Europe's first fast food by drone service to begin in Dublin within weeks

Drone (stock image)

Adrian Weckler

Europe’s first fast food delivery service by drone will start in south Dublin in a matter of weeks, according to Manna Aero founder, Bobby Healy.

Speaking today on’s technology podcast, The Big Tech Show, Mr Healy said that the public service will be launched in a south Dublin suburb with 30,000 people in March. He said that the three-minute service will deliver food from several chains.

“Camile Thai is a partner on the food side,” he said. “Next Tuesday, we will formally announce the name of a major online food player that everybody knows.”

He said that “major online food player’s” delivery service app will have a new drone symbol.

“You'll open the app and, in this case of Camile Thai, it will offer for the food to be picked up by drone. If you order by drone it will be delivered in less than three minutes.”

Earlier this month, Camile Thai chief executive Brody Sweeney told a conference in Cork that the Manna Aero drone delivery system would allow customers to pick a landing area around their home, such as a patio or driveway.

Mr Healy, the former chief technology officer of CarTrawler, said that the Irish Aviation Authority has been supportive of the initiative.

“We're going to open it up to about 30,000 people to begin with,” he said. “What we expect to happen is that there'll be too much demand and so we'll have to restrict it in some way. But anyone who wants to see it can just come along and see it happening. It will be in a public place.”

Mr Healy recently said that he hopes to scale to 50,000 delivery drones for the Irish and UK markets.

“We want to literally transform marketplaces, economies, and communities all over the world in a way that not just reduces our carbon footprint, but saves lives and creates jobs while doing so.”

According to the company, the airborne logistics platform ‘in-a-box’ will provide online meal ordering platforms, restaurant chains and dark kitchens with a 3-minute delivery promise to their local communities for “a fraction” of the cost of road-based deliveries. Manna Aero uses “custom-designed aviation-grade drones” built in Europe and the US.

The drone fleet is operated directly from the restaurant or ‘dark kitchen’ premises and is accessible to food tech providers and online food platforms in a “channel-agnostic manner”, the company says. It recently received €4.7m in funding from Dynamo Ventures, a company that specialises in supply chain and logistics firms.