Deliveroo losses race ahead as sales near £500m


Annual losses at Deliveroo widened to £232 million last year as its rapid expansion continued.

The privately owned food-delivery business said yesterday that global sales had reached £476 million in 2018, its sixth year of trading, up 72 per cent on 2017.

Gross profits rose by 42 per cent to £91 million, but pre-tax losses expanded by 16 per cent. The company’s 2018 accounts have yet to be filed at Companies House, the corporate registry, but Deliveroo issued a statement outlining highlights of its performance for the year.

The London-based business said that it had “continued to invest heavily in its service as it looks to expand its operations” and added that it planned to launch in another 50 towns and cities in the UK this year, “extending its reach to half the population”.

Deliveroo provides an online ordering platform and delivery network for chains such as Wagamama, Nando’s and KFC, as well as independent restaurants. It has a growing outsourced kitchen business and this year added a grocery delivery partnership with the Co-op.

The company says that it works with 80,000 restaurants and takeaways, has 60,000 riders operating in 14 markets and employs 2,500 staff.

Deliveroo is one of Europe’s most valuable and fastest-growing private companies. It has raised more than $1.5 billion in equity backing from investors including Amazon.

Amazon is seen as a potential buyer of Deliveroo, but the Competition and Markets Authority, the regulator, has told the companies that they must not integrate pending an investigation into whether their tie-up would harm consumers.

Deliveroo was founded in 2013 by childhood friends William Shu, a former banker, and Greg Orlowski, a software engineer. Mr Shu, 39, had the idea for the business after growing dismayed at the paucity of takeaway options while working long hours at Morgan Stanley.

He said that the company was going from strength to strength: “We’re focused on our mission of becoming the definitive food company and we’ve continued to invest heavily in expansion, technology and new products to meet this ambition.”

Deliveroo’s competitors include Uber Eats and Just Eat. It has been the subject of protests over its reliance on self-employed delivery workers.