Rise in online food deliveries ‘not a concern’

Pam Mills

NEW figures have shown how customers are increasingly looking towards online services to order food. 

Just Eat, who now provide a delivery service from around 20 outlets in Tunbridge Wells and 22 in Tonbridge, announced last week their share prices have risen by 4 per cent, by 30¾p to 853¼p.

The rise of takeaway apps was also highlighted when Deliveroo recently announced a 400 per cent growth in Tunbridge Wells in a 12 month period. The firm also said they were to be recruiting more delivery riders in the Kent area. 

A Just Eat spokesman says: ‘In recent years, we’ve seen a transformation in how we eat, enabled by technology, and this is a trend that has fuelled Just Eat’s phenomenal growth. 

‘The busy nature of modern life means that, with competing priorities for time, people are using technology to ensure they can get quality products and services, quickly and conveniently.’ 

The continued growth of takeaway delivery services has come at a time when several restaurants have closed in Tunbridge Wells, including Strada and Jamie’s Italian. 

But on whether the takeaway service could replace eating out, restauranteurs told us that they were not concerned and focused on offering customers ‘something unique’. 

Magdalena Szczerbova, Manager of The Warren in Tunbridge Wells, says: ‘We are quite an upmarket restaurant and [the growth of delivery services] does not really affect us.

‘We have been open for two years and people have become more aware of the quality of our food. 

‘The customers are now looking for something unique. We have our own produce and we are getting more specialist food as people become more sophisticated in their tastes.’

She adds: ‘The big issue in Tunbridge Wells is there are too many chains, independent restaurants cannot compete with them on money. 

‘But we have got clever customers who appreciate independent places. I think because of the post-Brexit economy people have been scared to spend money.’ 

Fran Gillat-Smith, Co-Manager of The Greyhound in Charcott, near Tonbridge, says the quality of her pub’s food would tempt customers to leave their homes for a meal.

‘We have had very positive feedback about our locally sourced produce – but [we offer that] as our personal goal, rather than a business decision.

‘I think it is an important role of a pub to give customers a good experience and make them feel welcome.’ 

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