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Managing Marketing: Innovation in the Food Delivery Industry

Simon-Cheng

This episode of Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Senior Consultant, Anton Buchner. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Simon Cheng is Chief Marketing Officer of Menulog. He talks about the big shifts in the food delivery industry, and how Menulog took on UberEats by changing strategy. He shares category insights into how Menulog is differentiating not only from UberEats, but from other players such as Deliveroo (part-owned by Amazon), and the largest food delivery company in the US, Doordash. He also talks about the appeal and success of Snoop Dogg in reinvigorating the brand. “Did Somebody Say….”

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Anton:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

I’m Anton Buchner, and today, I’m sitting down with Simon Cheng CMO or Chief Marketing Officer for Menulog. G’day, Simon.

Simon:

G’day, mate. Good to see you.

Anton:

Great to see you, mate. We’ve gone back into our archives, haven’t we? We worked together back in 2003, 2004 with Singleton Ogilvy & Mather.

Simon:

Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, it was back when Singo’s name was still on the door.

Anton:

He was ruling the Aussie landscape, wasn’t he?

Simon:

That’s right, yeah.

Anton:

And I’ve kept a keen eye on your career, and we’ve caught up a few times, obviously, since Ogilvy & Mather days. You drove really impressive growth of P&O Cruises, Qantas Holidays, an independent company HealthyLife, that you then sold off to Woolies and it’s still growing strongly. And now, you’ve been at Menulog for a few years.

Simon:

Yeah, that’s right.

Anton:

I’ve been really impressed with your, I suppose retail-focused and marketing-performance-focused career. You’ve got results and runs on the board.

Simon:

Yeah, my personality is probably a lot more suited to fast-moving dynamic type businesses, I’ve never really been suited to businesses that are looking for 3, 4, 5% growth in one year. So, yeah, you take the good with the bad, I guess, in those kinds of organisations; when you’ve got more dynamic organisations, generally that’s a pseudonym for chaos.

But I love it. I love working in businesses that are looking for growth, that are hungry for finding more audiences, more channels, more opportunities for growth. And that’s much more suited to my much more kind of entrepreneurial type style or design.

Anton:

Your DNA. Were you one of those guys at school or Uni where you were just the one who wanted to push past everybody else, or did you have a competitive spirit from day one, you think?

Simon:

I’ve always had a competitive spirit … I love sport, so I compete in that way. But I’ve always enjoyed business, I’ve always enjoyed the discipline of business. I think back when I was 10 or 11, I think it was, and this was back in the days when you were kind of allowed to roam the streets on your own at that age.

I started a car washing business with the neighbours and I went around and door-knocked, and now, I look back on it in hindsight — and it was actually a subscription model that I’d started. It was a pay me, it was like a $10 or $20 payment a month and I’d go and wash their car once a month. And it was diarised and it was good.

And I was making — at 10-years-old, making like a hundred bucks a month. It was an annuity – a subscription model.

Anton:

You’re a pioneer. I was going to say King Simon, but now, you’re Pioneering Simon. I love it.

So, today, I’d love to dig into the category. What a wild ride it seems from an outsider looking in. I don’t know what category you term it; is it home delivery? Is it food delivery or is it bigger? And certainly, a little bit more, is it innovation? Because on many levels, you’ve got so much competition and such exciting stuff happening in the market. What do you call, the whole category?

Simon:

The simple answer is it’s a food delivery category. But we are a tech business, so we play in that game as well. We’re a tech business with a very heavy kind of physical operations element as well. And so, it’s a multitude of different kinds of verticals, which is what makes it interesting; food delivery, tech, logistics, it’s great.

Anton:

And you’ve had a thing called COVID thrown in, which is probably a really good boom for you guys and a lot of companies that have gone e-commerce or mobile, etc, as people are spending more and more on that sort of service, aren’t they?

Simon:

Yeah, COVID has been not great for the world, but it has been fortunate for our business. It has created a lot of tailwinds for the entire category; our business and our competitors grew a lot last year.

And in Australia, we probably grew twice as much as the entire category did worldwide. So, it has been a wild ride.

Anton:

Fast growth. So, let’s go back to a couple of things you just said then, that you’re looking to employ drivers or deliverers as opposed to subcontracting previously. There has been a big shift, I guess, for the last three, four, five years. Let’s just talk about that.

So, what is the case with Menulog? What is Menulog, how did it start off, and when was that shift?

Simon:

Yeah, so Menulog was founded in Australia. It’s an Australian-founded business in 2006. That seemed to have been the time that a lot of these food aggregation businesses actually were founded all around the world. They were all founded in kind of dorm rooms and by young entrepreneurs around that mid-two thousand era.

But Menulog, founded in Australia in 2006. Started off as a business that aggregated restaurants that had their own delivery drivers. So, your standard, local Chinese, local pizza shop, local Thai, Indian, in the suburbs, those guys who have their own delivery drivers that are generally delivering on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday night.

And so, the business back then started with the original founders door-knocking restaurants, taking their physical menu, scanning them in, and putting the PDF up on a website. And it became a log of menus, so hence Menulog.

Anton:

I remember it well. Yeah, I literally just looked at the logs, the menu logs.

Simon:

That’s right. And so, it was at the same time as the starting up of e-commerce as a kind of channel, as a buying channel. And so, then their proposition to restaurants was that there’s this thing called the internet. A lot of people are going to start selling products on the internet. We can help you have “a website” and scan in your menus, and then you know promoting them to new customers, and then sending customers their way and clipping the ticket. So, that’s how it all started in 2006.

Fast forward 10 years and business did really well during that period. And then Uber came to the market in the mid two thousands. I think it was about 2015, they came to the market, and that was with their rideshare business originally.

And they were delivering people in the rideshare business for a period of time. And they realised we’ve got a whole fleet of drivers, let’s start delivering other things. And you remember at the time, they kind of started delivering pet promotions and ice creams and all sorts of different things. And they got into the food delivery industry and then became a competitor of ours at that time.

And at that point in time, Menulog was probably a bit slow to the game in getting into the logistics business. So, at that time, you remember, we were just aggregating restaurants that had their own delivery drivers. Menulog didn’t have drivers ourselves.

Anton:

So, Uber Eats just came in with their fleet and they stormed the market, really, didn’t they? I remember they threw a lot of money in advertising, the name was everywhere and for a couple of years, they were probably driving a little bit further forward, were they?

Simon:

They were. They had a brilliant campaign in “Tonight I’ll Be Eating”, which is still out there doing quite well. But their big thing was that they went to all the restaurants in Australia that we hadn’t approached who don’t have their own delivery drivers. And there’s a lot more of them than the suburban Chinese, Thai, Indian takeaways.

And they went to all of those restaurants and said, “Look, you don’t have delivery drivers. If you want to do delivery, we’ll do the deliveries for you. We’ve got a fleet of drivers.” And that’s basically what happened.

So, that’s what caused the boom in the industry. And then we were a bit late to the game. We launched our delivery service at the back end of 2018. I joined the business in 2019 and then there were a bunch of us who kind of joined and our job was to scale the business as quickly as possible to compete with these big behemoths that had come to the market; in Uber and Deliveroo.

Anton:

Yeah. And are you now seeing that as a … as you said, build your network now of deliverers because that’s the part you can own and create a better experience or create a better, I guess, pipeline in the future for other potential products?

Simon:

Yeah. So, first thing is that it opens up QSRs. Many QSRs outside of your Domino’s and pizza joints, Pizza Hut — a lot of them didn’t do delivery. And so, it was really the beginning of the food delivery providers. Doing this was really the launchpad for QSRs to start delivering into people’s homes. And so, that really helped open up the market.

Anton:

So, the changes that are happening; Uber Eats coming in, you’re probably going neck and neck now. Deliveroo came in, has hit the ground fairly big, but they’re probably a tier two, they’re third placed by a fair way, I would have thought. And who else you got? You got DoorDash in a smaller way.

You’ve got a couple of people snapping at your heels. Where do you see yourselves now in terms of where Menulog sits?

Simon:

Yeah, so, we were fortunate to have benefited from a lot of the tailwinds during COVID, and there are a number of things we did last year as well, that helped drive much stronger growth for Menulog in the Australian market versus some of the competitors.

Anton:

Can you talk about some of those? Some of the little insights.

Simon:

Yeah, that’s resulted in Menulog and Uber both, the one and two players in the market. And then you’ve got the other two players in DoorDash and Deliveroo, who can’t be disrespected. They’re both big businesses in their own right in other parts of the world. And one of them is backed by Amazon and the other one is a major player in North America.

Anton:

Yeah, you can’t be complacent, absolutely. You talked about some little nuggets, you’ve changed the business a bit. What happened and where do you see the opportunities to shift the business slightly?

Simon:

Yeah. So, I’ll talk a bit about pre-COVID and then I’ll talk about the impact that COVID had. But pre-COVID … so, I was in the business for probably about eight months before COVID hit. And one of the first things I noticed was when I asked people what the target audience was for our business, many people said suburban families.

Which I found a little bit strange for a business that was focused on — that was a marketplace business where you’re a two-sided marketplace and the job is to connect right customer to the right restaurant. And I felt like it was limiting to only focus on one customer segment.

From a travel background, I could see that this industry was very quickly moving in the same direction as travel aggregation, which started off with hotel aggregators that focused on niches in the market.

And eventually, consolidation happened through that whole kind of period in the nineties. And you end up with the big players with all the scale. It’s a scale and volume game. And being too cute around particular segments, that’s not the fast-track way to growth.

Anton:

It’s too narrow.

Simon:

Yeah, it’s too narrow. And so, the first thing we did was changed the target audience from suburban families to ‘anyone with a mouth‘ basically. And so, we still have many segments within that obviously and how we talk to different types of customers. But the point there was really shifting the focus from just one particular narrow segment to everyone.

That had a flow-on effect on how we did a lot of other things. So, for example, the types of restaurants you sign up on the platform are no longer restaurants that just appeal to families because the family segment in this category, generally most of the transactions for the family segment are on Friday and Saturday nights.

You’ve got 21 traditional meal occasions in a week, and we’re only appealing to two of them. The treat occasion, Friday and Saturday nights.

Anton:

Yeah, there you go. The typical Friday night where the family don’t want to cook can sort the kids out on a Saturday night to be with the family.

Simon:

Exactly. So, we did well during those two meal times and the business was built off the back of that, but there were so many other opportunities to be relevant at different times of the day. And so, then signing up different types of restaurants and being able to market to different types of customers for different dayparts, that opened up a lot more growth as well. We call it a non-dinner business. So, we have an active strategy, which is about targeting or growing non-dinner transactions.

Anton:

Now, I’m interpreting that, but my head is going straight to you’ve got shift workers, I’m assuming. So, we’re talking about the later evening and maybe midnight to 3:00 AM, time periods. We’ve certainly got non-weekend workers. You’ve also got morning dayparts, is that where you’re thinking?

Simon:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, I spoke about 21 meal occasions, but to be honest, where we’re actually moving to is being an on-demand business.

Anton:

Yeah, okay. I was about to say, do you move beyond breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And instead of 21, it could be 2,000 depending on when someone needs your service.

Simon:

Absolutely. That’s the industry. You’ve got to be available 24 hours a day. Different people are hungry at different times of the day. If you just look at Google search trends, the most searched time for McDonald’s is two o’clock in the morning.

Anton:

Really? No surprise, I won’t say which demographic is hitting that one. But that just says opportunity, doesn’t it?

So, you’ve come in and said it’s not about one segment, it’s about opening up different segments. It’s about different dayparts, different days, obviously. Was that an easy sell in, or was that a challenge?

Simon:

No, one of the reasons I took the job was the business was very open to new ways of thinking, to really start to give the competitors a run for their money. And so, I’m fortunate to have entered a business that really believes in marketing, believes in it as an investment.

It’s a major growth driver of business. And so, there are very few games that you would play in some other organisations where marketing is generally trying to justify their existence.

Anton:

Yes, you’ve got a real value equation. I think you started off talking as well. Your history has been about making an impact with marketing; measurable, whether it’s ROI, direct ROI or influencing ROI. So, that makes a lot of sense to me.

So, Menulog is rethinking its business in terms of targets. Did you do anything around the model itself, whether that’s delivery suburban versus Metro and regional? Where did you go with that thinking?

Simon:

Yeah, so very early on, the business made a decision to really start investing in geographies, outside of major metro areas. And we were the first brand to go outside major Metro areas, into small country towns. And small country towns in Australia is tiny compared to a small country town in North America. Where the likes of our competitors are used to.

And so, being able to make a small town in Australia with a population of 20,000 work was a real challenge and a real accomplishment. And being able to make towns like that work … we’re in Ballarat, we’re in Bendigo, we’re in Wagga. I mean, some of those towns are bigger than 20,000, but all the way up to Northern Queensland, Mackay, Rockhampton — again, they’re bigger as well.

But the point is we go into much more remote locations and that’s been a really successful part of our strategy.

Anton:

And when you say, go into it, can you give us a flavour of what does that mean? Because I’m picturing Menulog bikes or cars coming in and talking to local businesses and signing up drivers.

Simon:

That’s exactly what it is. Yeah, we send teams to these places and we speak to restaurants and we explain to them the proposition and how we help grow new customers. We go and employ or contract drivers to deliver the food, and then work with our major partners in these areas like QSRs to promote the fact that we’re there and the towns can get delivery.

Anton:

That’s a real local area marketing approach. And I’ve worked on Foxtel, for example, as the cable rolled out around Australia in the old days. And it sounds a little bit similar. They just went in and combed into postcodes as it got access, as you say, you’re just selling access as you come through. Interesting.

And I don’t know too much as an outsider looking in, but can you tell us a little bit about the commission structures or how does it work? I assume you take a percentage from the restaurants, is that part of the proposition? Does Uber Eats do the same and the competitors do the same? Is that just an even playing field or how do you sit there?

Simon:

The models are very transparent for all of us in the industry, it’s very similar. You take a commission from the restaurants and we charge a delivery fee as well if we’re doing the delivery. And that varies depending on the type of partner you work with and the types of arrangements that different partners need.

I guess one of the biggest differences in our proposition versus some of the other players, is that we have what we call a hybrid model. So, because of our roots in aggregating restaurants that have their own delivery drivers, we offer this model, this hybrid model to restaurants where they can do their own deliveries if they like at certain times of the day. And then they can use our delivery drivers at times when it may not suit them to put someone on.

And so, like our mentality is, go and partner with restaurants. The philosophy for the business from the very beginning was about helping restaurants grow. And that’s what we’ve always stayed true to.

Anton:

It’s a strong value proposition. At the end of the day, you’re helping grow the community. You’re not coming in and attacking the community. As you say, with a hybrid model, it makes a lot of sense. You give the chance for the restaurants to grow or grow their own business and just utilise you when they need.

Simon:

Yeah, that’s right.

Anton:

I’m sure the listeners will be interested to learn a little bit about the Snoop Dog campaign. I shouldn’t say campaign because it’s really been an overarching strategy, hasn’t it?

Can you share a bit about how did that come about? It’s obviously made a big splash in the advertising communications world and appears to have done an amazing job for you and the brand. How on earth did you get to Snoop Dog?

Simon:

It’s very rare that you get to work on something like that in your career. So, we’re very grateful to have been involved in it and for it to have been so successful for us.

I can’t take all the credit. It is a global campaign. It was developed in London, out of McCann London. We actually ran it in our global business, ran it in a handful of markets. We didn’t run it in every market. We ran it in a handful of markets — the markets that we’re looking for had similar challenges to Australia.

And so, I guess the difference in Australia is that we operate under a different brand in Menulog. Whereas the international markets operate under the Just Eat brand. Just Eat and Menulog doesn’t rhyme. And when you have a jingle that is very dependent on rap lyrics-

Anton:

Even a rapper can’t make that work.

Simon:

So, there’s been a lot of chatter on social from Australians who have realised that that is a global campaign and they’ve seen the Just Eat version of it. And likewise in the UK, there’s been a lot of chatter about this weird brand called Menulog that’s stolen the jingle for Just Eat over in the UK.

Anton:

Yes, I’ve been reading some comments and there’s a great commentary, a couple of guys reminding everybody around the world, that’s actually an Australian company — it was Menulog to start with and it became Just Eat when it got sold or merged with Just Eat.

Simon:

So, that’s been quite funny to watch. I guess, the difference in Australia is that we did run this global campaign, but we also took it and localised it a lot more. And we did a follow-up version with Snoop as well. So, we actually shot a local version of the commercial with Snoop during COVID, and we featured a whole bunch of NRL players as well.

And it was during the COVID period. So, that was actually quite interesting, managing a major shoot with a major celebrity talent during COVID when we couldn’t travel. Finding location scouting on its own. I mean you know how difficult this kind of thing is.

Anton:

So, how did that work? Can you give us a flavour of – you want to run a new ad. I assume you’re not flying to America at all. Did you get Snoop to engage his context?

Simon:

Everything was done on Zoom. Everything was done over Zoom with all the lawyers or his lawyers, with his team, with him — all the interviews, all the discussions with him and his team, all done by Zoom. The shoot was managed via Zoom as well.

So, I sat here and my team sat here with the agency locally and the local production company, and then we worked with a partner production company based out of LA. And we managed the whole thing via Zoom.

All the locations, believe it or not, in that commercial were actually shot in his house. So, you can imagine how elaborate and how huge his house is.

Anton:

He’s got a good house, obviously. Some of those places look magnificent, it looks like a ballroom. It looks like a massive palace.

Simon:

Yeah. So, a lot of them were shot in his house. And you know, there was a scene with the basketball court, there was a scene where he kicked an NRL ball in a car park. That was in his car park in the back of his house where all his cars were parked.

And so, yeah. So, we managed that over a Saturday and Sunday sitting in our homes and basically dealing with him and his team through Zoom. It was quite interesting.

Anton:

Good challenge. But I guess as you say, we’re just learning this new world of managing things remotely and making them work.

But as far as Snoop and the campaign activity, it really, I suppose, opened up to those other market segments, is what you’re saying. So, it took you a bit away from the family, opened up to younger (I hate using millennial) — but a younger audience, the transient singles.

It’s not really alienating to males or females. I would have thought it’s quite generic across different market segments. So, that’s obviously done a great thing for your brand.

Simon:

Yeah, so we sat down and thought … before this whole thing was dreamed up, we sat down as a market and wrote down all our challenges and what we needed to overcome the challenges. And there was a very clear brand challenge.

I mean, I talked about occasions and appealing to different occasions and segments and stuff. But beyond that, there was a very, very clear brand challenge. Menulog was viewed as a bit of a dinosaur in the market, to be honest. It certainly was not recognised as being as large a player as it really was at the time, and that was always going to inhibit growth.

And so, we knew there was a huge brand challenge even before we could start appealing to different dayparts, and different segments of the market. And so, we needed an ambassador that could cut through all that and appeal to as many segments as possible, without alienating, as you say.

That could come across as a little bit trendy, but also, the type of person who if your parents like them, you were okay to like them too.

Anton:

Yeah, it wasn’t a “daggy – not my parent” thing, so didn’t alienate.

Simon:

Yeah. And so, if you go through all of the celebrity talent that if you make your own list, Snoop Dogg is arguably the only, or the best talent to meet all that criteria. And so, we were very lucky to have gotten him.

And then we went through other markets and other markets had their own challenges as well. And then we all agreed that Snoop Dogg was the best ambassador to be able to do what we need to do. And so, we signed him up and then the jingle was born and so on.

Anton:

And I think it’s all in their heads. I’m sure people are seeing it in their sleep. I won’t push you on numbers because it’d be rude for me to ask how much you paid him, because I don’t think it’s appropriate. But I assume it’s a fairly big sum. But the ROI and payback must be (if it’s global) infinitely positive.

Simon:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, you obviously get economies of scale when you’re a few markets pulling money together for talent. So, that definitely helps, but ultimately, the payback we’ve had certainly in Australia has been way beyond our expectations. And so, we’ve been very, very happy with the foundation that he has left it.

Like you say, it’s not a campaign. We haven’t seen him as a campaign. He’s been completely game-changing for our business.

Anton:

Yes. And I think from a viewer’s perspective outside the business, just looking in, he got awareness. So, straight away, as you said, maybe Menulog was getting a bit dusty, but it’s back on the agenda.

Uber Eats for me is pretty one dimensional. I get the name. I don’t associate personally with it too much more. So, I got Uber and I got Uber Eats, but for me now, it’s a bit like, okay, there’s not much there. Whereas, I get an attitude and emotion evoked by Snoop.

And now, I’m on board, I’ve been ordering with Menulog. So, I hope everyone listening is going to start to … if you haven’t already jumped on board, it’s not a sales pitch, but jump on board Menulog and have a squiz or order or something, or from one of the competitors, trial it out.

Love to talk a little bit though. I’m not gonna push you on Snoop and the money. But I’ll push you a bit on the measurement side of your business.

So, it’s sounding like you have brand awareness and a consideration challenge. I get that. But also, very much a conversion. You’ve got to hit numbers and, and grow through communities. As the CMO, what are you looking at in terms of numbers? And can you share any stats around how you balance those two challenges?

Simon:

Yeah, we’re a very data-rich business like many tech businesses. So, that’s one of the things I love about this business. But I also like to try and simplify complex data into simple lead indicators that we look at. And the lead indicators are very similar to what you’d expect in other businesses. You know you look at sales, you look at orders.

But yeah, I guess our marketing strategy is very straightforward. I’ve talked about this a lot with other people. But you’ve got the brand and the performance side. Again, not rocket science. Most marketers will have the same kind of approach.

Our approach to brand is about driving top of mind awareness and mental availability. And that’s because this industry like I said before about the travel industry, it’s very quickly moving towards a highly commoditised product where eventually, every aggregator will have every product just like you see in the hotel aggregation industry.

And so, ultimately, what will end up happening is the differentiation will come through experience and marketing. And so, driving mental availability and being top of mind is the first aggregator that you think of when you’re hungry, super important to us. And that’s our approach to brand. And we have a number of strategies and channels and things that we do that help drive top of mind awareness and mental availability.

And then on the conversion side of things, we’ve got a really, really big focus on key performance channels and to ensure that we are making the most of the demand that we’re generating with all our brand activity.

And so, that’s all measured … like a lot of it, it’s all measured through direct orders, through conversion rates depending on the channel. The main channels there would be PBC in search, social — we see social as both a brand and a performance channel actually. And our key retention channels.

Anton:

So, we hear a lot of other industry commentators wanting to pull apart and say, “If we just focused on brand, if we just focused on performance …” It’s unrealistic. I think in ‘logic world’, it’s the balance of both like you talked about.

There might be a little bit of a juggle in that you up weight brand at certain times, and down weight brand at other times, and up weight performance at certain times. But what I’m hearing is you’re just juggling the combination of both.

You’ve got some highly geo-targeted activity, I’m sure — based on location, where you’re in, whether it’s through social or other channels. But it’s good to hear a marketer talk about its actually not huge rocket science in a sense, it’s just balancing those two things.

Simon:

It is. It’s like the long and the short of it. You make sure you balance your brand, your performance. But I mean, I always like to acknowledge the fact that we’re in a fortunate position in that we are a business that invests in marketing. And so, I recognise not every business has the resources that we do and has the good fortune to be able to enact a marketing strategy that is able to give brand and performance the level of attention that it deserves.

Anton:

It deserves, yeah, that’s true.

Simon:

I’ve worked in a lot of other businesses where the reality is that you don’t have the level of resources and you’ve got to make trade-offs. And so, I think that that’s important to acknowledge as well, that it’s easy for people to get up and say just put this much money into the brand and this much in performance and you’ll be successful.

But the reality is most businesses actually aren’t able to do that. And it’s actually about the decisions you make around the tradeoffs that are important.

Anton:

And that’s important anyway, which is really what strategy is at the end of the day.

Simon:

Absolutely.

Anton:

You’ve got to make decisions and not everything’s going to work. You’re probably in the fortunate position as well, that … not being rude. It’s a relatively young company in the very early stages of the overall market growth, let alone your growth. This is exciting, I think, as an outsider and probably what appealed to you, as you said coming in as a CMO.

What about fast-forwarding? Are there trends or innovations, I guess, as the CMO that you’re looking at that are coming from the States or the UK or somewhere else, that you’re seeing that you can share with us?

Simon:

Yeah, it’s hard to crystal ball in the tech world, isn’t it? Because in five years’ time, we could have flying cars. I mean, certainly, we’ll have driverless cars, autonomous vehicles, and they’re already testing a lot of autonomous vehicles in terms of ridesharing as well as delivery, the delivery verticals. So, that’s something definitely that we look at.

For us as a business, like I was saying before, I guess one of the biggest differences that we see in how the Menulog and the Just Eat takeaway (our parent group) see our business compared to the approaches of some of the other players, is that we’re a food business at heart.

And so, we’re a food business at heart that just happened to get into the logistics game. Whereas, many of the other players, logistics players at heart, are delivering things and just have to deliver food.

And so, I guess our future is always going to be in food. Our future’s always going to be well and truly about helping restaurants grow, helping local businesses grow. And so, there’s a lot more opportunity in that area as well for us that we’re not currently tapping into.

Anton:

Yeah, and I think it’s just a groundbreaking area as we’re seeing so much, obviously now around the source, going back to the source of food, the farms. We’ve had the organic trend, but going back to where food comes from. I guess as consumers, we’re questioning a lot about the supply chain in all our food preferences.

So, even just in that short-term territory, there’s probably a huge opportunity for you guys to keep expanding. But good to see that you’re focused on a particular segment and area.

Simon:

Yeah, definitely. In Europe, we’re trialling different propositions around helping restaurants with the dine-in business. So, at the moment, we’re a food delivery business and you asked me how we describe the business. We describe it as a food delivery business. But in other parts of Europe, our business is currently trialling dine-in propositions where we also help restaurants with customers ordering-

Anton:

Pre-ordering and going to dine in.

Simon:

Yeah, making the dine-in process a bit more frictionless. And so, that’s an area that we’re looking at. In some parts of Europe, we have a product called Takeaway Pay. So, Takeaway is one of the brands that we go buy in Europe which is basically a quasi-kind of payment and credit solution where corporates can buy Takeaway Pay for their staff as employee benefits. And then they use Takeaway Pay as currency at restaurants on our platform.

Anton:

Nice, I mean, the big trend there is that cash is almost gone. And I guess you have a tech platform ultimately where you have a store of value somewhere. But I can see a future where wherever I’m travelling, suddenly, I could scan, I could order my food, or I could go and dine in, have that experience. It’s all paid for in the background.

Simon:

That’s right.

Anton:

And it’s based on my preferences or my location or my requirements.

Simon:

Yeah, that’s right.

Anton:

Yeah, okay, interesting. We want to save that one for the next podcast in a year or so if I come back and have a chat with you.

Mate, thank you very much. Great to have a chat with you and hear what you’re doing. Huge congratulations. I think Menulog from lots of outsiders looking in, is doing amazing things and we all wish you all the best.

Simon:

Yeah, thanks mate. Really good to see you as well. And thanks for the kind words.

Anton:

Likewise. I’ve got one more question before we go. What’s your favourite dish that you last ordered from Menulog?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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    Anton is one of Australian's leading customer engagement consultants. With an eye for discovering greater marketing value and a love for listening to what customers are really saying about a brand. Anton has helped take global and local businesses including Microsoft, Nestlé, P&G, Gloria Jean's, Foxtel and American Express amongst others to the next level. Check out Anton's full bio here

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