City region invests £700k in pioneering alternative to food delivery giants

Steve Rotheram

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has announced a £700,000 investment in Peepl, a new payments and rewards technology that offers local restaurants an alternative to existing food delivery giants, such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.

The recently launched service takes a community-driven, ethical approach to food delivery, connecting a local, low carbon delivery solution with local restaurants and customers. It will mean restaurants pay lower fees, with a reward token that keeps more money flowing in the local community.

Particularly during lockdown, when they were forced to close, many restaurants turned to offering takeaways, often using the existing major food delivery platforms.

While the customer only pays a small fee, such platforms can charge the restaurant up to 37.5% commission on each transaction. Using Peepl and its partners’ technology, restaurants are looking at fees that are 50% cheaper overall for the same service.

Peepl’s software enables a form of localised currency called ‘Peepl Tokens’ to flow between sellers and buyers in the network – in this case, restaurants and people purchasing food from the restaurants. Peepl’s token model is supported by Fuse, a blockchain network, for quick and cheap transactions that support local communities.

The tokens can only be spent within the network, which keeps the money circulating within the city region economy.

Peepl rewards its customers by giving them back 5-10% of the price of their order as a reward, in PPL tokens. The tokens can be used to pay for other services in the Peepl network, and they will remain locked within the network for at least four to five years.

The delivery element of the project will be delivered by six low carbon logistics hubs, one in each of the six city region local authority areas, enabled through Agile Liverpool. Agile currently operate in Liverpool and employ its drivers on full time employment basis and will train and upskill new recruits using the Kickstart Scheme. Agile has previously recruited and rehabilitated ex-offenders.

Steve Rotheram said: “In the Liverpool City Region, we aren’t the sort to simply follow the crowd. We like to be disrupters, to chart our own course and take great pride in our local businesses and community solidarity.

“Peepl has the potential to radically disrupt the food delivery market by bringing together all those values and injecting a lot more fairness – for riders and restaurants alike – to an industry not known for its treatment of workers.”

Leon Rossiter, co-founder and CEO of Peepl, said: “The big delivery apps, alongside ride hailing platforms, extract large amounts of value from each transaction that takes place between people that live and work in the same city.

“I think most people are waking up to the fact that it doesn’t need to be this way. Advances in blockchain technology, alongside shifting values and laws, mean new business models are possible for the internet, and the local economies we all live in.”

The combined authority’s £700,000 funding for Peepl comprises £500,000 to fund Peepl team and infrastructure, plus £200,000 to fund ‘kickstarter’ grants direct to restaurants, to enable them to offer incentivised offers to customers.