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Deliveroo riding the storm in Kuwait and Qatar

Deliveroo's orders have dropped this year but business is holding strong in Kuwait and Qatar Reuters/Eric Gaillard
Deliveroo's orders have dropped this year but business is holding strong in Kuwait and Qatar
  • Global orders down but Gulf region a bright spot
  • Kuwait had triple-digit growth during pandemic
  • Value of food delivery market expected to be $9bn by 2028

Kuwait and Qatar are predicted to continue to buck the trend as Deliveroo’s worldwide orders tumble.

The online food delivery platform received 72.1 million orders worldwide in the first three months of this year, a drop of 9 percent over the same period last year, according to a statement from company headquarters in London.

Earlier this year, CEO Will Shu announced plans to cut 350 jobs, or nearly one-tenth of its non-rider workforce.

Deliveroo, which has had a presence in the UAE since 2015, launched in Kuwait in mid-2019 and started operations in neighbouring Qatar in September last year.

Seham al Husaini, general manager for both countries, revealed the business in Kuwait – which is second in that particular market behind rival Talabat – enjoyed triple-digit growth during the pandemic, when enforced lockdowns led to a rapid rise in deliveries.

While that has since “stabilised”, Al Husaini is forecasting further growth throughout the region.

“Covid gave us a boost injection that pushed us forward maybe ten years,” she told AGBI.

“We have grown the restaurant and ODG (on-demand grocery) sites by close to 20 percent year-on-year across the Middle East – UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.” 

Deliveroo works with 5,000 restaurants and grocery partners in Kuwait and a further 1,500 in Qatar.

Its fleet includes 2,000 riders, with plans to ramp this up throughout the second half of the year.

“Rider supply is always expanding. This is always an area we’re growing,” Al Husaini said.

Many commentators expected food delivery firms to struggle once coronavirus pandemic restrictions were lifted.

The recent increased cost of living and the pay disputes of delivery drivers could also be obstacles to growth.

However, Al Husaini is confident the company can ride the storm in her region. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I think we have a firm position here and a well established business,” she said.

The value of the food delivery market in the GCC in 2022 was over $3 billion and is expected to reach more than $9 billion in 2028 with a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent, according to data from market research firm Infinium.

Deliveroo reported a 4 percent rise in worldwide revenue in the first quarter, although the drop in orders on its platform resulted in 1 percent lower gross transaction value.

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