Just-Eat buys fellow takeout service Urbanbite

Faith Merino · October 5, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1fd5

The deal marks Just-Eat's third acquisition this year

Picture this: it’s a Saturday afternoon, you’re lazing the day away when—you get hungry.  But there’s no (prepared) food in the house.  You could probably whip up some waffles or a sandwich, but…meh.  So you order a pizza instead.  Now the moment of truth: will this be pick up or delivery?  Ordinarily, you pick up your pizza so your neighbors don’t think you’re lazy, but—oh, no!  There’s a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” marathon on E!  If you leave now you could miss something important!  So, you request delivery.  Whew.  Crisis averted.

Can you imagine the trouble you’d be in if you didn’t have the pizza place’s number preprogrammed into your phone?  Not everyone thinks ahead like you, though, which is why online takeout services are growing in popularity.  One such service, Just-Eat.com, announced Wednesday that it has acquired UK-based online takeout service Urbanbite.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

If you guessed that both services operate by letting users browse their sites for their favorite local eateries and order takeout online, you were right.  Just-Eat boasts a 15-20% revenue increase among restaurants who join the service.  Neither Just-Eat nor Urbanbite were immediately available for comment, so neither was able to clarify the details surrounding their own revenue or user base. 

Just-Eat says that it was drawn to Urbanbite's corporate business, which runs a program that allows corporate employees to place large takeout orders at the company's expense.  Some 60% of the 15,000 orders Urbanbite receives each month are from corporate employees.

Just-Eat is fresh off of a $48 million funding round in March and Urbanbite marks its third acquisition this year, following the purchase of RestaurantWeb in Brazil and Hungry Zone in India.  Just-Eat operates in 13 countries throughout Europe and Latin America.  No word on whether there will be a U.S. rollout any time soon.  Of course, the company would have to square off with the likes of established takeout ordering services like GrubHub, Seamless.com, and 24HourMenu.

At the time that Just-Eat raised its $48 million funding round, it said its order volume had increased 80% over the previous year and it was on track to make $500 million in revenue for local businesses.

Urbanbite, like Just-Eat, is headquartered in London, but only services the London area.  The company was founded in 1999 and acquired fellow online takeout service Orangepip.com in 2000, at which point Orangepip.com founder Ben Carmona came onboard as the new CEO.  Urbanbite was later acquired by Lastminute.com in 2001 before being re-acquired by Ben Carmona in 2007.

Carmona will remain with the company in a key leadership role.

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Frustrated by the lack of restaurant delivery information available on the Internet, Matt Maloney and Mike Evans created GrubHub to organize and simplify all the restaurant data available to consumers. Visitors to the site or mobile users simply enter their address to see every local restaurant that delivers to them. Users can view menus and coupons, read user reviews and order for free online, by phone or through the GrubHub iPhone and Android apps.