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After its humble beginnings in Denmark as a startup with a vision to ‘order takeaway the smart way’, JUST EAT has become the global market leader in online food deliveries. In the UK, where the company is headquartered, the JUST EAT website now receives more weekly visitors than both Domino’s and Pizza Hut. International expansion was inevitable. After raising €11.7 million from its Series A investment round, JUST EAT expanded its market to countries including Spain, where it has a growing presence in Barcelona. Today it boasts 3,000 restaurants in the country and over 800,000 annual orders. The service is now available in 13 countries around the world.
The concept is simple: JUST EAT gives users access to restaurants around the city which can deliver to their home. On the company’s website, food is categorised by nation or region, from American to Vietnamese. Options for healthy food and home cooking are also included. Customer reviews provide feedback on individual restaurants. Users enter their postcode, select the restaurant of their choice, add the dishes they desire from the menu and order the delivery. Both cash and credit card payment options are available, and collection from the restaurant can be chosen instead of delivery.
Restaurants that join JUST EAT pay a one-off subscription fee, after which the company’s JCT (JustConnect Technology) device is installed at the eatery. The device functions as a 2-way till receipt and order machine. Orders placed through the website are automatically sent to the JCT box. The restaurant then chooses whether to accept the order or not. Confirmation is sent to the customer following acceptance and a receipt is printed. JUST EAT charges the restaurant a small commission if the order is agreed to.
“Restaurants can generate 15% to 25% extra business in the first 12 months,” says Jerome Gavin, CEO of JUST EAT Spain. Their investment in JUST EAT is paid off after just 6 orders. More than 75% of restaurants recoup their investment in less than a month.
With consumers swapping upmarket dining with cheaper takeaways, JUST EAT have capitalised on the economic downturn. The appeal to the customer’s wallet is furthered through the offer of regular discounts and happy hours. Tie-ins with major football matches invite users to guess the result through the company’s Facebook page, with correct picks entered into a draw for free orders. The company have also exploited partnership agreements with related services, such as with online movie rentals platform Wuaki.tv, to reach new markets through mutual offers to customers.
In May 2013, JUST EAT launched an official iPhone application. In just one week, the app was downloaded by more than 8,000 users and it’s now the ordering method of choice for 25% of users. But the website remains the core of its business, and this year it was voted Spain’s food and drink website of the year.
The company’s expansion has been facilitated by continued investment: in April 2012, it gained a third round of funding totalling €47 million, its biggest to date, only a year after raising a venture round of €35 million. The total funding in the company thus reached €95 in just three years.
“This new investment will help our continued expansion. Takeaway e-commerce has massive growth potential,” announced former CEO Klaus Nyengaard. Months later JUST EAT acquired its Spanish rival SinDelantal. With a service promising efficiency, speed and quality, JUST EAT looks set for further growth in Barcelona and around the world.