See how Deliveroo uses the scalability of Snowflake’s Data Cloud to support its rapidly growing businessand meet the unique needs of its three-sided marketplace.

Sometimes the best ideas come from an appetite for change. In 2013, a hungry banker working late in a London office noticed a gap in the capital’s food delivery market—and in that moment, Deliveroo was born.

Now a household name, the company is on a mission to become the definitive online food provider, and its services already cater to 10 international markets across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. 

Central to Deliveroo’s business model is its three-sided marketplace. Its business leaders are constantly working to balance the needs of its restaurant and grocery partners, food couriers, and hungry customers—ensuring each group receives a rewarding experience. And as a digital native company, data plays a vital role in optimizing the experience for all three. 

In fact, data permeates every aspect of Deliveroo’s activities. It’s used internally to inform vital operational decisions, solve problems, test new features, and optimize efficiency. Data is also critical within the Deliveroo app, where machine learning algorithms decide which rider should be offered which deliveries, and at what rates. 

However, as with many companies that experience explosive growth, Deliveroo soon found that its IT architecture was struggling to keep up with its data demands.

“Originally, we had a very traditional, transactional database,” said James Flaxman, Engineering Manager for Analytics Platforms at Deliveroo. “It didn’t perform well and wasn’t able to scale with our needs. So, we started searching for a solution that would provide what we needed—not just in the short term, but for our future, too.”

Delivering the capabilities needed to support rapid growth

After exploring the market in 2017, Deliveroo found that Snowflake offered the scalability and performance required to support its growth ambitions, as well as seamless integration with its existing AWS environment.

Within three months, the company was able to migrate its entire data warehouse to the Snowflake Data Cloud, and today that platform supports its analytics activities across the globe. 

Deliveroo uses Snowflake to ingest all of its important business data. Snowflake’s single platform makes it easy for the company to combine this data with third-party sources, such as Salesforce, alongside customer survey data and data from its app. All of this data can then be easily queried and transformed in Snowflake, according to the use cases Deliveroo wishes to optimize.

Ultimately, this data is used for reporting and analytics, helping business leaders to monitor and manage performance, and explore new opportunities for the business. 

“Gaining these insights requires a huge amount of data,” said Flaxman. “We have to operate on a hyperlocal level, with specific insights targeted at each location. Having a data platform that can handle that workload is integral to our success.”  

Automated scaling to accommodate peaks in demand

One of the major challenges for Deliveroo was finding a solution that could scale to meet its needs, without overpaying for resources that weren’t required. Today, the company works with data sets several orders of magnitude larger than when it first began, yet Snowflake has provided the necessary scalability with zero friction.

“We’re processing hundreds of gigs of data multiple times a day, and we want to make sure people can work uninterrupted,” said Flaxman. “We have big peaks and troughs in demand, so one of the best features for us is the ability to autoscale the clusters that support that. On a Monday morning, when requests start hitting the data warehouse, we can just scale to accommodate them and then scale back down when those peaks are over.”

This autoscaling means Deliveroo’s business users no longer experience queuing and can work without the fear of disrupting other data activities, which results in huge efficiency gains. Snowflake’s ability to separate compute and storage allows Deliveroo to experience these benefits while only paying for the resources it needs—which makes people more efficient at a lower cost to the business, and with very little administrative effort required. 

“Once you set up those initial configurations for scaling, there’s very little tuning and tinkering involved,” said Flaxman. 

Happier engineers, and insights for everyone

The benefits of Snowflake’s simplicity don’t stop at a lighter administrative workload. Having a modern data stack has a real appeal to engineers, which leads to happier workers and increased morale. 

Due to the platform’s intuitive usability, Deliveroo has also been able to make data accessible to a much wider range of business teams—meaning more people can use data to explore opportunities and ideas that contribute to the company’s growth and success. 

“We have hundreds of people using Snowflake, and a lot of them are not necessarily engineers,” said Flaxman. “There’s such a low barrier to entry that we can easily create databases and warehouses for our teams, and they only need basic SQL abilities to gain value from it.” 

A better customer experiencedelivered without a hitch

With Snowflake providing the performance and scalability Deliveroo needs to optimize its platform and drive growth, it’s the company’s customers and partners who ultimately benefit. 

Deliveroo strives to provide availability, variety and a great user experience for all participants in its three-sided marketplace. Each of these metrics is measured on a granular level using data from Snowflake. 

Although this long-term relationship has already made a transformational difference to Deliveroo’s data capabilities, there’s still plenty of room—and hunger—for exploration. 

Going forward, the company plans to use Streamlit to provide more advanced data applications to non-technical users, and explore Snowflake’s data sharing and data management features to democratize data access, and ensure it’s managed in a more automated and repeatable way.    

In the meantime, Deliveroo has a data platform that can support all of these ambitions—providing a solid foundation for the company’s present and future. 

“Data is fundamental to how we work,” said Flaxman. “Snowflake has allowed us to seamlessly and flexibly meet the needs of a rapidly growing business, optimize our operations, and continue planning for tomorrow.”