We have written about two catering businesses (one in Vienna and one in London) with large cargobike fleets, essential for an efficient distribution.
ICBF reports about another one in Amsterdam, Marleen Kookt, which has grown from a two-people operation in a home kitchen to an operation that includes 50 part-time riders (Bezorgers) on 23 Urban Arrow cargobikes.
They are mainly students and young people with flexible schedules, working for a minimum of two days a week. A typical delivery run is 30km in length and lasts 2½ hours, in shifts running between 16:00 and 20:00. More experienced riders are given runs of up to 40 to 50km. In return, they are paid a decent hourly wage. Friendly contact with customers is a really important aspect of the business, so Bezorgers are given a taste of the day’s menu before each delivery run, so that they can evangelise to customers on the doorsteps.
It has been an important customer for the manufacturer who has made modifications to the cargo box:
A result of this symbiotic relationship is the numerous modifications to the bikes, one example being a internal shelf in the box, hinged like a trapdoor. This allows two layers of meals to be loaded. Another is a custom tamper-proof, handlebar mounted phone holder, which allows hands-free navigation on the move and avoids theft whilst Bezorgers have their backs turned.
Attention has been focused also on the routing software:
The back end of the system is more complex; a combination of factors is fed into the software, including bike capacity, the ½ hour delivery window chosen by each customer, order size, Bezorger working hours and Bezorger speeds. The slower average speed of less experienced riders is taken into account, as is the local knowledge of more seasoned Bezorgers, who tend to know shortcuts and routes to avoid. Following a manual check and some adjustments, the system creates packing lists and routes for each bike. These are ready by midday, in time for the kitchen to begin loading orders onto the bikes.
Essentially the cargobikes are a core element of the business, providing unbeatable efficiencies:
Using cars in Amsterdam is expensive and frustrating. We looked at mopeds, but they didn’t have the capacity. So we considered our needs and made a conscious, practical decision to use 2-wheeled cargo bikes; they are manoeuvrable and stable, parking is easy and they have the capacity.
Photo credit: Marleen Kookt