Successively bought by two quick traders – Gorillas then Getir – Frichti returned to French hands. The start-up La Belle Vie, pioneer of food e-commerce in Paris, was named on Wednesday as the buyer of the specialist in the delivery of prepared meals, in receivership since the spring.
The two delivery companies know each other well having been created a few weeks apart, in 2015, and having grown all these years in parallel. “We are happy to take on colleagues whom we respect enormously,” explains Paul Lê, the co-founder of La Belle Vie. Frichti is an iconic brand, which has surrounded itself with a large number of artisanal suppliers. They bring us the magic of their brand, we bring them our logistical know-how.”
La Belle Vie has indeed achieved the feat, rare in the food e-commerce sector, of making money since the end of last year. “We have worked on our processes to become the only food e-retailers to deliver profitably during the day. All the others have given up their arms,” notes Paul Lê. Almost all the quick traders who had swept through major French cities in 2021 have in fact withdrawn from the market, with the exception of Flink. These players offered to deliver groceries in less than 10 minutes, from mini-warehouses (dark stores) with which they had covered the cities. They were decimated by the rise in rates, which cut off their livelihoods, and by the modification of town planning rules, which drastically tightened the screws on mini-warehouses. In their fall, Gorillas then Getir took Frichti away.
La Belle Vie will achieve 57 million euros in turnover this year, up 30% compared to 2022. It offers its customers 25,000 references of consumer food products, and some prepared meals. It only delivers to Île-de-France from its warehouse in the 12th arrondissement. In this region, Belle Vie captures 14% to 17% market share depending on the month, behind Carrefour and Monoprix.
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The start-up employs 168 employees out of the 500 that Frichti had throughout France. The activity (69 million turnover in 2022) will be refocused on Île-de-France. The Frichti kitchens will be retained in particular, in order to continue to offer prepared dishes which currently represent 50% of the offering. The same will apply to the service intended for businesses: 1,600 are delivered every week, and 14 company restaurants. But the online shopping offer will be enriched. Frichti market, launched this week, will offer Frichti customers up to 6,000 food product references to have delivered.
Paul Lê hopes to quickly put Frichti back on the path to profitability. “We are going to abandon the current quick commerce model which has shown its limits and favor slightly slower delivery based on rounds. Going back and forth from a dark store is no longer relevant,” explains Alban Wienkoop, co-founder of Belle Vie. The model did not last long in France.