If you’ve turned on the news recently, you’ll almost definitely have witnessed a report featuring a brightly coloured Deliveroo rider navigating their way through a busy city centre.

As a key player in the gig economy revolution, Deliveroo has made headlines recently because of the growing media storm surrounding employee rights for subcontractors.

What’s Deliveroo?

Deliveroo is a British company that enables consumers to order takeaway meals from restaurants and have them delivered via bicycle or motorbike, directly to their door. They make their money by charging restaurants a commission, and consider their workers to be self-employed.

And that’s the rub. As self-employed subcontractors, people who get on their bike for Deliveroo aren’t entitled to sick pay or any of the other benefits that come with being a direct employee of a company.

Despite this, the firm’s boss, Will Shu, has expressed a desire to pay sickness and injury benefits to its riders – if UK law is changed.

So, this debate will clearly rumble on, but we think you might have some rather more pressing queries…

What is the gig economy?

By 2020, some very clever experts predict there will be 7.6 million people working in the US on-demand economy, and it’s likely the UK will follow suit.

Otherwise known as the ‘gig economy’, on-demand working refers to a labour market that swaps permanent employees for short-term contracts and freelancers.

The jobs on offer are readily available and incredibly varied. Need a gardener every other Tuesday? A software developer for a two-week project? Someone to take all that rubbish to the tip?

Head to the gig economy!

OK – so how does the gig economy affect restaurants?

The emergence of Deliveroo brought the benefits of gigging workers in the restaurant industry into sharp focus.

Suddenly, restaurants could implement online ordering and delivery strategies without having to invest in a new website or the workforce to support it. All that was required was a contract with Deliveroo and acceptance they’d have to pay a commission per delivery.

Some have called this the “Uberisation” of the restaurant sector, and they have a point. The total number of Uber trips taken surpassed two billion last year, proving that if there’s one thing people love, it’s the ability to pick up a smartphone, order something and wait for it to be delivered.

We’re simple creatures, at heart.

Should restaurants ‘take on’ Deliveroo?

It’s hard enough filling your restaurant at the best of times, but with companies like Deliveroo seemingly ‘stealing’ direct business and employees from your doorstep, how are you supposed to compete with the ease-of-service they provide?

More importantly, do you need to ‘take them on’ at all?

If you’ve considered introducing online ordering and delivery for your restaurant, you’ll doubtless have looked at Deliveroo and its competitors. You may even have wondered whether or not this is something you can do off your own back.

We’d recommend not doing this yourself. As previously noted, services like Deliveroo have all the mechanics and people in place to get you up and running with delivery quickly. Yes – it’ll cost per transaction, but weigh that up against the investment required to do it by yourself, and the value quickly become clear.

But what about staff? Are they really being poached by Deliveroo and pals?

Possibly. But you can play them at their own game. The reason so many workers are flocking to the gig economy is because it enables them to work how and when they choose (within reason).

They also love the fact they can use technology to manage their working patterns, accept jobs, complete work and enhance their skills.

However, providing you adopt new tech within your restaurant, you can do the same. Scheduling software, online restaurant booking systems and cloud-based POS are not only intuitive for the modern employee – they also foster a much healthier working style.

Don’t assume Deliveroo is making it impossible for you to attract top talent and modern diners. By combining their service with an increased focus on the latest tech internally, you’ll find yourself benefitting wholeheartedly from the gig economy.

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