Menulog’s ‘aggressive’ growth plans to rival market leader Uber Eats

Ever since its rebrand at the middle of last year, Menulog has been on a mission to “super charge” its growth in New Zealand.

The online food-ordering company, which says it has 1000 restaurants using its platform across the country, has launched a full delivery service to rival market leader Uber Eats, and plans to double its restaurant catalogue over the next six months.

Menulog has begun a multimillion-dollar investment in the market in an attempt to pull market share and establish itself as a dominant player.

For the past nine years, Menulog has facilitated the online-ordering process between consumer and restaurant, leaving the delivery of goods up to the business. However, it has now deployed technology built by Skip The Dishes, a Canadian subsidiary of its parent company Just Eat Group, to fulfil order deliveries.

Like Uber Eats, it uses in-house technology to match drivers with restaurant deliveries.

Morten Belling, managing director of Menulog, said its delivery service would be rolled out to Auckland in March, and then a further 23 cities and towns including Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Gisborne and Hastings by the end of April.

Menulog says there will be no delivery fees for the first three months following launch, and then will charge an average delivery fee of $5 per order or $1.99 during off-peak times.

Menulog Food Couriers work on delivery runs, setting their availability instead of logging on and off the app to maximise the amount of time couriers are on delivery runs.

Belling said the local delivery service would be a replica of what it was already doing in Australia and other global markets, and would accelerate company growth.

“We’ve got to pick up the competition. The starting point behind that is to get the basics right,” Belling told the Herald.

“With this delivery service we will now go out there and quite aggressively invest millions of dollars in building restaurant supply across New Zealand. At the moment we have about 1000 restaurant partners in our network, we hope to more than double that in the next three to six months.

“The key aspirations for us is to be number one [in the market].”

Menulog is the fastest-growing business in the Just Eat Takeaway Group brand stable.

Just Eat, Menulog’s British parent company, was acquired by Dutch food-delivery company last year for £5.9 billion ($11.3b), creating a $12b firm.

Just Eat Group is now one of the world’s largest food-delivery operations, or the world’s second-largest outside of China.

Belling said tens of millions of dollars of investment was being spent in the market to accelerate its expansion plans in New Zealand.

“We’re going to use some of the same tools and the playbook we have been using in Australia, where we are getting market share at the moment.

“We don’t consider ourselves as in the same bucket as our competition. Our business model is slightly different. We might be part of a big global business but we were founded in Australia 15 years ago and later moved to New Zealand,” he said.

“We need to change the perception of us being a dinner brand to an on-demand brand.

“We’re not going all out in New Zealand to happily accept the number two position – we want to win in the market and we firmly believe price leadership is required. Customers in New Zealand are going to see a different value proposition to what they have in the past.”

Menulog underwent a rebrand in June, replacing its green chef-hat logo with an orange house with cutlery to align with its global counterparts in Europe and North America.

Menulog orders in New Zealand and Australia increased by 166 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier.

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