An International Expansion Case Study
Just Eat's Success Story
Scaling your business from your local market abroad provides a wealth of opportunities. Perhaps most notably is the new market entry advantage. Just because your organisation is operating well in its local market doesn’t mean there isn’t a new opportunity out there that will prove even more successful.
Just Eat is one of the most globally recognised takeaway services, with it successfully operating in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, China, and Spain, to name a few. What many aren’t aware of is that Just Eat's home country is in fact Denmark. One of the key reasons this is little-known is because the company didn’t truly take off as a service until it relocated to the UK in 2006.
So, why is it that? This case study explores Just Eat’s global expansion strategy, why it was successful, and how effective business planning turned them into a global household name.
New Market Opportunity
One of the most notable areas that Just Eat succeeded in during its international expansion was defining and serving the market most relevant to them.
Whilst Denmark was providing the company opportunity, Just Eat noted the demand of the UK takeaway market. They were bought out by Bo Bendtsen in 2005, who decided to launch the Just Eat Headquarters in London.
To provide context to just how much the UK market could offer, over 50% of Europe’s food delivery industry is based in Britain.
Adapting and expanding to serve a well-suited market proved a smart move for the takeaway business. As of 2017, over 70% of the company’s revenue came from the UK alone, despite being located in over a dozen countries worldwide by this time.
If you’re looking to expand your business abroad, first try to define "why and where". You may have a dream of moving to a specific country, but if that new country and its market don’t serve your business framework then you should continue to research other alternatives. The perfect opportunity is out there, so be open to all options for you and your business!
Further Expansion & Buying Power
Whilst international expansion is a step-by-step process, with success comes the opportunity to further expand your business.
This is exactly what Just Eat did, with the Netherlands and Ireland being the next locations for expansion in 2007 and 2008 respectively. By this point, the company was growing rapidly, as well as acquiring multi-million-pound investments with the view of buying out competitors further afield.
Within the next 10 years, the company had either expanded to or bought out their market competition in Australia, Canada, and the UK. At the time of writing this article, they are operating in some capacity across 23 different countries.
Just Eat is also a partner to other existing businesses in Brazil and Columbia, proving a versatile approach to their international expansion method.
Like with Just Eat, a versatile approach to international growth often means more opportunities come your way.
Whilst their journey was far from an overnight process, Just Eat assessed every market competitor and approached each new venture with a different expansion strategy. Whether it came down to expanding as their own brand or buying out/partnering with their competition, Just Eat’s varied strategy is what has ultimately helped them become a global market leader.
Branding & Sponsorship
Branding is something that can easily be lost in the wider picture when expanding your business globally.
Whilst your business will already have a brand identity, it’s important to consider what may potentially work even better in other markets. Just Eat has done a great job at not only changing branding, messaging, and logos to keep up with the times, but also tailoring it to their various markets.
For example, when acquiring existing takeaway competitors in Australia and Canada, Just Eat chose to maintain the already familiar names of the companies and simply rebranded the logos to the trademark ‘Just Eat logo style’. This means that in Australia Just Eat is known as Menulog and in Canada, Skip The Dishes.
Maintaining the corporate identities of companies that the new markets are already familiar with gave Just Eat a valuable head-start when relocating to new countries. You’ll see below the examples of each brand and how they compare.
In terms of international sponsorship, this is yet another area in which Just Eat has succeeded. Previously shirt sponsors of English football club Derby and Belgian side Oud-Heverlee Leuven, the company ensured that their brand identity was visible to their target market across various countries. In a similar sponsorship deal, Just Eat also sponsored the 14th and 15th series of the UK X-Factor.
If you’re expanding into new markets, it’s important your strategy assesses how your brand will likely be perceived in your new location. Ensure that translations are appropriate and coherent to foreign audiences or clients and that you are appealing to the correct target market from the start.
The Just Eat expansion journey has been going for over 14 years now. Relocating and expanding your business is a long process but, as you will have seen, one that provides a great wealth of opportunity when done correctly.
Start your expansion journey with your own free downloadable resources! Define your goals, set a timeline, and check them off as you go. See this as the starting point as you get your business expansion underway.
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