Food delivery is back in focus, as Covid-19 disrupts the high street, driving renewed hype around dark kitchens.

The US has been ahead of Europe on delivery-first or delivery-only kitchens; however, since the pandemic began London has seen a plethora of players come into the dark kitchen market. The most prominent names in London include Cloud Kitchens (who grew quickly through the acquisition of FoodStars), Karma Kitchen and Jacuna Kitchens however there are others doing some interesting things on the fringes. …

A sustainable business must consider and evaluate its hiring and remuneration strategy from day one. While I focus on food these principles are true for any scale-up.

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In the early stages, founders often focus on product and fail to truly consider future hiring needs. Assumptions are made that workers will be found.

In most instances, scaling will be driven by the ability to continually hire good people, at a sustainable cost, quickly. Obvious advice would be to build a company that will be attractive to future employees and, if possible, focused on an industry that enjoys excess labour supply.

Hiring when done well can generate exponential growth. The return on good quality human capital is manifold. The largest cost in many food businesses is labour and even with scale that doesn’t change a whole lot. In ways, an investment in a food business is really a bet that the human capital will generate a strong return. It’s vital to look beyond the management team and understand the nature of the workers on the ground. Is this workforce scaleable? — will the company be able to find and attract people of similar quality as it looks to expand, and what do these people have to be paid? …


Mark Murphy

UK-based Irish Founder. Built a virtual restaurant group. Interested in nascent industries, early stage co’s and entrepreneurship more generally.

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