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Easi rider: The food delivery minnow taking on the giants

“We started with one motorbike and two drivers and now it’s over 20,000 drivers,” Mr Shen said. “I didn’t have much money so sometimes the orders I had to deliver myself … sometimes Melbourne weather is really bad and I told myself ‘If I can’t deliver it, no one else would’.”


While Easi’s multinational competitors have thrown a lot of money to grab market share in Australia, Mr Shen said his company has grown by focusing on the needs of restaurants and drivers.

Easi takes a commission of between 15 and 25 per cent from restaurants compared to the 30 per cent charged by Uber Eats. Meanwhile, Easi delivery drivers, who operate as independent contractors, are paid a flat fee of $8 a delivery.

The delivery platform began by focusing on the “niche” Asian market to save costs but has now expanded to offer a range of restaurants, including major franchises Pizza Hut and Domino’s.

“Because I used to own a restaurant I know how much margin is (good for them) and I want everyone to make money and everyone have a happy ending here,” Mr Shen said.

The platform operates across 11 cities in Australia and has expanded internationally to the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and Malaysia, with Singapore next on the horizon.

An Easi delivery driver in Melbourne.

An Easi delivery driver in Melbourne. Credit:Joe Armao

“Many years ago people came to Australia and they tried to find gold but not everyone digs for gold, (he) who sells the shovel is (the one) who makes the money,” Mr Shen said. “That’s why I wanted to become the one to sell the shovel, to make the platform.”

Mr Shen sold a majority stake in Easi to a consortium of investors in 2018 and now holds, in his words, “a small piece of the cake”. He also remains the chief executive of the business. Mr Shen declined to name the investors or provide further information on Easi’s sole director, Australian-based Jan Liu.

He added that while the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the restaurant sector hard, Easi has recorded a 15 per cent increase in sales on the back of customers placing larger orders.


Industry analysts Ibisworld expect revenue in the restaurant industry to decline by 25.1 per cent in 2019-20, to $15 billion as a result of coronavirus, with food delivery platforms playing a vital role in a restaurant’s survival.

“These platforms have boosted takeaway sales, and have informed customers of which local restaurants are still operating during lockdown,” Ibisworld said in a report published last month.

Meanwhile, hospitality consultant Ken Burgin said while food delivery apps had “grown like weeds” during the coronavirus pandemic, Easi stood out with its low commission and growing fleet of riders and drivers.

“The technology is one side, the people on wheels is another,” he said. “Restaurants have realised doing takeaway and delivery is hard, people are going to have to keep doing it, the clever ones are streamlining that.”

Mr Shen said he is focused on Easi’s growth trajectory, which has been buoyed by the restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We say in China, everything can be delivered, so I think last-mile delivery will be the future,” he said. “People realise delivery is more convenient for them.”

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