Rocket Internet has its fingers in pretty much every part of the online food ordering and delivery pie. Heck, it even has a special division, the unimaginatively-named Global Online Takeaway Group, where its rolled up a number of those companies. But one slice it has yet to serve is corporate catering — until now, that is.
Today the German ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth is unveiling CaterWings, a newly-hatched company targeting the B2B catering industry. Launching first in London early next month, it offers what is essentially a curated marketplace for corporate catering services, promising to take the hassle out of companies wanting to order high quality catering for delivery.
“While working on projects across various industries and geographies, we noticed it was only on very rare occasions that we would be getting decent food in a meeting or during lunch breaks,” says CaterWings Global co-founder Alexander Brunst, when asked the describe the problem the Berlin and London-based startup has set out to solve.
“To organise a business lunch, an assistant had to call various caterers to request offers. On top of that, the pressing question remained if the food would arrive on time and whether it would be of the right quality.”
In response, Brunst and CaterWings’ other co-founder asked themselves: “How could the entire ordering process be simplified, so that a business owner could impress clients by having great food organised for them without the stressful aspects of selecting an appealing selection and making sure everything arrives on time?”
The answer takes the form of CaterWings’ select marketplace of B2B caterers with which the startup has partnered. Of note, those partners handle delivery, with the company adding value through marketing and customer support.
One specific feature Brunst is keen to talk about is a “personal butler Service” that will personally take care of special requests, including dietary.
“If that means running outside and personally getting the right meal for a Meeting starting in one hour, we will make eat happen,” he says.
In its early tests, as the company readies for a 5th October London launch, Brunst says CaterWings has partnered with 52 of the best caterers in London and is already seeing huge demand for test orders.
Typical customers are office managers or team leaders who are responsible for food supply within the office and when holding on-premise meetings with partners and customers.
“It is our vision to be the most customer centric company in the industry. Suppose your boss called telling you that you need food in one hour for clients coming in on short notice or you need to get catering for 80 people in the office next week. With CaterWings you can sit back and relax, as ‘we make eat happen’,” adds Brunst.
CaterWings’ business model is simple: It takes a small commission from each order. Competitors range from legacy corporate catering companies and other similar upstarts, such as London’s City Pantry, which launched early this year.
Regarding the latter, Brunst thinks startup B2B catering markeplaces are more likely to help grow the market through increasing awareness rather than eating each other’s lunch.
Either way the market opportunity is big. By some estimates I’m told it is worth 36 billion euros globally and about 8 billion pounds in the U.K. alone.
Meanwhile, on the CaterWings Rocket Internet connection, Brunst had this to say:
Together with the existing food delivery models in the Rocket Internet universe, CaterWings is the missing puzzle piece for the corporate world. Leveraging the knowledge and assets within Rocket Internet, CaterWings, with its focus on B2B, is thriving on strong synergies with and learnings from other food delivery ventures in the B2C market.
That B2C online take-out market consists of Delivery Hero at the mass end, Foodora (which recently acquired Germany’s Volo and is similar to Deliveroo) at the premium end. And with CaterWings Rocket Internet now has B2B covered too.