Volume 30, Issue 2, 2022
Volume 30, Issue 2, 2022
MARKETING AT MENULOG
Stefanie Leotta, Business Studies Teacher, Newtown High School of the Performing Arts
Did somebody say Menulog?
This article will analyse the business of Menulog and the components of Menulog’s marketing process in Australia. Marketing is a set of business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying goods and services to target markets. The marketing plan outlines how a business will achieve its marketing objectives.
Reading the “About Us” section of Menulog.com.au will tell you that Menulog pioneered Australia’s online food delivery industry when it was founded in Sydney in 2006. This was ten years before market leader Uber Eats arrived in Australia. Currently, Menulog is changing the race in the food delivery wars in Australia and working towards becoming the market leader in this space.
What is Menulog?
Primarily an app-based food delivery platform, Menulog connects consumers with Menulog restaurant partners. In Australia & New Zealand, Menulog is the widest-reaching service in terms of the number of restaurant partners and cuisines on offer. At last count, Menulog connects more than 2.6 million active customers with over 35,000 local restaurants and an average order value of more than $42. Menulog offers consumers trusted brands and ordering simplicity while enabling informed choices with online menus and customer reviews. Menulog also offers consumers the convenience to order from wherever they are with both pick-up and delivery available.
Who owns Menulog?
Originally Australian born and bred, Menulog was acquired for $855 million in 2015 by UK-based food delivery platform Just Eat. In 2020, Just Eat merged with Netherlands-based company Takeaway.com to become Just Eat Takeaway.com, a leading global online food delivery company operating in 23 countries. Menulog operates within Just Eat Takeaway.com’s Southern Europe & ANZ segment. These markets: Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, France, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain, together make up 12% of Just Eat Takeaway.com’s orders, however, Australia’s Menulog is the largest market in this segment in terms of the number of orders. According to Just Eat Takeaway.com’s 2021 Annual Report, Menulog was one of their fastest-growing businesses in terms of order numbers, demonstrating a significant turnaround in performance following market share declines prior to the merger of Takeaway.com and Just Eat.
Figure 4: Global Segments
How does Menulog work for restaurants?
Menulog supports restaurants and businesses of all shapes and sizes; from independent restaurants and cafes to some of the world’s biggest brands, such as McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jack’s, Subway and more. Menulog offers two services for restaurant partners to choose from:
- Self-delivery: where restaurants can provide their own drivers, leveraging Menulog’s world-class ordering technology and national network.
- Menulog Delivery Service: where Menulog also provides delivery logistics via its network of couriers.
Benefits for Menulog Partner Restaurants
Did you know that Sydney orders more burritos than any other city in Australia? And that Margherita was Australia’s most popular pizza order? Whilst pineapple was simultaneously the most added and most removed topping? Well, Menulog does! Menulog tracks consumer preferences and provides this feedback to restaurant partners along with other benefits such as:
- Brand recognition and marketing – free websites for local restaurants and assistance with customer relationship marketing via reviews and promotions
- Australia’s original online marketplace and lowest costs for restaurants compared to overseas competitors
Technology – access to free leading-edge digital technology and the ability to accept a variety of online payment methods
- More efficient order processing – by significantly reducing communication errors that can occur over the phone and improving restaurant order processing time
- More orders with higher value – Menulog helps restaurants generate more orders and at a higher value than if orders were placed via phone
- Services and information – restaurant partners have access to discounted menu printing, branded products and consumer feedback
How did Menulog change their marketing plan?
Menulog goes orange! In June 2020 Menulog unified its brand with Just Eat Takeaway.com’s global marketing campaign when it switched from its original green logo to orange. This also helped differentiate them from local market leader UberEats (green and black). Just Eat Takeaway.com operates a single brand strategy across its 23 countries as an efficient and effective way to reach its consumers across the globe.
Expanding their target market
Although it was Australia’s original food delivery service, Menulog was facing market share challenges prior to Covid-19 from well-funded overseas competition that arrived in Australia including Uber Eats, Deliveroo and more recently DoorDash. In 2021, Head of Menulog’s Growth Marketing Johan Micheelsen said, Menulog “knew that if we wanted to grow our business, a lot of this growth would come from the young audience.” However, this did not match their original target market focus on regional areas and families.
Micheelsen reviewed media strategy including how Menulog talked to consumers and their overall brand position after hearing Menulog described as “the Nokia of food delivery.” Talking to a younger audience required Menulog to speak to these consumers across online platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Micheelsen said “TikTok was a focus from the get-go… It was the talk of the town, especially a year-and-a-half ago, but no brands were there. We decided to take a leap of faith and be a front runner and started creating content.”
This has proven to be the correct strategy for Menulog as data shows over 5.5 million Australians aged 14+ used meal delivery services in 2020, up from 3.9 million in 2019 and 3.3 million in 2018 when Roy Morgan, a polling company, first analysed the meal delivery service industry.
The biggest increases have been amongst the youngest generations. Well over a quarter of Millennials, 29.7%, and 28.7% of Gen Z now use meal delivery services. In contrast only 4.7% of pre-Boomers use the services. Expanding their target market to younger consumers has been a key part of Menulog’s more recent success.
Menulog gets the Snoop Dogg treatment
Expanding its target market to a younger audience, meant that Menulog needed to broaden the appeal of its brand through a new ambassador. Whilst UberEats marketed aggressively with a local celebrity campaign, Menulog was able to go global thanks to the financial investment from their global parent company Just Eat Takeaway.com.
McCann, a leading global marketing agency responsible for the success of global brands such as Coca Cola, Mastercard, L’oreal and Nespresso, developed a revamped ‘Did somebody say Menulog?’ campaign starring global entertainment icon Snoop Dogg in 2019
Snoop Dogg has sold over forty million albums worldwide and in response to the campaign said, “people said it could never be done – a Menulog track that you can get down to. The original was a great track but it’s had its run, it needed to upgrade. That’s why they brought me in, to put some spice on it.”
And put some spice on it he did. Simon Cheng, Menulog’s Chief Marketing Officer says “our investment in marketing has played a significant role in accelerating business growth, resulting in a 104% order increase in 2020 alone. We are outgrowing our local competition and have been identified as Just Eat Takeaway.com’s fastest-growing market.” Cheng goes on to say “we’re a business that has traditionally been pigeonholed in certain demographics of Australia, and so Snoop Dogg helps us appeal to a much broader audience in Australia. He appeals to young people, Gen Z and also to Boomers.”
The impact of this strategy was recognised by the Audio Logo Index study. The study looks at brands that combine melody and audio logos and their effectiveness. In 2021 Menulog made its debut on the list at #7 scoring high for both recall and likeability. Creating “distinctive assets” has been a core part of Menulog’s branding strategy for both visual and sonic assets since relaunching. Cheng says the inclusion in this list is a “testament to the impact of that strategy.”
Following the success of Snoop Dogg’s efforts, Menulog took two local approaches. First, they revamped the campaign for the 2020 State of Origin series using NRL stars Greg Inglis, Brad Fittler, and Tom Trbojevic, with updated lyrics referencing ‘sausage sizzles’ and ‘meat pies’
More recently Menulog handed creative control to homegrown Aussie artists Baker Boy, Big Twisty, D’Arcy Spiller and Kirsten Salty by partnering with the Mushroom Group in 2021. This gave Australian talent an opportunity to perform during COVID restrictions and invest campaign money into the local music industry rather than international celebrities.
Increasing marketing spend
Prior to their acquisition of Menulog, Just Eat Takeaway.com’s 2020 Annual Report attributed Menulog’s prior loss of market share due to “underinvestment in marketing”. They now attribute their consumer growth to increased investments in marketing. Growth has also been attributed to the restaurant offering increasing by 46% and including important partnerships with well-known chains such as McDonald’s, as seen by the “Menulog delivers Maccas” campaign. The global power of Just Eat Takeaway.com’s marketing expenditure has further strengthened the Menulog brand. Their marketing expenditure is outlined in EXTRACT A.
EXTRACT A – Marketing Expenditure
Marketing expenditure can primarily be distinguished as relating to:
(i) Performance Marketing
or pay-per-click/pay-per-order marketing, which directly generates traffic and orders, such as search engine marketing, app marketing and affiliate marketing (rewarding third parties for referrals to Just Eat Takeaway.com’s platforms)
(ii) Brand Marketing
such as television and online media, and outdoor advertising (billboards).
Marketing expenses increased by 158% to €369 million in 2020 compared with €143 million in 2019, primarily driven by the combination with Just Eat and the significant investment in our brands in the second half of the year, particularly in the legacy Just Eat markets.
Marketing expenses increased again by 85% to €684 million in 2021 compared with €369 million in 2020, primarily driven by the full 12 months of combination with Just Eat as compared to 8.5 months last year, the combination with Grubhub, and investment in our brands such as the partnership with UEFA for the Euro 2020™ football tournament.
Just Eat Takeaway.com 2020 and 2021 Annual Reports
Morten Bellin, Managing Director of Menulog Australia & New Zealand says, “we have been around a long time, and we’re spending enormous amounts of money on not being a faceless company.” Some of the company’s investments into promotion and loyalty strategies are outlined in EXTRACT B.
EXTRACT B – Our Product and Technology
We have invested heavily in various promotion, loyalty and retention strategies. We introduced the stamp card programme in the UK and globally increased the visibility of our stamp card programmes, which positively impacts the Average monthly order frequency and retention. This also helped boost the promotion of our online loyalty programme, massively increasing new users and usage of the programme.
In 2021, we continued to focus on improving the discovery experience for our consumers. We have simplified searching for partners and dishes to ensure our consumers can easily find what they have the appetite for. We also improved the general experience with a more accessible visual language, fonts and visuals to increase the inclusiveness of our customer experience. We have invested in our after-order experience and in our algorithms to improve our courier estimated time of arrival (ETA), not only on our Food Tracker but also in the discovery experience. In addition, we have created a new after-order experience for our consumers with the option to ask questions, experimenting with our funnels and chat capabilities to make it easier for our consumers to guide them through possible questions they may have. In a fully automated manner to make it easier for our consumers and ourselves to help them get an answer quickly: self-service to reduce our operational effort and smart to ensure consumers receive the answer instantly.
Just Eat Takeaway.com 2021 Annual Report
According to Just Eat Takeaway.com’s 2021 Annual Report, “our overall strategic objective is to build and extend the large scale and sustainably profitable positions in every market in which we operate.” To achieve this, they have a detailed four-point strategy shown in Extract C. Their marketing vision is to “be the brand people absolutely love.” Just Eat Takeaway.com tracks consumer opinion continuously for every market in which they operate. Their key marketing metric, which is linked to long-term brand and commercial health, is known as TOMA or top of mind brand awareness.
EXTRACT C – Strategic Objectives
1. Expansion of supply and delivery footprint
- Build broadest partner offering, including partnerships with key branded chains;
- Extend Delivery operations and drive increased efficiency;
- Develop and roll out our B2B proposition;
- Launch and expand convenience grocery offering.
2. Increased brand awareness across markets
- Build brand love and loyalty through local brands with a single global identity;
- Drive top-of-mind brand awareness through share of voice and last-mile visibility;
- Leverage key partnerships to extend and enhance our brand.
3. Enhanced experience and value proposition for consumers and partners
- Build a best-in-class product & tech experience;
- Offer great value-for-money through our pricing;
- Deliver a seamless, fast and reliable fulfilment experience;
- Achieve best-in-class customer care and problem resolution.
4. Disciplined portfolio management approach
- Regularly assess market positions and focus resources on the highest potential markets.
Just Eat Takeaway.com 2021 Annual Report
Menulog’s Corporate Social Responsibility
The food delivery industry has come under harsh criticism as it is notorious for underpaying and exploiting its delivery riders, particularly after the death of five riders in Sydney in 2020 alone. Menulog is seeking to change the situation by trialling engaging delivery workers as employees rather than independent contractors. This means these employees can access penalty rates, minimum wage, superannuation and worker compensation. Menulog Managing Director Morten Belling says, “it may cost us more, but it’s the right thing to do.” See the “Three Pillars for Positive Action” image for Menulog’s other areas of corporate social responsibility focus.
Menulog’s growth and where to next?
With Menulog’s established networks and nationwide presence, they are perfectly placed to expand their product range by continuing to grow their grocery and convenience service across Australia. The change has been driven by new consumer buying habits driven by initial COVID restrictions, and greater choice driving consumer demand. Menulog has signed up IGA supermarkets, BP, and Quickstop United Petroleum as new trading partners, with plans to add more in the future as it continues to expand. Thirty-five per cent of these new partners are also based in regional Australia, a key differentiator from other market players solely focused on inner-city suburbs. Menulog says it has experienced 232% growth since January 2021 with demand booming. Despite Menulog’s remarkable growth in recent years Managing Director Morten Belling says they are here to win: “our growth rate is already at very high levels, but having said that, we’re still number two in the market [after UberEats] and we want to win … we’re not going to stop until we are market leaders.”
Define the following terms: brand recognition, customer relationship marketing, CSR, market research, marketing, marketing plan, target market, SWOT analysis
- Write a short report on Menulog including the following:
- Where and when was Menulog founded?
- Outline Menulog’s prime function.
- Who is the food delivery industry market leader and when did they arrive in Australia?
- Explain how Menulog became part of a global company.
- Answer these questions about Menulog’s partners:
- Recall the two services Menulog offers restaurant partners.
- If you were a restaurant owner, would you partner with Menulog? Why or why not?
- Why did Menulog “go orange” with their branding?
- Recall Menulog’s original target market.
- What does it mean when Menulog was described as “the Nokia of food delivery”?
- Compare the usage of meal delivery services by generation for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
- Conduct online research on Roy Morgan to find out who they are, what they do and how useful they are for businesses.
- Go online and view the McCann Snoop Dogg campaign. Why do you think this campaign and its variations have been successful for Menulog?
- Approximately how much did Just Eat Takeaway.com spend in Marketing in 2020 and 2021 according to Extract A? How much does this compare to Menulog’s total advertising spend according to the Nielsen graph image?
- Summarise some of the company’s promotion and loyalty strategies as outlined in Extract B – Our Product and Technology.
- Summarise Just Eat Takeaway.com’s four strategic objectives.
- Explain how Menulog is attempting to address criticisms surrounding the gig economy and its employees.
- Outline Menulog’s other areas of focus for Corporate Social Responsibility.
- Describe Menulog’s plans for future growth.
- Complete a SWOT analysis for Menulog.
- Do you think Menulog will achieve its goal of becoming the market leader in Australia? Why or why not?
Menulog References & Further Reading
Annual Report 2020 Just Eat Takeaway.com
Annual Report 2021 Just Eat Takeaway.com
Ashton, K “Food delivery companies trial new working arrangements to improve the gig economy”, ABC News, 3 April 2022
Bonyhady, N “‘The right thing to do’: Menulog’s move to employ couriers ups pressure on gig economy”, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2021
Cameron, N “Bunnings tops sonic branding rankings; Menulog enters the top 10”, CMO Australia, 1 November 2021
Gibson, J “Food delivery apps road test: what do they offer?”, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2021
Healey, B “Delivery platforms and fast food brands have spent millions on advertising as they capitalise on Australia’s lockdowns”, Pedestrian Group, August 24 2021
Howarth, B “Menulog: The four steps we took to win over Gen Z”, CMO.com.au 9 June 2021
Just Eat Takeaway.com https://www.justeattakeaway.com/
Langford, J “Menulog and Mushroom Creative partner for TikTok remix activation”, themusicnetwork.com, December 1 2021
MacDonald, A “Uber Eats and Hungry Jack’s top delivery and fast food digital ad spend”, Mumbrella.com.au, August 25 2021
McCann Australia https://mccann.com.au/
McDonnell, J “Menulog CMO Simon Cheng: Orders up 20-40% as budget sticks for TV, social; 1-in-5 people use food delivery”, Mi3.com.au, 28 July 2020
Menulog Australia https://www.menulog.com.au/
Mitchell, S “Here to win – Snoop Dogg helps menulog spice up Australian sales”, Australian Financial Review, 11 March 2021
Mumbrella, “Menulog promotes two senior marketing team members”, mumbrella.com.au June 24 2021
Pash, C Menulog’s Snoop success brings expanded market share and soaring sales AdNews.com.au, 12 March 2021
Pash, C “Nielsen – The rise in ad spend by food delivery services”, AdNews.com.au, 27 September 2021
Pattabiraman, R “Menulog expands services as demand grows”, Inside FMCG, Feb 23 2022
Powell, D “As Foodora leaves Australia, who’s left? A brief history of Australian food delivery services”, Smartcompany.com.au, August 3 2018
QSR Media Australia Staff Reporter, “Menulog refreshes brand look, eyes regional footprint expansion”, QSRmedia.com.au, April 2021
Robb, K “Menulog founder’s $470 million payday”, Smartcompany.com.au, 11 May 2015
Roy Morgan “Metrotechs and Millennials have taken to Uber Eats, Menulog, Deliveroo, Foodora and more”, roymorgan.com, May 25 2018
Roy Morgan “Meal delivery services including Uber Eats, Menulog, Deliveroo and DoorDash experienced rapid growth in 2020 during a year of lockdowns and working from home” roymorgan.com, May 28 2021
The Music Network staff writer “How Snoop Dogg broke Menulog to younger Aussie chowhounds”, themusicnetwork.com, November 27 2020
Zhou, N “Menulog pushes ahead with plans for drivers to become employees under new award”, The Guardian, May 17 2021