AN APPETITE FOR GROWTH
Operating in 15 countries and with over 45,000 contracted restaurants on its books, Just Eat is an exciting, fast-growing online food-ordering service. In 2014, it won the UK Fast 50 award from Deloitte Technology Fast 50 and a period of huge growth culminated in its stock market launch in April of that year. “It is a serious business, but with employees who don’t take themselves too seriously,” says Lisa Hillier, Chief People Officer.
The business is driven by innovation and recruits the brightest, most creative minds into an evolving, engaged environment. The company culture, as Chris Lewendon, Talent Acquisition Manager, explains, is underpinned by four core values: “Frank, passionate, innovative and team, commonly known internally as ‘our Jam values’.” Headquartered in London, Just Eat also has offices in Bristol and Hertfordshire. “We have 1,500 employees, but you can still access senior staff pretty easily,” says Lewendon. “Their direct support is very important in order to retain the best people.”
Bites and bytes
Graduate careers cover technology, sales, marketing, business intelligence and finance. With technology underpinning Just Eat’s operations, science, technology and engineering are particularly important recruitment areas. “When we are looking at these skills, we are quite restrictive,” explains Lewendon. “We want very high levels of aptitude.”
Careers at Just Eat begin with a structured, mentored 18-month rotation period. Just Eat anticipates hiring 20 graduates in 2016, who will work together during the rotation. “We need smart people who can add value quickly,” says Hillier. “Self-starters with an eye for game-changing product developments.” The rotation period allows graduates to make informed choices about their career paths. “We are a recognised brand in the UK,” adds Hillier, “but we encourage all graduates to take up a position during rotation in one of our overseas offices, which are more like start-ups.”
A culture of innovation, with the company’s technology hub at its heart, propels every improvement to client services and relationships with restaurant partners. The hub, split between Bristol and London, comprises a select team of developers focused on creating better, more efficient connections with clients and restaurants. “We are constantly developing really smart ways to engage with people, from games to apps,” says Lewendon.
Just Eat promotes a collaborative working environment, hosting Hackathons to drive technological innovation and the biannual “feet on the street” event, which sees the entire company mobilised across various UK cities to spend time with Just Eat’s restaurant partners. Staff also regularly host consumer feedback forums.
What restaurants need
The company has strengthened its relationship with its restaurant partners with the introduction of point-of-sale technology and a customer app. “We are focusing on what restaurants really need, be it tech or advice on food standards or ordering supplies,” says Lewendon. “We want them to feel the value of Just Eat beyond increasing orders.” This responsive collaboration helped spur a 52 per cent year-on-year growth in orders for the first half of 2015 and 54 per cent revenue growth.
Overseas operations maintain the spirit and energy of a start-up business, which pervades Just Eat’s dynamic, team-spirited culture. “We are investing in the very best people, growing talent and creating a great place to work,” says Lisa. In the UK, only 30 per cent of takeaway orders are placed online, giving Just Eat plenty of scope to keep growing – potential that it is hungry to realise.