Deliveroo offers free skills training to its drivers – Restaurant Dive

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Dive Brief:

  • Deliveroo has launched Deliveroo Academy, offering its riders more than 300 free online training courses focused on skills development, from learning a new language to web design. 
  • According to the Metro, the Academy was launched after a study commissioned by Deliveroo showed that nearly 40% of riders are interested in starting their own business.
  • CEO Will Shu told the audience at a technology summit in France that the company wants to help Deliveroo drivers who are looking for additional opportunities. 

Dive Insight:

Deliveroo seems to be taking a page from the playbook of some restaurant companies that are pulling out all the stops to recruit and retain better talent. Retention in the food delivery space is critical now as demand skyrockets. According to Bloomberg, job postings for delivery drivers tripled in the past three years. Competition for drivers is intensifying as the space is growing, and drivers have more options available to them than ever. 

In addition to offering online learning courses, Deliveroo is funding 40 scholarships this year for college degrees, offering a chance for drivers to pitch a business idea to investors and giving them access to apprenticeships. For the latter initiative, Deliveroo is working with its restaurant partners specifically to create apprenticeships within their establishments. 

Driver benefits aren’t necessarily unusual in the space. Uber, for example, offers a phone plan, vehicle maintenance, health insurance and financial management, while Grubhub provides a 401K, medical, dental and stock options. 

Deliveroo’s focus on professional development, however, is a major differentiator and could even benefit the company if any of its riders go on to successfully create a restaurant startup as they were trained to do through an apprenticeship.

In addition, it may provide Deliveroo with a lift to its reputation after workers threatened a strike, claiming that the company failed to offer flexibility as promised. The company was also in the spotlight last year as its contracted employees workers fought for employment rights, including collective bargaining. The employees lost that bid, but the fight illustrated a tricky issue in the gig economy as it pertains to employees, including defining what their rights are as contract versus full-time workers.

As the space continues to grow, expect delivery companies to get even more creative in wooing employees to maintain a competitive advantage. That is at least until (or if) driverless and/or drone delivery start to establish a deeper footprint.