Delivereasy, New Zealand’s very own food delivery service, is going up against global giants in their own backyard. Founded in 2016, Co-Founders Nick Foster and Tim Robinson chat to Idealog on how they were able to make it through the pandemic as well as the introduction of Uber Eats to New Zealand, and still come out on top.
Just last year in 2022 and for the third time running, Delivereasy has made it into the Top 10 of the Deloitte Fast 50, a ranking system that applauds businesses for how quickly they grow.
Foster, Robinson and Blair Kippenberger, who were originally co-workers at a subsidiary company of Meridian Energy, came up with the idea of Delivereasy in 2015 after Foster’s hungover flatmate ordered pizza every weekend.
“We’d always ask her why she’d always get Hell’s Pizza delivered and she’d sort of reply ‘If I could get more than just pizza, then I would a hundred percent order it’,” says Foster.
“That was sort of one of the light bulb moments.”
Looking overseas at how other countries handled the delivery industry, New Zealand was behind, posing a question for Foster and Robinson on what they could do to fill the gap.
It happened naturally for the pair, with Robinson having a tech developer background and Foster with a history in sales and marketing.
“The next few days after that work drinks, we sort of hooked each other to see if this was a real thing, and a lot’s happened since then. We kept talking about it, decided to give it a crack, registered the business and the name, and the rest is history,” Foster adds.
Robinson says timing was everything for them where they addressed an issue way before the global giants of the delivery food service landed in New Zealand.
“This was a ground-up business – the only backers we had was ourselves. Expectations were low, resources were limited, and we couldn’t live above our means. But we all believed in the idea because we’d seen it skyrocket overseas,” says Robinson.
Despite all the challenges and trials and errors that came in the first year of Delivereasy such as leaving their corporate jobs and salaries for a start-up that provided them with less than minimum wage, the company earned half a million in the first year.
Launching in 2016 in the Wellington region, Delivereasy was seeing “good trajectory” of growth, further expanding their reach to other regions such as Dunedin, Tauranga, Nelson and more.
Just after launching in Wellington, Uber Eats launched in Auckland and in order to compete the pair decided to work on establishing relationships with other regions.
“We decided to focus on the regions where we could get established first and build relationships with customers and restaurants while the big players put all their effort into the Auckland market,” Foster adds.
Foster and Robinson say that at first it was “pretty daunting” when the big names began making their way to New Zealand shores.
“That’s the big test of how it all stands out once everyone else comes into your backyard,” adds Robinson.
But the introduction of the delivery giants in New Zealand brought more attention to Delivereasy.
“I was bracing for the worst, but it turned out to be, in some ways, a bit of a blessing,” says Robinson.
Delivereasy was seeing major trajectory but once the pandemic hit, they catalysed more growth and brought themselves forward, despite being worried.
The relationship the company established with hospitality partners and customers put them ahead of the game during the pandemic and when the like of Uber Eats came into the mix.
“I don’t think Tim and I are people that like to lie down and just take defeat, so it probably gave us inspiration to actually take it to the next level and strive to do better and to take these players on,” says Foster.
“I think, I’d like to think the evidence is there that we’ve given it a pretty good crack.”
Their relationships with locals and reinforcing their genuine care for both the retailers and consumers, with an office in New Zealand is their biggest advantage compared to others.
Now Delivereasy is available nearly everywhere in New Zealand, becoming the only delivery service to have the largest geographical cover.
Nearing their six millionth order and 10-year anniversary, the pair hope they can fully fulfil regional expansion to cover every corner of the country.
“I think we really want to kind of get everything someone could want on demand out to them, so we would hope that anyone anywhere the country, in the next two or three years, can get anything they want to delivered in 30 minutes sort of thing,” says Robinson.
And with the demand growing at a strong pace, it seems Delivereasy is defending its home ground well against the global big guns in the space all thanks to timing and the Kiwi values of not giving up.