Just Eat has enlisted restaurant investor and Dragon's Den star Sarah Willingham to launch a business booster programme for restaurants.
The delivery giant will offer one-on-one mentoring to businesses in the sector, in an attempt to help them overcome the well-documented challenges facing restaurants.
Graham Corfield, UK managing director at Just Eat said: “As the market leader in online food delivery, we are committed to helping independent restaurants thrive. Whether it’s using our technology to help them reach a broader customer base, our data to help restaurant owners make more informed business decision, or our scale in negotiating nationwide deals to help reduce costs.
Just Eat today released research showing that despite the current climate, which has seen the likes of Prezzo, Jamie's Italian and Byron close branches, three in five independent restaurant owners are optimistic that they can grow in the next five years.
Sarah Willingham, who was behind the expansion of Indian restaurant chain Bombay Bicycle Club, said it was "amazing to see such energy and drive from independent restaurant owners to grow their business despite the challenging conditions that we continue to see in the casual dining sector".
"When you run a small business so much time is spent on the day to day management that it is hard to focus on growing the business. But there still exists many opportunities for independent food outlets; from making the most of the rise of marketplaces like Just Eat to the simple tricks that will help them to find efficiencies or be a bit more commercially-savvy."