Yamomori enjoys fruits of welcome restaurant delivery boom 

James McCarthy is the co-founder of Flipdish, the food ordering app used by Yamamori

Fearghal O'Connor

Popular Japanese restaurant Yamamori has had such success with its new delivery and takeaway service that it plans to open a new separate premises dedicated to running the operation once its three restaurants are allowed to reopen.

Yamamori owner Graham Ryan told the Sunday Independent that the delivery service it had set up in conjunction with Irish online food ordering platform Flipdish had grown into much more than a stop gap and would keep it running even when it is allowed to open its doors again in the months to come.

“Once things reopen we're not sure that we’ll have enough capacity to do take away and run a restaurant in the same venue. So at the moment, we're considering actually opening up a standalone shop that would serve the online business,” said Ryan.

“We had our best five day period since the pandemic began last week with over 400 orders, although that compares to the 5,000 we would have served each week at our three restaurants and club before the pandemic,” he said.

Like many other Irish restaurant owners, Ryan went to Flipdish to get the new delivery service off the ground.

Flipdish told the Sunday Independent this week that it has doubled its Irish customer numbers during the pandemic. In February 2020 Flipdish had 560 hotel and restaurants as customers in Ireland and that number had risen to 1,152 by February 2021.

The Irish firm operates in 15 countries and has seen rapid growth globally due to the pandemic. In March 2020 before the pandemic hit, about 180,000 food orders per month were going through Flipdish’s branded apps and websites across its 15 markets. By May this was up to 400,000 and has continued to grow.

A survey carried out by Flipdish amongst 2,500 members of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, found that 57pc of restaurants indicated they would not have survived the first year of the pandemic without offering delivery or takeaway services.

Two thirds of those who moved to a delivery model said that it allowed them to earn up to 20pc of revenue compared to their income before the pandemic.

“We got the takeaway going pretty quickly after the first lockdown. From when we closed our doors to when we started shipping food out the door it was about two and a half weeks,” said Ryan.

“We had only done collection before but it was a very minimal part of our business and we’d never given it any focus.”

Ryan said that the move online had been challenging initially but the restaurant chain had managed to do it in a very quick turnaround this time last year.

“We already put a lot of love into our website but we had to price everything, work on our packaging, find drivers and make a safe environment for our staff to work in. It was challenging but we got there.”

Yamamori had 160 staff pre-pandemic and its takeaway service is now run by just 12.