The founder of fine-dining delivery app Supper works with London restaurants including Zuma, Hakkasan and Duck & Waffle. He speaks to Jennie Milsom
What was the inspiration behind the app?
I came to it very early in 2014. I was having a night in with a friend, eating and drinking, and we decided to get something really nice in. The restaurant said we could send a taxi to collect, but when the food arrived it was rubbish and cold. I thought restaurants and customers deserved better. In London you're surrounded by such amazing restaurants and people want this at home. How is the food delivered?
We own specialist imported Japanese tricycles with gyroscopes – they have stabilisation built into them so nothing gets spilled. They can carry food for up to 30 people, are temperature-controlled for hot, cold and ambient food, and are very efficient at 250 miles to the tank. We have in excess of 40 drivers. How has user activity changed since lockdown?
It's gone berserk. Before lockdown, corporate accounted for 60%-70% of our daytime business, but over the past three weeks we've added almost 10,000 new users. Since the shutdown, about 60% of restaurants switched off immediately, but we have about 40 in a queuing system to join. Our average order is £130 across the board – these are people who are trying to normalise their daily lives. How do you choose which restaurants to work with?
Our platform is pretty selective. We'll go and meet restaurants that we don't know. If you don't have that relationship in place, the whole thing falls down. We are here to elevate their offering – we don't just want bums on seats, we want the best of the best and they must be unique. What kind of fine-dining dishes work best for delivery?
It all depends on the effort the restaurants put in to package it up. If it's done correctly, we can carry food in catering boxes up to about 50ºC, which is equivalent to a warming drawer. We think 15 minutes is acceptable to carry hot food for it to remain really good – after that there is degradation in composition and heat. Right now though, we can get anywhere in our radius in 10 minutes. It's about carrying the food without it being compromised. What are the challenges?
The main challenge was the training for our drivers, to ensure they know all the processes that the restaurants want in place and how to interact with them. There are a lot of restaurant groups who think delivery is a dirty word, but by adding restaurants at the higher level, others have had their eyes opened to the prospect of offering delivery to their customers.
How have you seen customers' tastes change since you launched?
Customers have become more demanding. Every time we add a new restaurant at a higher level, the sales exceed my expectations and I realise I've underestimated the demand. London probably has one of the most diverse and interesting food scenes on the planet.
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