Food delivery, the boom in home delivered meals


Food delivery in Italy, the boom is overt. From 207 million in 2017 to 350 million in 2018, +69%. (1) An innovative and highly appreciated service, albeit with some critical points, starring in a dizzying growth.

The Biggies of the industry

In the beginning was pizza delivery. To the tune of stickers on phone booths, flyers on windshields and in mailboxes, pizza express has dominated the food delivery scene for decades. And then, the digital miracle.

The arrival of

food delivery

in Italy is quite recent. The first to arrive, in 2011, was Denmark’s Just Eat, followed in 2013 by and Mymenu. The breakthrough came in 2015, when Deliveroo, Foodora, Glovo, Moovenda, ChopsticksForchettes, CosaOrdino, Foodracers and Sgnam opened. In 2016 it is the turn of Uber Eats.



of the Italian market is the English Deliveroo. Box-office champion abroad as well. According to the Financial Times is among the European companies with the highest growth rate in 2017. From its founding in 2013 to 2016, it would have recorded a 924 percent increase in annual sales.

Burdens and honors, a few cases

Operators of
food delivery
retain a fixed percentage on each order, which varies significantly depending on whether or not they provide delivery service and in any case includes the restaurateur’s presence on the site’s virtual storefront.

‘Just Eat, with whom we have been working for 6 years, retains 12%. They send us the orders and we fulfill them by entrusting the delivery to our deliveryman‘, explains Antonio Nofi of ‘Il mare di Terracina,’ one of the most popular places in South Rome – self-service and fish market – where to eat fresh fish at a good price. ‘And thanks to the partnership with Just Eat,’ Antonio continues,‘in 2018 our turnover grew by 20 percent.’ Deliveroo and Glovo retain more than twice as much, 30 percent, but that includes the customer’s home delivery service.

In addition to the fixed fee retained on orders, restaurateurs face a financial cost. In fact, payments made by customers to the operators of the various Apps by credit card are billed (and paid) by the owners after 15 days. Additional costs may need to be incurred in the event of promotions, which Deliveroo and Glovo-unlike Just Eat-put on the restaurateur, who is, moreover, free to choose whether to join. Discounts of 10-20% on less busy days and/or periods, for example, or on anniversaries or even in favor of new customers.

Some public merchants, on the other hand, object outright to working with food delivery operators. This is the case of the well-known Roman pizzeria ‘Ar volo,’ whose quality is evidenced by the always full premises. When tested with one of the most well-known Apps, ‘Ar volo‘ encountered delivery delays and customer dissatisfaction. An experience judged as not to be repeated.

Others, however, use food delivery to consolidate their ‘brand’ rather than to increase their already satisfactory turnover. This is the case of the famous chain of pizzerias Mama Eat, established in 1999 in Naples and developed in Rome and Milan, which stands out for its menus that are also gluten-free. App presence, explains Roberto Zeco, who oversees its marketing, has a strategic function. And from this perspective it is also possible to negotiate rates.

Critical points

The great success of food delivery is easily explained. All it takes is an App to access an ever-growing list of restaurants, fast food joints, and pizzerias at the click of a button. The order is paid for in advance by credit card (with an appreciable cut to the ‘black’), with no or a small charge for home delivery. Which is usually on time.

Logistics-from receiving and handling orders to delivering the meal to the customer-is handled entirely by the operator. With the exception of Just Eat, which does not provide delivery drivers and in fact charges less exorbitant rates to restaurateurs.

Just the crucial link

of the service – the


– have become one of the critical issues for companies in the industry. Which accumulate huge profits but pay couriers little, without providing them with the typical guarantees of the labor contract (insurance coverage, paid vacation and sick leave, etc.). An imbalance that has resulted in legal action – won by deliverymen in Spain – and draft legislation ad hoc Italy. Italy in particular could be the first country in Europe to recognize protections for these new workers.

A critical issue shared

with almost all restaurateurs is then the lack of information regarding allergens

. In the culpable omission of ICQRF and ASL controls, allergic consumers again suffer unacceptable discrimination and health hazards.

Marta Strinati


(1) Data

of the Polytechnic University of Milan, processed and reported by Fipe in its 2018 report on catering

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".