Just Eat’s Amanda Roche-Kelly: ‘We are creating the world’s largest food community’

31 Mar 2017

Just Eat Ireland managing director Amanda Roche-Kelly. Image: Luke Maxwell

From ordering food via your smartphone to takeaways via your Apple TV, Xbox or Amazon Echo, the future is appetising.

The revolution in digital goes hand in hand with revolutions in food technology, said the managing director of Just Eat Ireland, Amanda Roche-Kelly.

This week at the Digital Hub, Just Eat held an event called ‘Exploring Food Tech Innovation’, which showcased the future of online food technology. Guests included Just Eat’s chief product and technology officer, Fernando Fanton; FoodCloud CEO and co-founder, Iseult Ward; and Bizimply co-founder and head of product, Mikey Cannon.

‘Consumers are increasingly technology-driven and we have to be as well’

The event showcased new technologies in the field of augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Other innovations included natural language processing via the Amazon Echo, in-game ordering via the Xbox and Microsoft’s HoloLens technology.

Food for thought

Speaking with Silicon Republic at the event, Roche-Kelly said that Just Eat has been rocketing in Ireland, with around 1,900 restaurants across the country enabling online ordering of 30 different cuisine types via the company’s app.

Just Eat is active in 13 markets around the globe.

The app has been downloaded 850,000 times in Ireland since it was launched, and more than 80pc of orders are sent via the mobile app.

“We try to make food discovery exciting,” Roche-Kelly said.

“For our consumers, we have the vision to create the world’s largest food community.”

She said the focus is all about connecting consumers with food outlets, and helping restaurant partners to navigate the digital jungle.

“Not many people see us as a technology company, but there are lots of things going on in the background that are showing how food choice is there and discoverable through an app.”

Just Eat’s expansion in Ireland has been bolstered by a major marketing campaign and sponsorship of the popular TV show First Dates.

Just Eat also confirmed that its second Seed Programme of 2017, aimed at start-ups in the food tech space, will be open for applications in September 2017.

“Consumers are increasingly technology-driven and we have to be as well. Everything consumers do today has a piece of technology behind it.

“The key is to make ordering enjoyable, interesting and fun, and enable multiple orders to come through not only smartphones, but also devices like the Apple TV or the Xbox app.

“It’s all about choice for the consumer and reach for the restaurants,” Roche-Kelly said.

You can follow the Just Eat Ventures team on Twitter @JustEatVentures or visit the website to find out more.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years