Peter Georgiou, SUPPER28th February 2018
What’s it really like to start a business in hospitality? We started an interview series to find out.
This week, we talked with Peter Georgiou, Founder of SUPPER, about brand loyalty in the age of delivery, Homeslice, and what people are ordering in 2018.
First up, are Deliveroo & UberEATS good for restaurants?
I think delivery services, in general, are good for restaurants. They provide customers with choice and convenience, and they can open up new, previously unexplored revenue channels.
I’m not sure that these large and mechanical services benefit all restaurants though; their services are very much geared up to help themselves grow and don’t necessarily benefit all kinds of restaurants, especially independents.
So what do SUPPER do that they don’t?
We try to add that personal touch. We’re really a restaurant-style delivery service. The kind of thing you’d want to put in place yourself, as a restaurant owner if you had the time. Or the inclination I guess.
We work closely with our restaurant partners and, to my mind, offer both the restaurant and customer a better all-around service.
But how do you do that?
We place a great deal of emphasis on quality. We also employee all our drivers directly and, that way, ensure we control the delivery process, from the moment the food is picked up until it is delivered. That makes a huge difference.
This isn’t always something you can control when people are self-employed and can come and go as they please.
Do you think more restaurants will manage their own delivery logistics in the future?
Funny you mention that. We have actually developed our service to be white labelled and have already been asked by a group to help start their own delivery service.
Commission levels are only going one way, and the quality of delivery seems to be going in the opposite direction. It’s definitely something more and more restaurants are looking at. Nando’s have done it recently. It gives them a great deal more control over how the whole process works. Control over quality and, as a result, their brand.
It feels like we’ve hit a point of market saturation. Restaurants are opening at a record pace, yet there have been some high profile closures recently. Is any of this down to delivery?
I think a lot of people think it’s quite cool or easy to open a restaurant and can see a lot of success stories out there, but it’s extremely difficult to build a successful brand.
Delivery helps to add to the bottom line, sure, but it isn’t going to save a restaurant and it probably isn’t going to break a restaurant either. If you have a great product – be that concept or food – people will come to your restaurant. In turn, they will then probably order that food to be delivered at home, because they love it.
People don’t order food from delivery platforms just because it’s a burger place or chicken shop. That’s not enough.
They’re loyal to the brand.
Exactly. We like brands and we will always like brands.
And I think that, if delivery didn’t exist in the form it does now, with Deliveroo, UberEats or SUPPER, those restaurants would still have gone under. I’ve seen this a lot and we’ve actually lost a few restaurants since we launched. I think the problem with a lot of restaurant groups is that they try to overextend themselves; they think they’re more popular than they actually are.
Naturally, we’re fickle by nature and always want the latest thing, so unless you are really, really staying ahead of the curve, or doing something particularly different, the customer will move on pretty quickly. They get bored.
I’m sure there’s a perfect ratio for customer appetite and restaurant group size, but it’s not easy to master. Delivery has caused a few people to stay at home a bit more, but I’m not sure it’s been a direct reason for any restaurants going under.
Where do you go to eat?
Where don’t I go? To be honest, I don’t visit that many places over and over again.
"It’s no secret that vegan food is on the rise across all cuisines, but we’re also seeing Greek, Peruvian, Japanese and Tawainese make huge inroads into people’s homes"
Not even Homeslice? You work with them right?
I do regularly visit Homeslice – it’s the best pizza in town! Homeslice is one of those stories that nearly never happened. I had eaten there a few times and loved it. I went into one of the branches and asked if they did delivery and was told they were just about to start with one of our competitors. Frankly, I was a bit dejected.
But I went back over a month later and was told that the service was a disaster, so they stopped. I asked them if they would consider using SUPPER and they were still a bit reluctant.
So, I agreed to do a test: If we could keep a pizza hot on a trip over 3.5 miles, they would work with us. Suffice to say I was very happy we made that happen, proving how much better our service was.
Where else do you get to?
I’ve been to Rambla and Xu recently, both notable and different.
I really like Granger & Co. The food is always really satisfying, I’d love to deliver for those guys! We’ve also been doing a lot of work with The Kitchens in Old Spitalfields Market and the guys there are all great. The food coming out of Flank, Sood, Dumpling Shack, Happy Endings, Jiaba, Monty’s Deli and the others is great. They’re doing exciting things and adding to the vibrant London food scene.
From what you’re seeing, which cuisines are on the rise? It felt like 2017 was the year for modern Indian and Italian food.
Is there such a thing as modern Indian? I’m joking, Indian has always been a much-loved delivery cuisine, as has Italian.
It’s no secret that vegan food is on the rise across all cuisines, but we’re also seeing Greek, Peruvian, Japanese and Tawainese make huge inroads into people’s homes. Our tastes are certainly getting more adventurous and diverse.
However, pizzas and burgers are still the most loved. Let’s see which countries can add their own little twists on those food types this year.
What are your views on dark kitchens? Would SUPPER ever set any up?
I don’t have a problem with dark kitchens per se. They can help bring great food to an area devoid of it.
My issue is the kitchen itself. I think they should be good spaces to work in, not dingy boxes. Done right, a dark kitchen should be exactly like a traditional restaurant kitchen, without the tables and chairs and expensive location. I would only consider it if it was done that way, and I could persuade some of the restaurants I want to work with to open up there.
But I know we would totally smash the delivery side of it.