Flipdish launches free online directory of Irish restaurants

7 Apr 2022

From left: Flipdish co-founder and CCO James McCarthy and co-founder and CEO Conor McCarthy. Image: Conor McCabe

The Irish tech unicorn is taking aim at platforms such as Deliveroo and JustEat with an initiative designed to support local food businesses.

Food ordering tech start-up Flipdish has today (7 April) launched a not-for-profit directory of Irish restaurants and other eateries, which it describes as an alternative to food marketplaces such as JustEat and Deliveroo.

People will be able to use StraightFrom.com to find local food businesses in an area and order directly from them.

Restaurants and takeaways are listed on the website free of charge, regardless of if they’re a Flipdish customer. The Dublin-headquartered unicorn said the site is available in all markets where Flipdish operates.

The website says food marketplaces are “waging a war” on restaurants, seeking to “syphon away their customers”.

“Food marketplaces are incentivised to redirect a restaurant’s customers away to whoever will pay most of the order, which has a knock-on effect on the quality of food that can be offered,” it adds.

Flipdish CEO and co-founder Conor McCarthy said Ireland’s hospitality industry has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and “we want to help support it”.

“We’re proud to work with businesses across the country in making sure they are directly connected to customers,” McCarthy said. “This is why we are backing StraightFrom.com. We want to ensure that customers are aware of all the local food businesses in their area that they can order from.

“We believe this free platform will help those businesses who want to steer away from the high fees attached to listing their businesses on aggregator websites and connect directly with customers.”

Food marketplaces charge fees to eateries that feature on their platforms, with commissions that can be up to 30pc.

Flipdish customer Nathan Bennett, owner of Dublin’s The Lab restaurant, also said one of the problems with food aggregators is that restaurants “have no control over the delivery experience”.

“Since working with Flipdish, we’ve realised that we can still control the whole customer journey from start to finish without that fear that they’re going to get a bad experience from an aggregator,” Bennett said.

Ireland’s food-tech unicorn

Flipdish was founded in 2015 by brothers Conor and James McCarthy to help independent eateries take control of their digital business. A major driver behind Flipdish’s growth is restaurant owners bringing their online ordering capability in-house, rather than relying on delivery players.

In an interview with SiliconRepublic.com in 2020, Conor McCarthy said it was hard to get customers to believe in Flipdish at the beginning of its journey. “We were unproven and therefore a risky choice in their eyes, but we were very confident that our product and approach would deliver significant ROI,” he said.

In 2019 the company expanded its product offering to include self-service kiosks and in 2020 rolled out a table ordering system for restaurants that were reopening after initial pandemic restrictions.

Flipdish became a tech unicorn at the start of 2022, when it reached a $1.25bn valuation following a $100m investment led by Tencent, and revealed plans to hire 700 people this year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic