As Belgium’s restaurants continue in lockdown with hardly a prospect of revival in sight, two of the major companies involved in takeaway food have announced major expansion plans.
From today, Takeaway courier service Deliveroo will operate in three new markets: Aalst and Sint-Niklaas in East Flanders and Tournai in Hainaut province
And that is just the beginning. At the same time, the company has announced plans to add 15 more towns and cities to its coverage this year.
Deliveroo does not provide food of its own, but it does offer the delivery opportunities for those restaurants that are still able to provide food to customers on a takeaway basis – either for delivery or for pick-up.
The next four targets on the Deliveroo map have been named as Louvain-la-Neuve in Walloon Brabant, Mons in Hainaut and Sint-Truiden and Genk in Limburg.
Until yesterday, the company, which has been active in Belgium since 2015, was established in 13 Belgian towns. That is planned to expand to 28 by the end of the year, adding 500 new couriers to the existing total of 3,000.
Meanwhile pizza chain Domino’s has announced plans to double the number of outlets in Belgium over the next five years, from the current total of 107.
The chain arrived in 1991, grew to 25 outlets by 2010, and 75 by 2019.
“We are going to open 100 new outlets,” Nicky Claes, commercial director for Europe told De Tijd. “This year, 20 will open their doors.”
That promises to create 500 new jobs to add to the 2,500 existing jobs in Belgium. The company does not give out figures on earnings, each branch being operated by an independent franchisee.
The company prefers not to speak of restaurants, referring instead to ‘stores’.
“We have become the largest meal suppliers in Belgium,” Claeys said. “Only a small part of our turnover comes from people who eat their pizza in our restaurants.”
In times of lockdown, that share of the business has grown even smaller, while the delivery service has exploded.
“A year ago, we delivered 45% of our pizzas to people’s homes. Today it is about 70%. People who never ordered delivery meals in the past were encouraged to do so by corona.”