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Just Eat losses widen despite 40% leap in lockdown orders

Just Eat Takeaway has reported a deeper annual loss despite a surge in revenue, driven by high demand for food deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company reported a bottom line loss of €151m (£129.5m) for 2020 compared to €115m (£98.5m) over the previous 12 months.

It said the figure reflected its investments including growing market share in the highly competitive space – also occupied by the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats – ahead of its planned takeover of US-based operator Grubhub.

Deliveroo riders are to be rewarded with cash payouts of up to £10,000 on the day of the listing. Pic: AP
Image: Rival Deliveroo reported earlier this week that it also remains loss-making

That is expected to complete within months.

The group’s financial comparisons were adjusted to take account of the tie-up between Takeaway.com of Amsterdam and Just Eat that took effect last April as the COVID-19 pandemic gathered speed across Europe.

Just Eat Takeaway told investors it would continue to maintain a strategy of investment in 2021 and anticipated a continuation of order growth as it revealed a 40% rise compared to 2019 – hitting 588 million deliveries.

As a consequence, group revenue rose by 54% during 2020 to €2.4bn (£2bn).

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Shares rose by more than 4% at the open.

The company has benefited from widespread restrictions on movement and the enforced closures of restaurants across Europe, with delivery-based enterprises witnessing a surge in demand from takeaway outlets that were able to stay open.

The trends were matched when rival Deliveroo revealed just days ago how it had performed during 2020, ahead of its planned flotation in London.

While app-based delivery firms have been able to operate freely, dine-in chains have not been so lucky.

File photo dated 08/03/20 of a Wagamama and a Frankie & Benny's restaurant at Festival Leisure Park in Basildon, Essex
Image: The owner of the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s brands has restaurant staff furloughed

The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s and the Wagamama brands, announced on Wednesday that it plans to raise £175m from investors to help it survive the crisis intact.

It reported a 57% decline in sales during 2020 and said its short-term outlook remained “uncertain” while UK lockdown restrictions remained in place.

Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said Just Eat’s sales performance reflected the success of an extensive advertising drive during the pandemic.

“Just Eat has been one of few brands able to capitalise on a year of on and off coronavirus restrictions, as many people, unable to go restaurants or the local pub, turned to takeaways.” he wrote.

“Fast growing revenues have allowed the market leading takeaway delivery firm to invest heavily in logistics and marketing which have, in turn, enabled it to reach more customers in their homes than ever before.

“This year it updated it’s catchy jingle with a new advertising campaign, partnering with rapper Snoop Dogg in a way that captured the mood of the nation perfectly.

“Just Eat provided some much needed fun during a time of crisis as well as delivering on the brand’s message that it isn’t just a convenient weekend treat.”

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