The race for last-mile food delivery space in London and the UK is on with Deliveroo, Weezy, Ocado and Getir all seeking new sites.
Property Week can reveal that Deliveroo has a requirement for units of between 3,000 sq ft and 10,000 sq ft across 13 locations in London for the expansion of its ‘dark kitchen’ concept, Deliveroo Editions.
Deliveroo, which describes the dark kitchens as “hubs where we host collections of hand-picked restaurants, all specially designed for delivery”, is also understood to be looking for kitchen sites in 21 regional locations around the country, including Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Manchester.
A source close to the company told Property Week it was “looking to partner with a mixture of landlords and occupiers to deliver on its expansion plan in the UK and internationally”.
Also on the hunt for sites, within the M25 and beyond, is Weezy, a start-up that specialises in delivering locally sourced food within 15 minutes. Erin Peyman, the incoming head of property at Weezy, told Property Week that the company had this week retained Knight Frank to spearhead its search.
She said Weezy was seeking up to 50 ‘dark store’ sites of between 1,500 sq ft and 4,000 sq ft across the UK, 70% of which would be in London and 30% across the rest of the country.
The company was not just looking for industrial space, she added. It was close to exchanging on a London shopping centre unit. The majority of this would be used for fulfilment, but she said it would also have a shop front for click and collect. “The main focus is online delivery, but to hit the larger catchments we can be imaginative,” she added.
Meanwhile, online grocery company Ocado said in its results last week that it was “looking for an additional dozen sites within London’s M25 orbital motorway to support the ambitious roll-out plan of Ocado Retail”.
Grocery delivery start-up Getir is also reportedly looking to open 20 ‘dark store’ sites in London having already opened five in Victorian railway arches across the capital.
The surge in demand comes as companies try to keep up with appetite from locked-down Britons for home food deliveries.
Georgia Pirbhai, senior surveyor at Colliers, said the demand for last-mile space from food delivery companies was very competitive and added that it was a sign of “a change in consumer behaviour that will be here for a while”.