'Something must change in the takeaway industry or consumers will continue to feel the impact'

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In the last three years, operational costs associated with running a takeaway or food-to-go business have increased by up to 35-40 per cent for some businesses.

From the rising energy costs which show no sign of coming back down again and the increases in raw produce and food / packaging supplies, takeaways have found themselves finding it more and more difficult to operate profitably.

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic in some ways helped the industry go digital, this fast-forwarding of digital transformation has ultimately had devastating effects on the bottom line.

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Companies like JustEat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo very quickly captured the market and became the consumer go-to for food delivery. Businesses that once relied on orders via telephone were finding less and less people lifting the phone and more and more orders coming through these global food ordering platforms.

Eat Local has been set up by entrepreneurs Ivan McCombe, Anthony Pereira and Sandeep Sharma (pictured). Picture: Eat Local.Eat Local has been set up by entrepreneurs Ivan McCombe, Anthony Pereira and Sandeep Sharma (pictured). Picture: Eat Local.
Eat Local has been set up by entrepreneurs Ivan McCombe, Anthony Pereira and Sandeep Sharma (pictured). Picture: Eat Local.

For some businesses this was revolutionary and many have increased their gross revenue as a result, but, in many cases, this has been a false economy with businesses just becoming busier but paying more and more of their profits out in commissions each week to the larger corporate apps.

Currently a conservative estimate is that over £40-45 million is leaving the Northern Ireland economy each year, this equates to between 1,300-1,500 takeaways across the country averaging payments weekly of between £300-£3,000 per takeaway to the three main global ordering apps.

The industry is now in a position where, without big changes, takeaways will continue to go to the wall as they attempt to keep on top of and keep up with the low-profit apps.

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And it’s not just bad news for the businesses. Rising operational costs like utilities and food prices as well as high commissions going to JustEat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo among others means the consumers are feeling the pinch too.

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Tech entrepreneurs to invest £400k in local food ordering app Eat Local

Just Eat, for example, claims in its terms and conditions that those businesses who sign up must offer menu board prices, ie, the price on the menu board when you enter the shop. But the reality is there’s no way businesses can do this and operate a sustainable business. As a result, the costs are being passed on to the consumer and, in some cases, they’re paying more for each item they order than they would in the shop. This can be up to £7-10 extra for a family ordering their Friday night takeaway.

It is in response to the continued rising costs for the food delivery industry from large corporate ordering apps that we have launched a local, Northern Ireland-based competitor that focuses on the needs of both the consumer and the business.

Eat Local, the new food delivery app will offer restaurants, takeaways, cafes and other food-to-go establishments the opportunity to significantly decrease their costs for operating their delivery services.

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This game-changing app allows food-to-go businesses the ability to reclaim complete control over their food delivery business whilst keeping their profits and their data allowing them to decide how they run their business without the restrictions many of the global food ordering apps place upon the takeaways who sign up to their services.

Part of our mission is to encourage establishments to offer consumers the same prices on the app as they would get in the shop, more commonly known in the industry as ‘menu board prices’, saving that extra £7-10 for families.

It’s time for the takeaway industry to take back their profits and to stop paying exuberant fees to global organisations which haemorrhage money from the local economy.

All we need is for our local communities, businesses and people to join us in our quest to nourish your neighbourhood by keeping those millions in our local economy.