Deliveroo Plan Dark Kitchen Operation in Isleworth

Local restaurant owners concerned at proposal to convert warehouse

Deliveroo Plan Dark Kitchen Operation in IsleworthThe delivery operation will run from Unit 6. Picture: Google Streetview


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Online food delivery company Deliveroo are intending to set up a large facility in Isleworth which will include 14 restaurant kitchens.

It has submitted a planning application to Hounslow Council to convert Unit 6 on the industrial estate on Fleming Way which was previously used by Freddie’s Flowers and before that was where Speedy Hire operated from.

The application is for a change of use of the unit to a commercial kitchen with car parking, cycle parking and bin storage. Installation of external plant, including seven extract ducts, seven air intake louvres and two air condenser units is requested. The building will also hosts site management offices, storage and facilities for kitchen staff and riders. The creation of 80 jobs is anticipated not counting those for self-employed delivery drivers.

The 860 square metre site will contain 14 so-called ‘dark kitchens’ which could be operated by both established brands or start up restaurants.

Under a system called Deliveroo Editions the businesses pay no rent for the kitchens but must supply their own chefs and ingredients. All food made at the kitchens must be paid for and delivered through the Deliveroo app and a commission is paid to Deliveroo.

The site will be accessed from 8am by the restaurants for food preparation. Customers, however, are only able to place orders from 12pm with last orders are placed at 10:45pm and the restaurants should close at 11pm.

Deliveroo says the busiest period for orders across its existing sites is currently between 6pm and 9pm.

One local restauranteur claims the company looks to target the market share of any business not using its app. She said, “It is damned if you do and damned if you don’t. They can bring volume to the business but the commissions are so high the margins are tiny. However, if you don’t sign up you lose market share. My concern would be that this new facility will knock out quite a few existing businesses with bricks and mortar operations. I know these apps are convenient but customers should always try to order direct from their favourite places or they won’t be around for long.

Based on survey data from a Deliveroo site in Swiss Cottage, the Friday peak hour traffic generation is expected to be 255 deliveries movements, two way. Typically 45% of deliveries are made by motorcycle or scooter, 34% by pedal bike, 15% by car and 6% by electric bike. Deliveroo says the expected mode split of delivery riders suggests a peak of 53 bicycles per hour, 60 scooters and 20 cars.

Deliveroo was founded in 2013 with a handful of riders and partner restaurants, and now works with 80,000 restaurants and 60,000 riders across 500 cities in 13 markets . The company’s founder, Will Shu, was the first rider and the company says he still makes deliveries to this day. The company is headquartered in London, with 2,500 employees around the globe and 1,500 i n the UK.

We asked Deliveroo for comment on the suggestion that the dark kitchen operation presents a threat to local restaurants and await a reply.

The application reference is P/2021/3435.

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September 17, 2021

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