Until today, Deliveroo was just a piece of software. But in the same way that Uber is experimenting with self-driving cars and Airbnb occasionally builds bespoke holiday locations, Deliveroo Editions means the food delivery app will invest money into building real-world hardware — pop-up kitchens that restaurants will be able to use to serve locations away from their home base.
Deliveroo intends to use the pop-up kitchens to add cuisines that are missing in an area that the delivery service already covers, and will give its “restaurant partners” the option to make delivery-only menus. It could also mean that popular restaurants in a different city could temporarily serve a region they don’t have a bricks-and-mortar premises in. Deliveroo says over 300 restaurants will be added to Editions kitchens in 2017, with partners picked according to customer demand and tailored to each city and region.
Deliveroo’s announcement comes at an interesting time for sharing economy services, many of which — like Deliveroo’s competitor UberEATS — are focused around food delivery. ‘Gig economy’ workers often ride for a service like Deliveroo or Foodora while studying at university or working other part-time jobs to make ends meet. Journalist and digital campaigner Asher Wolf talked to food delivery service workers in Melbourne, and apart from the risk of injury and the physical strain, their main complaint was with the fact that delivery runners are paid a flat fee per delivery rather than an hourly wage, meaning their income is wildly variable and unreliable.
The Deliveroo Editions service is coming to Australia “later in 2017”, according to Deliveroo — we’ll be one of the five countries that it launches in before the end of the year.