Appetise, one of the original English online food ordering companies, relaunched its Appetise.com platform at www.appetise.com earlier this year. The currently privately-held company has flown under the radar since its original launch in 2008 but has become well-entrenched in a number of towns in the South West and West Midlands. The brand has approximately 90,000 registered users and 400 restaurants on its platform, with a national footprint and a particularly strong presence in Birmingham. Following an infusion of capital from a New York-based institutional investor last year, Appetise is now taking on the larger competitors in the UK online food ordering industry head-on.
No transaction fees to consumers
The industry giants, led by Just Eat Plc, wield a substantial amount of market power. Consumers ordering through online platforms typically pay a 50 pence transaction fee when paying online by credit or debit card in addition to the price of the meal. These fees can make it more expensive for consumers to order through an online platform than it would be if they ordered directly from the restaurant.
Unlike most other online platforms, Appetise does not charge a card transaction fee to consumers when they pay online, making online ordering no more expensive than ordering directly from the restaurant. Consumers’ perks do not end there. They run a generous loyalty point system, with every order adding to the customer’s loyalty point balance for further discounts. This can make ordering through Appetise even cheaper than ordering directly from the restaurant.
No joining fees to restaurants and lower commissions
Restaurants wishing to join the major online food ordering platforms can pay upfront fees of up to £699, in addition to commissions of up to 14% of the value of the order, a percentage that meaningfully reduces and sometimes wipes out completely the slim profit margins of the restaurants, especially the smaller family run shops. Appetise, with its lean infrastructure, does not charge restaurants joining fees. In addition, the commission rate that Appetise charges to the restaurants does not exceed 10%, which is gentler on the small restaurant business than the industry norm.
The Food Standards Agency assigns a food hygiene rating to restaurants on a scale of zero to five. Most online ordering platforms partner with restaurants regardless of their food hygiene ratings, and do not make information about their partner restaurants’ hygiene rating readily available to consumers. Recognising that food safety, quality and hygiene are critical to consumers and that ordering online can make it harder to assess a restaurant, Appetise enables consumers to make educated choices by allowing them to view the hygiene ratings of its restaurant partners and to screen their search according to a minimum hygiene rating. This ensures that each consumer can tailor their order to the minimum food hygiene standard that is acceptable for them.
While conventional wisdom suggests that London is the main on-line food ordering market, Appetise is focusing on the markets outside of London. For instance, in the first three months of this year Appetise increased the number of restaurants in Birmingham on its platform by nearly 100.
As Appetise ramps up its growth strategies, its Australian holding company Appetise (Holdings) Limited is undertaking an IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange (the ASX), a market that has been receptive to smaller technology companies and has recently seen some food and beverage and food and beverage tech successes.