Winners 2019

Best in-house team – corporate communications

Delivering at pace
Just Eat

Ever since two Danish entrepreneurs established Just Eat in the UK in 2006, the online food delivery service has experienced phenomenal growth. Today, it operates in 13 countries, with more than 107,000 restaurant partners and 28 million plus customers and is a constituent  of the FTSE 100 index.

The five-person global corporate communications team was only established in 2016, two years after Just Eat first listed on the London Stock Exchange. Based in London, its role is to apply a reputation lens to business decisions without compromising the brand’s healthy risk appetite and dynamic culture.

The team is responsible for external and internal communications, media relations and public affairs activity, and its members are viewed as indispensable, valued advisers to stakeholders across the business.

In just 12 months, Just Eat was mentioned more than 8,600 times in the media. The team handled more than 600 reactive media enquiries and organised more than 25 meetings with senior government stakeholders. In their own words, the team ‘work at pace with a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm’.

In recent months, Just Eat’s communications team has been at the forefront of commercial decision making against a backdrop of huge change and uncertainty. In January, Just Eat’s chief executive Peter Plumb resigned with immediate effect, resulting in chief customer officer Peter Duffy temporarily assuming the role. It has dealt with a high profile attack from an activist investor while in July, after company unveiled an agreed £9 billion merger with Dutch rival, it received a hostile approach from another company.

Despite these distractions, the team has also delivered a £1 million food safety improvement programme for restaurant partners, which included removing all zero-rated restaurant from the platform and funding improvement plans for those with a food hygiene standards rating below three.

The team also launched food hygiene ratings across Just Eat’s app and website – becoming the first ever online food delivery platform to do so. The initiative goes further than government recommendations, but the team gave a ‘firm recommendation’ that it should publish ratings of every single one of its 30,000 plus restaurants. The campaign secured endorsements from the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and was referred to as ‘ground breaking’ by The Independent.

Work has also been done to remove plastic packaging within the takeaway sector. Just Eat worked with sustainable packaging start-up Notpla to develop compostable seaweed sauce sachets, removing 40,000 items from entering UK homes.

The team has also rebooted the company’s internal communications, launching a new strategy based on engaging employees through ‘informing’, ‘involving’ and ‘inspiring’ and a suite of new global channels, including a monthly ‘all-hands’ meeting led by the chief executive, intranet platform The Kitchen, an employee app, World Party conference and enterprise social network.

Between 2016 and 2019, Just Eat has seen its reputation score improve from 55 to 63, according to qualitative and quantitative research conducted by Tovera, while employee sentiment has also risen. Almost nine in ten employees – 89 per cent – say that they are kept in-the-know, up from 52 per cent 18 months before, while 92 per cent describe the news shared as ‘clear, simple and relevant’.