia?
The sheer pace of our growth. We started in Australia with the acquisition of suppertime, which had been around for 10+ years, operating at relatively small scale. Within the first year of foodora, we grew the group of restaurant partners from from 50 to 1,500, and the network of delivery riders from 20 to 2,000, while we built an organisation of about 100 employees.
This means you go through several “stages” of an organisation all within one year, so you constantly need to change the organisational structure, operating model and processes; all while you are still refining the business model and value proposition.
Why has food delivery become such a huge growth industry around the world?
Firstly, this is driven by changing consumer behavior: people are busier than ever, and are more willing to spend money on convenience.
The other big driver for the growth is technology. Not only is technology enabling the consumer to order effortlessly (you can order with just a few swipes and you can track your order live), it’s also the key enabler for quality of service: thanks to technology we can truly offer your favourite restaurant (these restaurants previously did not offer delivery as they were too busy to deal with it), and thanks to technology we can deliver the food to your home or place of work in less than 30 minutes!
More recently, we’ve been working with other brands and businesses to deliver innovative experiences. We had great success from teaming up with ‘My Dog’, offering customers the option of a premium quality meal for their four-legged friend when they made an order online.
We collaborated with gelato-makers Messina for a campaign called ‘Game of Cones’ which was hugely popular in terms of media and consumer love. Gelato Messina brought back their super popular array of frozen fantasy epic creations, based on the hit show ‘Game of Thrones’, whereby a new character inspired flavour was released over a five-week period, and delivered exclusively through Foodora.
Most recently, we joined forces with an innovation and experience business to gather some of the biggest and most influential names in retail, and serve them lunch delivered by drones! Lately drones have been the hot topic of conversation, in relation to the advancements of food delivery. Made possible with technology, Foodora wanted to get in on the conversation and showcase that we are at the forefront of these developments in the food delivery space.
Iconic brand ALLEN’s approached us to be the couriers for its first-ever limited edition Lolly Bar pop-up store, delivering just 200 jars to a certain number of lucky Sydney-siders. Partnerships like these have helped us evolve our business from a simple delivery service for restaurants to a strategic partner for any number of enterprises and brands needing innovative, cost-effective and reliable delivery of product.
How does the Foodora model differ from competitors and new entrants?
Besides our service levels, which we believe are the best in the industry, the other obvious differentiator is the restaurants we partner with. We work with more than 2,500 restaurants and have exclusive relationships, including with the likes of Din Tai Fung, Adriano Zumbo, Papparich, Luke Mangan’s Chicken Confidential, as well as brands like Subway and KFC. We offer all the restaurants that our customers want to order from.
The other key aspect of differentiation is to let our customers determine how they want to order. For example, we have a dedicated corporate platform for companies to enable bigger orders, on account ordering and automated expensing. And we are 100% transparent on pricing: we offer the food at the restaurant prices and do not mark the restaurant prices up. This has helped establish trust and comfort with our brand.
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