Mr Groen is a reluctant apostle of black magic. He once said of his efforts to expand beyond the Netherlands, “It’s horrible. We’ve spent 100 times more money in Germany than I thought I’d ever be able to spend.” Takeaway’s deal with Just Eat highlights the conviction that consolidation is the only way to make the sums add up.
The food-delivery business can be split into two camps: mostly profitable veterans and loss-making newcomers. The veterans, founded at the start of the century, are led by publicly traded Grubhub in America, and Just Eat and Takeaway in Europe. The trio are collectively worth $18bn or so. They account for the largest share of the market, offering customers online access to restaurants that already have their own delivery services, such as pizza joints, sushi bars and Chinese restaurants. Their relatively simple business model, in which they take a cut of the bill from the restaurants, has enabled Grubhub and Just Eat to turn a profit for years. Takeaway makes money in its home market of the Netherlands.
送餐业务可以分为两个阵营:主要是盈利的老手和亏损的新人。老手组织成立于本世纪初，由美国上市公司Grubhub、欧洲Just Eat以及Takeaway领导。这三家公司的总市值约为180亿美元。它们占据了最大的市场份额，为顾客提供了进入已经拥有自己送货服务的餐厅的在线通道，比如比萨店、寿司店和中餐馆。他们相对简单的商业模式，即从餐馆中收取一定的费用，使得Grubhub和Just Eat多年来一直盈利。而Takeaway则在荷兰本土获利颇丰。
The newbies, born more recently, have turned a once-tidy business into a food fight. They include listed firms such as Meituan of China and Delivery Hero of Germany, Uber Eats (part of Uber), Ele.me (owned by China’s Alibaba), and privately held DoorDash, based in San Francisco, and Deliveroo, from London. For most of them, delivery is their core business, so they share their cut of the bill with riders as well as restaurants. This substantially broadens the market to restaurants offering everything from steak to Hawaiian poke bowls. But margins suffer. Funded largely by venture capital, they have thrown subsidies at customers, forcing their veteran rivals onto the defensive. To catch up, the veterans are investing in advertising and delivery networks—at a big cost. This week Grubhub and Just Eat reported slumping earnings, and Takeaway mounting losses, as they spent heavily to fend off the upstarts.
而新来者是最近才有的，他们把原本井然有序的生意变成了一场食物大战。这些公司包括中国的美团和德国的快递超人、Uber Eats (属于Uber)、饿了么(由中国阿里巴巴所有)、总部位于旧金山的私人控股公司DoorDash和总部位于伦敦的Deliveroo。对这些公司中的大部分来说，送货是核心业务，所以他们与骑手和餐馆分享账单。这大大拓宽了市场，餐厅提供从牛排到夏威夷沙拉的一切。但是利润受到了影响。其资金主要来自风险资本，向客户提供补贴，迫使老牌竞争对手采取守势。为了迎头赶上，老手们在广告和配送网络上投入了巨资。本周，Grubhub和Just Eat公布收益下滑，外卖业务亏损不断增加，因为投入了巨资抵御后来居上者。