The merger of the UK’s greatest meals ordering app Simply Eat and its Dutch equal final yr created that uncommon firm whose title can be its technique: to influence prospects to not cook dinner at dwelling or exit however to Simply Eat Takeaway.

The lockdowns of 2020 created the right recipe for that ambition to be fulfilled. That shone by within the speedy progress revealed by annual outcomes this week from JET and its UK rival Deliveroo, following sturdy numbers final month from Uber, DoorDash and Supply Hero.

Simply Eat Takeaway’s gross merchandise quantity — a measure of client spending throughout its companies — went up by 51 per cent final yr. Supply Hero, the group which runs supply companies in 40 nations, and Deliveroo, which is making ready for a $10bn initial public offering, each reported an annual leap of round two-thirds in buyer spending. Uber Eats greater than doubled its gross bookings, whereas DoorDash’s market gross order quantity tripled in 2020.

Charts showing that Just Eat Takeaway leads in UK and DoorDash in US

Every of those corporations measures the top-line exercise on its apps in a barely completely different manner, making it troublesome to attract a real like-for-like comparability between the figures.

Nevertheless, one proxy of relative market share will be gleaned from analysing anonymised cost knowledge. In response to Edison Traits, which tracks greater than 2.5m card transactions within the US, DoorDash gained share on the expense of rivals all through 2020. It estimates that its market share elevated by about 27 foundation factors per week whereas opponents, particularly these with smaller scale, misplaced out.

DoorDash’s rise can be supported by app obtain knowledge from Sensor Tower — which can be utilized as an indicator for buying new prospects. It confirmed that the San Francisco-based firm’s price of progress was increased in each month final yr when put next with rivals. Within the UK, Deliveroo outperformed friends on this measure.

Charts showing that food delivery app downloads rose at the start of the pandemic

It’s clear that the pandemic supercharged the meals supply house. “The disaster appears to have lifted all boats,” stated Andrew Gwynn, analyst at Exane BNP Paribas.

After a rocky first few weeks of the pandemic, when many eating places needed to shutter altogether, the net meals corporations that did greatest have been those that function their very own fleet of couriers, resembling Deliveroo.

That logistics functionality enabled them to ship meals from locations that had by no means signed up for takeaway apps earlier than the pandemic. Tens of hundreds of recent eating places and grocery retailers joined Deliveroo final yr to take its whole to 115,000, whereas Uber and DoorDash now have 675,000 and 450,000 particular person shops and retailers respectively promoting by their platforms.

Chart showing that for food delivery companies, converting sales to profits is proving tricky

That left Simply Eat Takeaway — which has historically let the pizza joints and kebab retailers that record on its app to ship orders utilizing their very own workers — racing to recruit couriers. Up to now few months, for the primary time, Simply Eat’s orange-jacketed riders have appeared on the streets of London to tackle Deliveroo’s distinctive military of turquoise-clad mopeds and cyclists.

Because of Simply Eat’s closely discounted supply drive, what is generally among the many most worthwhile of meals supply corporations noticed pre-tax losses jump 67 per cent to €147m. Most of its rivals posted even wider losses, however Deliveroo and DoorDash have been in a position to rein in advertising and marketing spending final yr, which on some measures pushed them nearer to profitability.

Jitse Groen, JET’s chief government, believes its base of extra conventional takeaway eating places and prospects will go away it higher positioned than its rivals when restrictions ease. Coupled with the completion of its merger with US-based Grubhub, he anticipates an “acceleration” of order progress this yr, even after 2020s frenzy.

Treemap showing the global food delivery market size

“When the pandemic began, there was fairly a big improve in logistical orders in principally all our markets,” he stated. “If you happen to can’t go to a restaurant, you’ll order in. So the inverse will occur when eating places reopen.”

Deliveroo chief government Will Shu counters that even when eating places have been briefly allowed to reopen within the UK final summer season, the London-based firm “continued to develop quickly and the order frequency of customers remained excessive”.

Nonetheless, Deliveroo and DoorDash are both warning of slower growth in buyer spending this yr.

“The priority I’d have is the second half of the yr,” stated Gwynn. “All of them have to maintain the highest line rising and it might be fairly troublesome.”

Further reporting by Patrick Mathurin and Chris Campbell