Deliveroo Uses Looker to Transport Delicious Meals Faster

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Deliveroo Uses Looker to Transport Delicious Meals Faster
Deliveroo: A Customer Story

Deliveroo Uses Looker to Transport
Delicious Meals Faster
Changing food delivery with an app, two wheels, and data.

A London bicycle messenger leans into the curve around a corner, skids to
a stop in front of an office building, and rushes inside. But she’s not there
to hand over important documents—instead, it’s hot food from a nearby
restaurant, ordered online and delivered in 30 minutes or less. Although
online restaurant delivery services are common in the United States, former
Wall Street investment banker Will Shu found it almost impossible to get
food delivered after he moved to London. So in 2013, he teamed up with
his childhood friend Greg Orlowski to found Deliveroo, with the mission to
deliver the best selection of food in the fastest time possible and with the
best customer service.

Deliveroo speeds hot meals to customers using its environmentally
friendly delivery fleet of bicycles and scooters, with orders placed through
an online software platform. A hyper-local focus on restaurants available
within the customer’s postal code helps minimize delivery time.

Deliveroo’s market win is in creating new revenue streams for restaurants
that wouldn’t otherwise offer delivery services, while also expanding home
or office dining options for eager customers. Not surprisingly, growth has
been dramatic since the first delivery in 2013. The service has expanded to
12 countries, 200 cities, and more than 30,000 restaurants to date; in 2016
alone, orders grew by 650%, an impressive jump in a rapidly expanding
European market that’s expected to reach $46B by 2021.

And today, they are pushing the boundaries of what is possible even
further with their new Delivery Additions program, which uses data about
order demand to place delivery only restaurants in cities around Europe.

Scaling for Rapid Growth
At Deliveroo, data isn’t just helpful for running the company; in a sense, it
is the company.

Deliveroo sees itself as a technology play and has been funded by leading
Silicon Valley venture capital firms. “Data runs through the veins of
Deliveroo Uses Looker to Transport Delicious Meals Faster
Deliveroo: A Customer Story

CRITERIA                             everything we do here,” explains Will Sprunt, Head of Business Intelligence.
                                     “It’s absolutely essential for our growth to understand and have control of
       A data platform that          the way the business is performing.”
       provides reliable
       information to everyone
                                     The initial BI tool Deliveroo put in place worked well in the startup phase,
“Enabling a framework to get
the right data to the right people   but it wasn’t built to scale for rapid expansion. It didn’t have the security,
is hugely important for any big      user management, or automation that would help take the company to the
decisions we’re going
to make.”                            next level, and business users couldn’t be agile in decision-making, because
                                     they had to wait for the technical staff to write SQL for each report they
                                     requested. Code management quickly became extremely time consuming
       Modern, API-focused           for the data team because every dashboard had a unique code base, a
       modeling language
                                     single change in the underlying data architecture would require updating
“What I love about Looker is that    the code in about 100 different locations. Also, variable demand based on
it’s incredibly flexible when you
                                     the day of the week or time of day could put unpredictable strains on the
build on it.”
                                     data warehouse capacity. So in 2016, Deliveroo decided to look for a new
                                     platform that would be both robust and flexible enough to take them into
       Self-service                  a new phase of growth—both immediately and into the future.
                                     A Clear Choice to Smooth Implementation
“Looker has helped us not be a
bottleneck. Before, for every new
chart we’d have to write SQL.        Looker rapidly rose to the top of the list as Deliveroo evaluated platform
Now our end users can build
                                     options. According to Will Sprunt “There are many reasons that we liked
dashboards themselves.”
                                     Looker. One was the core LookML. It meant we could have end users
                                     exploring the data without falling into major pitfalls. We could define a
       Data visualization            metric once, like conversion rates, then give our users the freedom to
       with the ability to
       drill down                    create their own reports and dashboards.”

“Thanks to Looker, we’re able to
visualize data a lot better than     The ability to customize Looker for Deliveroo’s exact needs was also a
we were before. It helps the
                                     strong draw. Will explains, “Looker is built with an API structure. That
business by creating a lot more
trust, as well as more action-       means we can integrate our own triggers. We can understand how the
driven responses.”
                                     tool’s working and modify it to fit our needs.”

                                     After embracing Looker as the clear choice, Deliveroo chose to roll it out
                                     in two phases. They promptly implemented a Proof of Concept, followed
                                     in short order by the core reporting functionality. This quick win relieved
                                     BI bottlenecks, because analysts no longer had to export data to Excel or
                                     pull one-off reports from the legacy system. Then the team stepped back
                                     to plan the structures they’d need for the next three years, building out
                                     the LookML model in a way that would provide both the foundation and
                                     flexibility they needed for growth.
Deliveroo: A Customer Story

The BI team was amazed at how quickly they were able to get up and
running with Looker, and this speed now defines the way they work. “We
sometimes think of it in dog years, in that we do in one month what other
people might do in seven,” Will explains.

New Challenges

Within weeks of rolling out Looker, active weekly users quickly climbed
into the hundreds. “We found that people began customizing reports and
exploring the data much faster than we had ever expected,” explains Will.
But with such widespread data use came new challenges.

The amount of questions being asked in Looker was putting too much
stress on their database and performance began to lag. “As with many BI
tools, there’s going to be peak times when people use the tools. What we
had before was fast, but it couldn’t handle concurrent users, especially on
Mondays when bottlenecks would emerge as everyone would be assessing
the previous week’s performance and running queries.”

To solve the problem, the team migrated to Snowflake, a SQL data
warehouse built for the cloud. Snowflake’s separate storage and compute
architecture could easily handle hundreds of simultaneous queries, without
requiring them to maintain that level of infrastructure at all times. “What
we like about Snowflake is that it elastically scales up and down, so if we
have a peak for three hours on a particular day, we can just ramp up the
number of clusters, but we don’t have to pay for that reserved instance
during the rest of the week,” Will continued.

“With Looker and Snowflake,” Will adds, “we are very confident that we
are building a BI stack that will scale as quickly as we do over time.”

Strong Gains with Looker

Looker produced an immediate win for Deliveroo by making it easy for
business users across the company to access reliable data. According to
Will, “The ethos of the way we operate as a company is that everybody
should have access to the data they need.” With self-service dashboards
that let them drill down to the details they need with a click, Deliveroo
team members have been able to rapidly deepen their insights and drive
the next phase of growth.
Deliveroo: A Customer Story

                         Asking Smarter Questions, Getting Better Answers

                         As business users have been empowered across the company to use data in
                         the way that works best for them, the sophistication of their questions has
                         increased. According to Will, “People come to us with smarter questions.
                         Instead of coming to us with a very simple question of ‘What happened
                         yesterday?’ they’re coming to us with, ‘I saw this happen yesterday. I believe
                         it is in this area. I think that this is the metric we should understand. Can we

“ I think                dig deeper here, here, or here?’ It means we’re leveling up as a business.”

                         Timely Decision-Making Across the Organization

                         Be removing the bottlenecks caused by one-off report requests, Deliveroo
                         has enabled the entire organization to become even more agile. Krishna

                         Nandakumar, a Special Projects Development Associate, describes how
                         much people rely on Looker. “I think every single person probably opens

                         Looker at least once a day. This can be all the way from CEO level to
                         someone who has joined the company on their first day.” With the data

                         they need at their fingertips, team members can make decisions promptly,
                         helping them capture new growth opportunities and adjust to market

  Looker at              shifts well ahead of the competition.

  least once             Nandakumar also highlights the importance of being able to present
                         the data to groups: “For me, having good data is great, but if you can’t

  a day.”                present it in a good fashion, it’s not going to help you make a decision.”
                         Today, Deliveroo team members use Looker visualizations interactively in
                         meetings—a big improvement from the days when they would have shared
 Krishna Nandakumar,     screenshots of fixed reports and argued about whether the data was valid.
 Special Projects
 Development Associate   More Strategy, Less Repetitive Work

                         Because the LookML modeling language relieves the BI team from the
                         burden of writing one-off queries, analysts can be more strategic. Edward
                         Kaznowski, Lead Performance Analyst, is excited about the possibilities.
                         “With Looker,” he says, “we can focus on the things we want to do and
                         really enjoy, which is building really, really important reporting and doing
                         really cool analysis for the business.” Business managers have also found
                         that they’ve been able to focus more on strategy because they no longer
                         have to waste time wrangling data requests.
Deliveroo: A Customer Story

Accelerating Business Growth

The Deliveroo sales team works closely with thousands of restaurant partners to drive up order volume and
help them improve their operations. With twelve markets in time zones spreading from Australia to the UK,
it was hard for managers to provide timely service for requests for data. Now Looker handles those requests
automatically, with a level of detail that’s useful not just for the sales team but also to share with partners.

Mathilda Nathan, Head of Global Sales Strategy, explains, “Transparency is important to us, including external
transparency to our restaurant partners. In the past, we weren’t able to provide them with the data to grow
their business, but now we have full visibility. We can inform them, consult to them, and help them grow.”

At the same time, the delivery additions team is creating an entirely new revenue stream by launching
restaurants without seating in geographical areas where the demand for meal delivery isn’t being met. Using
Looker, they’re able to analyze data from multiple sources—including population data and data about the
mix of restaurants not already on the platform—to launch new takeout restaurants globally from the London

Looker Today & Into the Future

As Deliveroo continues to grow, the BI team is confident that Looker will scale and flex to meet their needs.
Right now, the team is particularly enthusiastic about being able to take the most useful reports or dashboards
created by end users and share them with the broader company. This sets up a virtuous circle that continuously
encourages innovation in the use of data. But perhaps the biggest win, both now and in the future, is the
impact on the way people work. Edward Kasnowski says it best: “Looker gives people confidence.”

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