Deliveroo is a UK-based start-up company that began as a dream at co-founders Will Shu and Greg Orlowski’s office desks in 2013. It is a delivery service application (app) that operates with restaurant partners to deliver meals to customers via its riders. The customer orders a meal via the Deliveroo app, which is accepted by the restaurant partner.
Riders are able to view incoming order requests by customers in their area. which they can accept or decline, once accepted the driver is responsible for picking up and subsequently delivering the order, all managed via the app. With the tagline ‘Order high-quality takeaway online from top Singapore restaurants, fast delivery straight to your home or office.” (Deliveroo. 2019). Deliveroo pride itself on the flexibility it offers both customers and riders and reiterates the choice on behalf of the rider.
The company has faced a number of issues during its growth period where it has expanded into over 500 cities in 14 countries across the world. Following significant funding from Amazon in 2019 the company intends to continue growing.
Deliveroo is one company that works within the ‘gig economy (Kalleberg and Dunn. 2016) in that its riders are not classified as ’employees’ of the company. Rather, Deliveroo treats its employees as ‘contractors’ meaning that they are essentially self-employed. Deliveroo refers to its riders as ‘independent contractors as they are paid for the job.
Healy, Nicholson, and Pekarek (2017) suggest that although gig economy working is a minor feature of the current labor market, ‘discussions of the ‘future of work’ – how much work will be available, how it will be arranged and the impacts of technological change – frequently refer to the gig economy’.
O’Connor (2016) discusses the realities of this working pattern within gig economy organizations by exploring the algorithmic management that it utilizes to manage employees via the app. Although the use of algorithms to manage workers is so new it is actually founded in theory from over a century ago when organizations hoped to manage the tasks and time people took to complete these tasks.
However, as Rosenblat argues that although the use of algorithms influences perceptions surrounding management -fiber’s model clearly raises new challenges for companies that aim to produce scalable, standardized services for consumers through the automation of worker-employer relationships.”
Many other companies have followed this example, using a system of contracting instead of hiring workers as employees. In addition, many companies in other industries increasingly use contractors rather than employing people on a permanent basis.