The intention of meal deliverers TakeAway and the British competitor Just Eat to merge, yields one of the largest meal ordering sites in the world. At the helm is Jitse Groen (41), the man who launched Thuisbezorgd.nl in 2000.
Pizzas play an important role in the development of Thuisbezorgd. In 1999, Jitse Groen felt like a big bite during a family party in the head of Noord-Holland, but it soon became apparent that the pizza he wanted to order could not be delivered to his temporary address. It gave the Business Information Technology student at the University of Twente an idea: to create a website with as many restaurants as possible for ordering food online. Groen had the domain name Thuisbezorgd.nl registered and bought a handbook for starting programmers.
The Era of Dial-up connections
In 2000 the student embarked on his entrepreneurial adventure that started with difficulty, (the internet was then still connected via a slow dial-up connection) but after the introduction of broadband internet in 2003, the delivery service grew rapidly. Groen registered the domain name Takeaway.com as the basis for international growth.
This growth will get a (provisional) high point with the plan to merge with the English company Just Eat. If the merger continues – shareholders and competition authorities still have to agree to the merger plans – the company of Jitse Groen is worth twice as much: 10 billion euros compared to the current 5 billion.
The merger creates one of the largest meal delivery services in the world. Green itself does not want to comment as long as the deal is not yet settled. In any case, it is intended that he be the big boss of the new organization, the financial chief of Just Eat, Paul Harrison, retains this position at the merged company.
Despite strong competition from, among others, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, TakeAway has been market leader in the Netherlands for many years. In December, the company took over the German delivery service Delivery Hero, which also made it the market leader for the eastern neighbors.
TakeAway is also number one in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Alpine countries, Poland, Portugal, Israel, Bulgaria and Romania. The British of Just Eat, on the other hand, are large in, for example, the United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Spain and therefore complement each other. The proposed merger name is Just Eat Takeaway.com.
There are 44,000 restaurants affiliated with TakeAway, including 8,000 in the Netherlands. A restaurant pays 13 percent commission per order to TakeAway, a percentage that is highly criticized. In many cities, alternative platforms of hospitality entrepreneurs who were fed up at home were created in many years.
Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (HKN) reacts strongly to the proposed merger between the delivery giants. “Online platforms have brought a lot to hospitality entrepreneurs in recent years. More and more people order a meal or book a hotel room through online platforms. But the balance of power in the digital world has grown completely crooked. A large part of the hospitality entrepreneurs no longer feel free to do business because of the power of the large, international internet platforms. This often concerns small entrepreneurs. The snack bar around the corner or the pizzeria in your street.”
A merger of Just Eat and TakeAway confirms, according to KHN, that there is too little competition between platforms on the platform market.
“There are only a few major international platforms that determine the rules of the market. Hospitality entrepreneurs can hardly ignore these types of large platforms to reach consumers online in this market. And the platforms make substantial use of this. We are already seeing a situation where the market power of the online platforms is increasing to such an extent that a hospitality entrepreneur is no longer completely free to dispose of his own offer and prices.”
As an example, the Catering Association mentions clauses that use the delivery services; a contractual clause that prohibits the entrepreneur from offering his own meals more cheaply through his own channels than via the platform. “If an entrepreneur decides to work with a platform, he loses an important means to keep his own website competitive. This puts the hospitality entrepreneur in an even more dependent position. This clause is also bad for consumers, because it means that they cannot benefit from the much lower cost price that such an offer entails via the company’s own website.”
KHN believes that there should be no less, but more competition on the platform market, and ask politicians to ensure a fairer position for the hotel and catering industry compared to the large internet platforms.
“This can be achieved by enforcing fair contracts through legislation and thereby halting the abuse of power.”
Jitse Groen previously responded to this criticism by stating that restaurants are not obliged to join his company. According to him, a contract with TakeAway can be canceled per month.
“We do not have a dominant position, we have several competitors in the Netherlands, including three international billion-dollar companies. I dare to say that a restaurant that is affiliated with us makes more sales at lower costs than a restaurant that is not affiliated with us “, said Groen in an interview with Misset Horeca.
It will be announced at the end of August whether the merger will be given the green light.