95% 1 400

CityPress - - Business - LE­SETJA MALOPE lesteja.malope@city­press.co.za

The app set up by Mr D Food – for­merly Mr De­liv­ery – has al­lowed it to be a lo­ca­tion-based busi­ness where its clients log in and or­der from restau­rants around them and the com­pany col­lects and de­liv­ers for a flat fee.

“Up un­til 2016, 80% of the or­ders were over the phone,” said Devin Sin­clair, the head of Mr D Food, in an in­ter­view with City Press this week.

Now 95% of Mr D Food or­ders are re­ceived through the app, which has been down­loaded more than 200 000 times in the past six months.

“In 2015, about 99.9% of food or­der­ing in South Africa took place off­line, but in more de­vel­oped mar­kets, on­line de­liv­ery or­ders stand be­tween 30% and 56%. So, mar­ket op­por­tu­nity is im­mense.”

On the in­dus­try’s gen­eral out­look, Sin­clair said: “Glob­ally, the on­line food de­liv­ery busi­ness is boom­ing.”

In the US, on­line food de­liv­ery is worth an es­ti­mated $30 bil­lion (R398 bil­lion) and has the po­ten­tial to grow to $210 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a study by in­vest­ment firm Mor­gan Stan­ley.

Sin­clair said he ex­pected Mr D Food to dou­ble its earn­ings within the next six months.

He said the three ad­van­tages held by his busi­ness over com­peti­tors were va­ri­ety, cov­er­age and cash pro­vi­sion.

Re­gard­ing va­ri­ety, the com­pany boasts the largest net­work of restau­rants that clients can choose from, ac­cord­ing to Sin­clair. This amounts to more than 1 400 eater­ies, in­clud­ing the large fast-food chain brands and in­de­pen­dently run restau­rants.

As far as cov­er­age goes, Mr D Food ser­vices more than 1 900 sub­urbs in 54 re­gions, giv­ing it the largest foot­print in the food de­liv­ery sec­tor.

And, in terms of the third dif­fer­en­tia­tor, the busi­ness is still one of the few which ac­cepts cash pay­ments.

Mr D Food’s largest com­peti­tor is UberEats, which is avail­able in Jo­han­nes­burg, Cape Town, West Coast, Cen­tu­rion, Pre­to­ria and Stel­len­bosch, and has more than 700 lo­cal restau­rants on its plat­form. UberEats charges a de­liv­ery fee of R20 an or­der.

Mr D Food em­ploys about 100 peo­ple but has at its dis­posal more than 1 000 driv­ers. This en­ables it to stick to its 15-minute de­liv­ery tar­get at all times.

Mr D Food charges a flat fee of R35 for all or­ders in­stead of a per­cent­age of the value of the or­der amount.

“We op­er­ate in a small ra­dius be­cause we do not want the food to travel for more than 15 min­utes,” Sin­clair said.

“That is why our net­work is so big. It has been sub­stan­tially re-en­gi­neered into an end-to-end tech­nol­ogy busi­ness by a new man­age­ment team in or­der to take ad­van­tage of the mo­men­tum in the on­line food de­liv­ery sec­tor.”

The food de­liv­ery busi­ness has trans­formed greatly since Mr De­liv­ery was es­tab­lished back in 1992 in Cape Town. Now, with a tech over­haul and a name change, the busi­ness is set to make the most of new op­por­tu­ni­ties in the mar­ket.

Head of Mr D Food Devin Sin­clair

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