Tag Archives: Just-Eat

The takeaway market place and distribution

In a few months it is 2 years ago I left mighty JUST EAT and the online takeaway industry. I have not spend much time on the industry since I left, it’s important for an old CEO to let his old company move on. But now it is a while ago I left, and I have been thinking a bit on, where this industry is heading.

In some ways a lot has happened in the industry, i.e. more consolidation, a couple of impressive IPO’s and continued uptake of mobile usage. In other ways, the industry is very much it’s own self, i.e. same business model, same service and same issues scaling such a market place. It is therefore relevant to think about, what is the next big thing that can really disrupt this industry in the next 5-7 years. And it’s not mobile, because mobile already happened and is just fueling more growth for everyone now that all the big players have managed to make mobile a core part of their product road map and service offering. It’s the same service wrapped in a more accessible format. Great, will make penetration go faster and longer, but not upsetting anyone except those smaller players that didn’t adopt.

There are a couple of other areas where I think disruption could come from, and one of them I have been talking about at such an early stage, that most of my old colleagues believed I was joking or just mad. It’s distribution – the logistics of getting the food from the restaurant to the consumer. As anyone involved in the takeaway trade will know, the main operational hassle of running an online takeaway market place is not cooking food, running the website or running marketing campaigns. The hassle is to make all the moving parts work together, and the cog in the wheel that causes most trouble is distribution.

The big chains have their own logistics departments, that often does a very decent job, but in most countries the sector is completely dominated by small, independent takeaway restaurants that are struggling to operate small, sub-scale and inefficient delivery operations without technology, focus or professional management. This causes lots of pain for the consumers, and their main complaints are mostly related to exactly delivery, e.g. “where is my food?”. Too often great food entrepreneurs/restaurant owners get into trouble because of the logistics, and that also mean that too many restaurant owners decide not to do delivery food at all. In some cases, this has been spotted as a business opportunity entrepreneurs, who have build RDS’s (Restaurant Delivery Services) who have slowly build out to some scale, but none has become really big.

JUST EAT has for quite a few years operated a RDS in Denmark. I used to argue, that this operation was not core to the JUST EAT Group strategy at the current time, but that it could be in the long run. The Danish example should learn the company all the tricks on how to run such an operation, what technologies could drive efficiencies, what management processes would support scaling, etc. The idea was, that the day a market place had received lots of scale in a country (like JUST EAT did already a few years ago in Denmark), then the time was to take the service to restaurants and consumers to the next level. Restaurants would love to get rid of the logistics challenge, and would get happier customers because a professional RDS would do better. The consumers would love to get a more consistent delivery. And on top of that, well-known technologies could be used to create much more transparency on the infamous question “where is my food”, since a technology based RDS would always know where what delivery vehicles were with what food to what customers, and this information would be available to all involved incl. the consumer. Most consumers are ok if there is some delay in delivering the food on a busy evening, but the lack of information on what level of delay is causing frustration. And adding lots of costs to the market place in terms of extra customer care calls, loss of customers, frustrated restaurant owners, etc.

So, my basic thinking is, that the combination of taking charge of logistics at scale + technology + integration with market place + professional management will create a much better experience for both restaurants, market place and consumers, and it would also drive more restaurants onto the market place, which again drives more scale, etc. Furthermore, this has to be taken into the perspective of companies like Über having insane valuations by disrupting local logistics with an innovative, crowd-sourced model. Imagine a company, that in the period from 16.00-21.00 had hundred of cars in a city like London busy deployed to deliver takeaway food in an efficient way, and then used the same cars as logistic assets for other stuff at other periods of the day – some cars could be owned by the company, other were crowd-sourced. It could be used as taxis (many taxi rides are single rides, so the classic delivery van would still be good for that), groceries (check out e.g. Hubbub), or maybe as part of the massive delivery infrastructure now being set up by the big e-commerce players like Amazon, Rakutan and eBay. Everybody in the now huge e-commerce space knows, that one of the key battle grounds in the future is physical distribution, and the online takeaway market places are very well positioned to build an infrastructure that has all kinds of synergies both with the existing core business as well as other even bigger industries thirsting to add logistics infrastructure. And if the online takeaway companies doesn’t build the infrastructure, then maybe Amazon is coming to their business from another angle – or maybe startups basing their RDS on technology, crowd-sourcing, professional management processes, etc., for example Index backed Deliveroo who are using some of these tools.

JUST EAT already has the skills and technology, so they already have a solid base if they pursue this vision. Apparently, Grubhub is testing how to build a delivery network in the USA, and there are rumours on other European players testing the waters as well. If the two big guys in the next couple of years decide to build out this part of their business to be part of their core, they have the scale, financial muscle and expertise to take the industry to the next level, and gain a competitive edge that will be much appreciated by restaurants and customers. My guess at least.

On top of this, I believe the longer term perspective (which is what really made people believe I was crazy back in 2009 – and probably also a bit in the years after) is that “delivery technologies” is changing. Google Cars to supplement delivery drivers and Amazon drones to deliver small packages is happening, and it is moving much faster than what most people realize. Yes, there are a few legal issues, etc., etc. (details, details!) but the technology is almost there today, and as (almost) always technology will prevail in the long run – and the forward looking and bold will reap the benefit.

Everything for those that are hungry and lazy!

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What next for Klaus Nyengaard?

DING-DONG – It’s been a while since I’ve posted last time, so here’s an update. My plan in February was to do research on a couple of project ideas I had, and then to talk to all kinds of people to see where exciting things happened, especially in Denmark and London. The plan was also to move not too fast, since it is easy to become enthusiastic and commit to all kinds of interesting ventures, and then suddenly be fully booked up. And now, I have partly fallen into that trap – but for good reasons!

What is it I want? The stuff that motivates me the very most, is to do great things with great teams. Everything flows from the people on the team, and if it is great people working together in the right, high-performance, entrepreneurial fun-loving way, then amazing things can happen. From these kind of teams flows great products, happy customers and oodles of respect from investors & partners. And that again attracts even more good people, and if the leadership continues to step up, then Nirvana can be maintained for a very long time. That is awesome to be part of, can’t get enough of it.

Many people with my background do one of two things:

  1. Become a classic investor, building a large portfolio of angel- or VC investments. That is very exciting, and you get to help all kinds of entrepreneurs, but my issue is that I don’t think I’m ready for such a passive role. Any investor would say that they “add value hands-on”, etc., but the truth is that with a portfolio of 15-20 investments and spending most of the time chasing new deals, then they are not really close to the action (and typically doesn’t have any real, hands-on experience related to your challenges, but that’s another story). And I don’t like being distanced to what I’m doing, and the people involved.
  2. Become a CEO for a big company. Well, first of all, there are not really that many companies based in Copenhagen where it makes sense for me to get involved full time as CEO, and I’m not interested in moving my family to another country for a long period of time. Secondly, the reason why I enjoyed running JUST EAT even though it was a 1,000-man company was that I had been there from when it was a small 35-man Danish company, so I had directly or indirectly hired almost every single manager in the company, and I had skewed the company culture exactly in the direction that I felt was right for the company – and me! Chances are, that if I got on board another company that was already big, then I wouldn’t be a great fit for the culture and all kinds of “culture wars” would have to take place (had enough of that in the initial phase, when I joined JUST EAT five years ago). Thirdly, working for one company only would not leverage all the knowledge I have today about leading, developing, internationalizing and scaling companies. That is a skill set that is still a scarce resource in Europe, so I might as well leverage it across several companies.

So, the sweet spot for me seems to be working with a handful of companies in a more integrated, intimate way. Obvious choice. So, that is what I have chosen to go for the last few months. To be more specific, I will spend most of my time the next many years being chairman for companies that are still small compared to their overall potential, and where 1) I believe in the team (“Entreprofessionals”), 2) there is a great chemistry fit with me and the team, and 3) good fit between me and the challenges in the coming years. Geographically my focus is Denmark and UK/London, but I might still do a bit in other places. And I will also be doing a little bit of angel investments with a hands-off approach, but it will be limited with clear expectation management around my involvement.

So far, I have started working with 3-4 teams, mostly companies with a clear focus on a specific vertical, and dominated by SME’s that are under utilizing technology. One company I’m co-founding and will spend a very big part of my time on, for the others I will be an active chairman. None has been announced yet, but it will happen in the coming months. All very exciting, especially the project where a team has found a way to integrate 3D pizza printing, crowd sourced drone swarms and big data customer analysis with a social CSR twist – that will change the world as we know it!

Last night with the guys & girls – and me as a cartoon super hero

A couple of days ago I had my goodbye dinner in London with many of my old JUST EAT colleagues. It was a great evening (and very bad the day after) that hammered home the fact that it will take a very long time before I again can work with so many good people in one, great company (working on it, but it will take time, more about that another day).

My dear ex-colleagues had also been so considered to give me some gifts. Already some weeks ago the Danes gave me a toy robot, and funny enough on Wednesday evening the “one-day-technology-will-take-care-of-food-delivery” theme had also been the starting point, so me (and my kids) just got this shiny new toy, yehaaa, time to fly!

However, most unique of all, was a poster that some of the marketing guys had made, since I have always dreamt of being a super hero, especially one with a hot dog in his hand. I’m not sure exactly what the message is, but there is a lot of details and stories on this poster  – the revolution is coming to a takeaway near you!

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Again-again: thanks for all to those who helped make it possible. And now on to new adventures that needs a hot-dog equipped viking super hero – the Universe and Beyond!

I’m stopping as JUST EAT CEO

Yep, I am stepping down as JUST EAT CEO!

History

When I joined JUST EAT in March nearly 5 years ago, the original plan was to take one year at a time. I had never been involved in anything for 5 years, and thinking 5 years ahead seemed impossible, so one year at a time seemed to be the sensible thing. By August 2008 I had moved to London with my family, and very soon after that I 1) fell in love with the company and 2) realised that JUST EAT could become much bigger than anyone could imagine. I knew it would still be one year at a time, but I also knew that it could be a long and very interesting journey.

In the beginning of 2008 JUST EAT was still a fairly small company, but it had build a very solid business in Denmark that earned money, 90% of our revenues were in Denmark. We decided to make UK the core market for us, and then launch in other markets as much as we could given the UK priority.

Then the rocket really started. For me, the inflexion point was summer-autumn 2009. In spring/summer 2009 we negotiated and finally closed our series A round with Index as a lead, and in the autumn we did the first TV campaign in UK which together with solid restaurant growth and a lot of other activities saw the orders go through the roof.

In those 5 years, the company went from being a 35-man Danish company that was one of several companies in the online takeaway ordering space to becoming the world leader with 1,000 employees. Very few world leaders have roots in Europe, so everybody who contributed should be happy. And it is not at all the end for JUST EAT – more about that later.

Why and why now

Once every quarter my wife has asked me to stop working for JUST EAT. We moved back home to Denmark nearly 2 years ago, and since then I have travelled more than 3 days a week, a lot to London obviously, but also to many other countries. And that is tough when you have a family with small kids. You can do that for only so long – and I planned to do it for a bit longer despite a bit of home front scepticism.

But, that is not really good enough from the company’s perspective, I have to accept that. A company such as JUST EAT, with it’s ambitious plans and momentum needs a CEO who is committed for many more years, and it “might” also be a good idea to have a person who is more often in London where we have most of the central functions, the Group exec team, etc. So before the “next phase” of the company it makes sense to get a new CEO on board, it is not healthy to change the leader when crossing a river, it has to happen well before that.

Ideally I would have staid a bit longer, but there is a logic that I can’t argue against. Tough for me, right for the company.

The future of JUST EAT

Regarding the future of JUST EAT, there is only one thing to say: it will be awesome. There are so many things happening in the company, so much momentum and so many good people that it can only be better. Some of the areas where I am particularly excited is what we will do the next 6-12 months on the technology side. Also, the continuous improvements of all the small details of sales, marketing and operations are happening all the time. Customers and restaurants can look forward to a lot of good stuff.

Thanks

So, it is time to say thanks to everybody who helped move the company forward. I don’t want to mention any specific JUST EAT’ers, each of you know how much you have contributed, and there are so many of you. Also thanks to restaurants and consumers, investors, advisers, partners and friends. You all deserve a slice of the success.

The JUST EAT journey will continue – and I will quietly follow it from the distance, but start on another journey my self. What that will be I don’t know for sure (a few ideas though, and let me know if you have any as well …) – it will be something with good people and growth for sure.

Yehaa!

UPDATE

Here is the internal, amateur goodbye video I made to all my great colleagues. If you don’t understand the quirkiness, then join the company and you will get it -;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHTyvUkfAXo

Press release on Klaus Nyengaard leaving JUST EAT

Klaus Nyengaard steps down as CEO for JUST EAT Group

London based JUST EAT, the world’s largest online takeaway ordering service, today announced that after nearly five years as CEO, Klaus Nyengaard is leaving the Company.

Commenting on his departure, Klaus Nyengaard said “I have loved my time working at JUST EAT and believe it is a great company with an exciting future. However, I made a commitment to return to Denmark with my family nearly two years ago. Since then I have been commuting between Denmark and London, which was ultimately not the perfect solution for the Company or me. Of all the achievements at JUST EAT, I am most proud of helping to build a world class team and will greatly miss the daily contact with colleagues and friends at JUST EAT.”

In the last five years JUST EAT has grown from 35 employees based mostly in Denmark to over 1,000 employees with operations in 13 countries. In 2012 the Company was profitable and is now generating over €750m in food orders for its restaurant partners.Commenting on Klaus’s departure Ben Holmes, partner at Index Ventures and long–time JUST EAT investor & board member said “I would like to thank and congratulate Klaus for all he achieved during his tenure at JUST EAT. His vision and energy were key motivations for our initial and subsequent investments in the Company and he has delivered on that vision to make JUST EAT a European ecommerce champion. We wish him the best for the future and look forward to his next venture. ”

The existing executive team led by Chairman John Hughes will run the company while a search is conducted for a new CEO.

Out of office x-mas email reply from Mr Sizzle

Wanted to share this one from my dear colleague and Chief Sizzle Officer, Mat Braddy, his “out of office” email reply the next couple of weeks:

Mat is off in Lapland persuading Father Christmas to delivery Reindeer
curry after he finishes with silly toys. Mother Christmas kills, skins
and then cooks the old knackered animals every year anyway. They need
to sweat their assets and expand into new markets – JUST EAT is
ideally placed to help.

Mat will return Jan 7th 2013 with the launch of Eat-Elf.com to follow
soon after…

Mat, have a nice, long holiday, you have deserved it!

Reindeer

JUST EAT winner of the Tech Track 2012 brand award

There are awards, and there are awards, but this one we won tonight I am really happy about, because it is another proof of JUST EAT getting respect for the awesome marketing thinking and execution we have build the last few years:

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A big thanks to our dear CMO, Mr Braddy, Richard and the almost 100 marketeers that are working day and night to push JUST EAT in the right direction. Yehaaa!

Scaling a business – learning and performance focus

One and a half year ago we/JUST EAT decided to move forward more ambitiously with the JUST EAT Academy. The objective is to supplement the valuable on-the-job training with more structured learning and development. In practice, the set-up has been running for less than a year, and there is plenty more to do, but from my perspective we can already see some really good results, e.g.

  • Most of the managers in JUST EAT have now been through our Management Assessment Centre (“MAC”). This means that as a supplement to their line manager’s view on their performance and development needs, then we have a structured, 360 degree view on the person from many of the traditional management/leader dimensions, e.g. communication skills, presentation skills, collaboration skills, analytical skills, etc. The MAC is definitely not the final truth, and the line managers qualitative view is still key, but it all adds up to a better understanding of what the manager need to do to develop her- or himself. It is challenging to be a manager in a fast growing company, so if JUST EAT can support with a few tools then great.
  • Together with an external agency, we have developed a really good sales module called “Sweet & Sour”. A lot of sales reps and managers have already been through this program, and it is getting very good reviews. The important thing now of course, is to make sure the learning’s are actually been put into use when the participants come back home, so that is a key focus area for the sales managers.
  • We have a lot of people in JUST EAT, who have their first management job, or which have the biggest management challenge they have ever had, so a course in basic management skills can come in handy. We have therefore put together a course (“JUST about people”), where the participants goes through a catalogue of the fundamental management tools, and we have run this course for the first time some weeks ago.

We want to institutionalise learning, and it is of course not only about fine courses, but it all helps. To build a truly great, international company, having the most talented people that are constantly upgrading their skillset is fundamental. And that breeds a virtuous circle, because as people in one part of the organisation shows how to improve, there will be peer pressure on other parts to improve as well. In a performance environment such as JUST EAT, where there is focus on improving all the time, healthy competition drives the company forward, and it is important that the company support this with tools and infrastructure, such as the Academy. We are not yet where we should be in rolling this philosophy out, but we have made a good start.

If you want to scale your business beyond the small-company level, you have to put learning and development at the core together with a performance culture. Deliver, then learn to deliver more/better/faster/funnier/cheaper. It’s all very Jammy!

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Consolidation in Spain

JUST EAT launched in Spain December 2010. It was a bit of a bet, because everybody said Southern Europe is not a place for delivery food, but that scepticism was proved wrong very quickly. Spain is not one of the biggest markets in the World, and there are “a few macro economic issues” on the Iberian Peninsula, but we have been so fortunate to build an absolute kick-ass team lead by Jerome Gavin, and the growth has been better than anything we ever imagined. Thanks guys for the hard work over the last nearly two years.

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There was also another team that launched just before JUST EAT, it was team Sindelantal. The company is co-founded by Evaristo Babe and Diego Ballesteros, and they also managed to involve the experienced angel investor Michael Kleindl. In the last two years JUST EAT and Sindelantal has competed full throttle and in the process pushed the market to migrate online ever faster. JUST EAT has grown a bit faster, but both companies has done very well – and today we are very happy to announce that JUST EAT.es and Sindelantal has joined forces!

At JUST EAT we believe in investing heavily in 1) building the best possible, national restaurant network and 2) communicating the advantages of online ordering to customers. Our acquisition of Sindelantal makes it possible to roll-out the online takeaway concept even faster in Spain. That is good news for restaurants and consumers, and in the long run it will also be a good story for JUST EAT.

Congratulations to Evaristo & Diego – well done in founding and building a company with real substance. And we look forward to follow you as you scale up your business in Mexico.

And congratulations to Spain, JUST EAT loves you more than ever!

Spain Flag Heart