Jitse Groen is the founder and majority shareholder of the biggest takeaway ordering service in the Netherlands: Thuisbezorgd.nl, operating in other countries under the name takeaway.com. In January 2012 Jitse was approached by venture capitalist firm Prime Ventures that invested 13 million in Thuisbezorgd.nl and since then he got ongoing offers from other venture capitalists.
In 2016, Takeaway.com debuted on The Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
I talked with Jitse about how being an early adopter of new technology has helped him to expand his business by 60 percent year after year.
Jitse is not a newcomer in the takeaway business. As a student, he started Thuisbezorgd.nl 12 years ago, and now he is CEO of a leading company in the Netherlands, and they work hard on reaching the top position in 10 other countries.
What looks simple to customers, ordering a meal via a website and get it delivered 20 minutes later, is, in fact, a complicated process that involves the most advanced internet technology, call centers, delivery services and of course most important, overall coordination.
Every day, around 6 pm, it’s traditional dinner time in Holland, Thuisbezorgd.nl receives 200 orders per minute, says Jitse. To manage this we have invested in state-of-art systems, the process is seamless, and that’s why we have a broad base of loyal customers and are we able to grow and expand, he continues.
What he found challenging is the ever-changing way of connecting with customers. When we started 12 years ago, ordering dinner via a website was still something new but I knew it would get popular, and it did. Today, at least in the Netherlands, it’s the most used way of ordering takeaway food. But we see that mobile applications are gaining in popularity and we know that having a good app is crucial. I believe that within a few years the majority of the orders will be done via mobile apps, and not via websites anymore. The impact of technology on our organization is broad-based, and every aspect of our company is touched in some way.
Jitse emphasizes that Holland, according to their experiences, is steps ahead in adopting new technologies. The Dutch people become accustomed to new technology much easier than others, he says. That also shows, for example, in the innovative tires of Vredestein.
In other countries, online takeaway ordering is not so popular yet, but we know that the Dutch scenario will be repeated and that our takeaway business will grow in other countries the same way, says Jitse Groen.
Jitse and his team are busy right now with building brand awareness and name recognition in several other countries where they use traditional TV commercials, billboards as well as the new media. A good example is how DSM transformed its branding strategy.
In our line of business, we need to stay on top of technological developments and social trends. Nowadays Facebook and Twitter are helping us to stay in touch with customers and digital newsletters are absolutely not read anymore, so we have stopped sending them, adds Jitse.
Marketing is not the only thing that needed to be adjusted, the leadership style of Jitse Groen evolved as well. In more than a decade of his leadership, he learned to motivate his employees and allowed them to develop. Some of his now most trusted managers started out their careers in the call center. Today they are running the company’s daily operations and Jitse can spend more time on strategically planning the future. Just one more sign of exceptional leadership.
I will stick around to see how the company expands and if you want to know more, subscribe to get updates.