Deliveroo is launching "dark kitchens" across the UK to offer delivery services to customers from top eateries such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen without the need for a bricks and mortar restaurants close by.
Some 30 kitchen-only locations will be rolled out across 10 UK cities by the end of the year with room for 200 restaurants, both well-known chains and independents.
Co-founder Will Shu hailed Deliveroo Editions as the biggest development in the market since the startup first launched and expects it to become a "significant" part of the business.
The new concept, which has been trialled in a handful of spots in London under the name RooBox, is expected to create more than 1,000 new restaurant jobs and will eventually be launched internationally. Deliveroo has been working on the plans for 18 months and first revealed the trials last year.
The concept, much like supermarkets' dark stores where food is picked for online deliveries, will help the startup and restaurants expand to areas under-served by local eateries and that it wouldn't otherwise be able to reach.
The startup will also use data from its network of restaurants to gauge demand, including the type of food and locations. In addition to helping existing restaurants expand to new areas, he told City A.M. he imagines it will end up hosting delivery-only restaurants which have no traditionally customer facing hospitality.
"I think that's especially relevant for people starting off. For young entrepreneurs... who don't necessarily have the capital to start a restaurant this is a way to show banks that the business can generate revenue, that there's a customer base. I think it's a really good starting point for entrepreneurs," he said.
"And for the more established guys, it costs £500,000 to £1m of capital expenditure to open a high-street restaurant. They're not going to want to do that everywhere. So this is a good way ot go into areas they wouldn't otherwise go. And then, if it goes really well, they can decide to open a restaurant as well,"
It comes as Deliveroo is facing increasing competition from more well-funded rivals. UberEats and Amazon Restaurant launched last year giving the venture-backed "unicorn" valued startup a run for its money.
Shu brushed off concerns that they might also follow suit with kitchen-only spaces.
"Honestly, what we care about is good food and bringing that to people. What other people do... I don't really know... our 'well funded' competitors do a lot of different things, and I know this is what we care about and that's why we took the next step to go deeper into the value chain, because we care about food. So we're not going to be, putting people on scooters and driving them around or selling pet food. This is what we do, and this is what we love doing."