Meal delivery is anything but a tasty business
Even those who recoil at eating supper out of a soggy box, fear being mowed down by curry-bearing cyclists or think the death of home cooking is a cultural abomination should admire Jitse Groen. The 41-year-old Dutchman, who cooked up the online food delivery business by founding Takeaway.com in his university bedroom in 2000, is not your usual tech billionaire. He keeps a low profile, views venture capital with distaste, earns a relatively unflashy six-figure salary and sometimes hops on the firm’s delivery bikes to help out. His main extravagance is a sharp Italian suit. So why did he, on July 29th, propose shelling out £8.2bn ($10.1bn) on shares for Just Eat, a large but struggling meals-on-wheels firm based in Britain?
即便是那些不敢在潮湿的盒子里吃晚饭、害怕被载着咖喱的自行车手铲倒，或者认为家庭烹饪的消亡是一种文化憎恶的人，也应该钦佩吉特斯•格伦。这位41岁的荷兰人不是常见的那种科技亿万富翁，2000年他在大学宿舍创建了Takeaway.com，策划了网上送餐业务。他保持低调，厌恶风险投资，工资相对不高，只有六位数，有时还会跳上公司的送货自行车帮忙。他的主要奢侈品是一套笔挺的意大利西装。那么，为什么他在7月29日提议出资82亿英镑(合101亿美元)购买Just Eat的股票呢? Just Eat是一家总部位于英国的大型但经营不善的上门送餐服务公司。
The answer says a lot about the voodoo economics of the food delivery industry. It is a hotly competitive business, attracting the world’s biggest moneybags such as Amazon, Alibaba and Soft- Bank. Balancing the needs of diners, cooks and couriers is fiendishly complicated. Most startups lose platefuls of money. Yet they have received more than $30bn from spellbound venture capitalists in the past five years. And they are likely to get more.