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Food focus: Levi Aron

In November last year, Deliveroo Australia unveiled its newest innovation. It would address an oft-cited problem from customers ordering their nightly takeaway through its app. Customers could order from their favourite nearby restaurants without any issues. But what if their favourite restaurant wasn’t within a five-kilometre radius of their home? What would they do then?

Worry no more, says Levi Aron, the Country Manager of Deliveroo Australia. The takeaway food delivery giant is building standalone kitchens, called Deliveroo Editions, for a whole range of different restaurant and food brands as a means to broaden its reach. According to Levi, up to 25 brands could be present at any one time inside each location.

Levi Aron, Country Manager of Deliveroo Australia
Levi Aron, Country Manager of Deliveroo Australia

“To put it into context, we’re able to take a great restaurant that might be based in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and deliver to customers on the other side of the city,” he says. “Because we bear the cost on our side, there is no setup charge to a restaurant, thus enabling them to expand their reach.”

Planned expansion and partnerships

Deliveroo Editions is planning to expand across Melbourne and into Sydney, and has opened similar kitchens in London, Singapore, Paris and Dubai. “Within a matter of three to four months, a restaurant could go from a single entity in Footscray, to a national entity, and then a global entity through partnering with Deliveroo Editions sites spread throughout the country and the globe.”

The new initiative has been one and a half years in the making, and has been made possible in Australia through Deliveroo’s partnership with Easton, a Melbourne-based building consultancy. “We are truncating the size of the kitchens so they can be fit for delivery. We’re also building intelligent pod systems so, if need be, a kitchen can be relocated,” Levi says.

“By partnering with Easton on the building side, and harnessing Deliveroo’s smart algorithms and technology we have been able to massively accelerate our growth, not just in Australia but globally. That’s something we’re very proud of, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without such partnerships.”

“The buildings complementing the technology has helped us to massively accelerate our growth, not just in Australia but globally.”

With one eye on seeing through the expansion of Deliveroo Editions, Levi has his other on another hot topic in the takeaway delivery space – road safety. To keep himself on the ground, literally and figuratively, Levi rides on the Deliveroo service route every second Sunday. Through the experience, he says, he has a more thorough understanding of how riders operate, the flexibility they enjoy in the work, the interactions with restaurants and safety concerns across the company’s 30,000-plus delivery riders globally.

“We focus on one thing: food”

“I ride through different conditions. We’ve had lots of 40-degree days, or rain, or hail. Our riders have become very conscious of the weather. We’re able to send out warnings to them to drive or ride with care, or do whatever is required for them to be safe.”

In Australia, Deliveroo has reviewed all of its training material to help ensure it has a gold standard with regard to rider safety, partnering with the Amy Gillett Foundation and working closely with city councils and police to help further these efforts. Recently, it surveyed all of its riders regarding the dangers on the road, and black spots, or areas that might be of interest to councils and road authorities.

Levi Aron, Country Manager of Deliveroo Australia
Levi Aron, Country Manager of Deliveroo Australia

“Having thousands of riders out on the road gives us a unique ability to report on conditions and safety. We have been asked for this information before by other councils, so we’re giving them feedback on where our riders believe there are areas with problems that need to be addressed, or need more lighting.”

With such rapid innovation, Levi is aware of the risk of taking on too much too soon. For a business with exponential growth year on year, the temptation becomes ever greater to try new things. He believes it’s better to temper that temptation. “It’s all about focus. We’ve kept it very clear that we focus on one thing: food. We don’t get involved in other types of delivery. I think that that’s important with business in general – to stay focused and to hold yourself back from going after the latest shiny object and adding yet another new offering,” he says.

“At the end of the day, anyone who’s in a business always has a customer to cater for. If you focus purely on the customer experience, everything else will follow.”

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