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A New Restaurant Delivery Start-Up Wants to Be the ‘Anti-Deliveroo’

Slerp, by Crosstown Doughnuts founder, says it is “disrupting the disruptors”

Slerp has taken aim at the existing delivery operators in London
Crosstown [Official Photo]/Slerp [Official Photo]/Artwork by Andrew Leitch

A new delivery service for restaurants called Slerp has launched as a rival to Deliveroo, Amazon Restaurant and Uber Eats.

It has been created by the founder of Crosstown Doughnuts, JP Then, and appears to be aimed at restaurants (as well as other retail businesses) rather than consumers, building on the anxiety felt by restaurants in particular towards existing delivery operators — and where they might be going in the future.

Slerp offers software which can be plugged into a restaurant or retailer’s own website, allowing customers to order directly rather than go through a third party delivery platform like Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat or Amazon Restaurants.

Slerp promises it will only function as a service for businesses — and says it has no desire to market the brand to consumers. The idea is Slerp’s technology will be weaved into a restaurant’s existing digital operation, allowing it to show live stock levels, take and accept orders, facilitate collection as well as feed into a raft of third party courier companies, such as Stuart, which will handle the pick up and delivery. Then says the software has been built in order to serve single store businesses as well as chains.

The company is being pitched with an unashamedly “anti-Deliveroo and anti-Amazon” message, attempting to take advantage of any negative sentiment or anxiety from any restaurants and retailers towards the tech firms.

Restaurants will have to pay a £39 per month subscription to use the Slerp software, plus a 7.5 percent commission of the order value for the delivery.

When Deliveroo first started its commissions to restaurants were around 10 percent of the order bill, but its commissions have been edging up to typically around 30 percent, although each restaurant negotiates its own deal.

Deliveroo faces heavy marketing costs to get its brand in front of diners, leaving it little choice but enforce stiff commissions to restaurants to remain viable. Slerp, by contrast, claims it operates on a leaner basis, without carrying the costs of advertising, promotion and brand-building.

Restaurants Eater spoke to said Deliveroo typically takes £9 from a £30 order. Then claimed Slerp would charge around £6.50, with the restaurant deciding how much of the cost it wanted to pass on to the customer.

The idea has been in development for over two years, according to Then. “It was when Deliveroo was getting momentum and before Uber Eats launched. It was clear the direction this was going, and I wanted to have a more direct solution for Crosstown where we could engage directly with our customers. We couldn’t do that with a third party, and we risked being dependent on them.”

He added: “It’s clear we’re not the only ones being crushed by the delivery companies’ commissions. We’re trying to disrupt the disrupters.”

Speaking to Eater, Then said the company has raised “several hundred thousand pounds” in funding and has a board of four people with experience in legal, tech and retail. The company operates with three full-time employees out of a co-working space in east London and a team of 10 developers working in Manila, in the Philippines.

Then is currently trying to encourage restaurants to try the service alongside their established delivery partners in a bid to prove it can work. He has been using Crosstown as a pilot restaurant on the platform to test and improve the platform and introduce new features.

There are nonetheless significant challenges faced by Slerp. Among them is the need for restaurants and retailers to generate their own traffic rather than take advantage of the customers coming directly to Deliveroo’s platform. It’s also unclear if over time Slerp will be able to demonstrate it has a unique software proposition compared to the likes of Amazon and Deliveroo, as well as Stuart and Quiqup, which are also developing their own plug-in software aimed at retailers.