Britons’ appetite for a takeaway during the latest Covid-19 lockdown led to a near-doubling in orders over the last three months at Just Eat Takeaway.com.
Customers stuck at home across Europe placed 200m orders with the company between January and March. Orders were up 79% compared with the same period a year earlier.
The UK accounted for most of that total, with the number of orders increasing 96% to 64m, followed by Germany and the Netherlands, where delivery orders grew by 77% and 63% respectively.
The fast UK growth was driven by new partnerships with Leon, Starbucks and Costa Coffee. Pizza was the most popular dish, followed by Chinese and Indian takeaways.
“Just Eat Takeaway.com is in excellent shape and the start of 2021 has been very strong,” said Jitse Groen, the chief executive.
The Amsterdam-based company is one of the biggest food delivery groups in the world, after Dutch firm Takeaway took over its UK rival Just Eat in a £6.2bn deal a year ago. It snapped up the US firm Grubhub last June in a £5.8bn deal.
One of the winners of the coronavirus pandemic, the company doubled its sales force in the UK and signed partnerships with Leon, Tortilla and Chipotle, as well as coffee chains Starbucks and Costa.
It competes with Uber and Deliveroo in the UK, whose much-anticipated stock market flotation turned out to be a flop on 31 March.
Meanwhile, Revolution Bars, which runs 66 bars in the UK, has been hit hard by the pandemic, which pushed it into a pretax loss of £17.7m for the six months to 26 December, up from £1.6m a year earlier.
Revolution, which also runs the Revolución de Cuba bars, has used a company voluntary arrangement, a form of insolvency procedure, to close six loss-making venues.
The company is hopeful that business will return as the UK’s vaccine rollout proceeds rapidly, and as it mainly targets younger customers who are less at risk from coronavirus. It said nearly 12,000 guests had booked with it in the first week from 17 May, when restaurants, pubs and bars will be able to reopen for customers indoors under the government’s planned easing of restrictions.
Separately, Grab, the biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm in south-east Asia, is expected to unveil a merger with US-based Altimeter that is set to value Grab at nearly $40bn (£29bn) and lead to a stock market flotation, Reuters reported. Grab’s agreement with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) backed by Altimeter Capital will be the biggest blank-cheque company deal to date.