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On-Demand Delivery

Including same-day players in retail, grocery, ghost kitchens, and (ingredient and recipe) "meal kit" services
The Uber phenomenon is transforming how we relate to food and groceries.

The on-demand food delivery industry (a/k/a same-day delivery) providing for the delivery of prepared food, groceries, and retail merchandise is the latest area of modern life to receive the attention of technology companies.  Tech industry efficiencies in connecting makers and consumers, is now actualized through mobile ordering, payment, fulfillment, and gig worker staffing.


Once in place, the resulting convenience of “the interface” then helps to propel makers and consumers to ever-evolving expectations about fulfillment.   All rather magical really, although we have to remember that high school kids have been delivering groceries to home for generations.   The same with pizza delivery.    Call it the Uber phenomenon … it all seems kind of cool and fresh, but then again taxis did come when we called for them.


The tech-enabled transformation of the on-demand food delivery industry kicked into high gear just within the last decade.   Already there appear to be winners emerging as well as some significant failures.   We expect convenience store (c-store) operators may have a major role in the next wave of players due to enter this industry – in tourist markets in particular there is a great deal of limited provisioning that occurs at Airbnb units, campgrounds, glamping accommodations, and hotel rooms.





There is no question that the on-demand food delivery industry (and other same-day delivered items) is changing how we interact with what has been a location-based (out-of-home) experience, whether entertainment or other trip purpose.   The emotional resonance of a person’s brand relationship is seemingly now more personal, since that restaurant food or we simply love or that merchandise we can’t live without, can be brought to where I am, when I ask.


Each time tech comes to call this aspect of propelling our expectations is always there waiting.  Before email existed, FedEx launched (1974) and pioneered easy overnight courier service.   Those of us who were around at the time remember how yes, it was helpful and convenient.   But it also changed everyone’s expectations about the flow of work product.   A work day started to conform to FedEx pick-up times.  Our clients came to expect next-day documents.   FedEx was convenient but it at the same time it changed the pattern of our daily work life.  The same thing happened with word processing software on personal computers – we did less editing when we gave our documents to assistants working on those big word processors.  Having a personal computer on our desks, with word processing software, encouraged us to keep writing, and re-writing to a much greater degree.


Same-day delivery of virtually any purchased item – whether durable or consumable is about to become everyone’s expectation.   The back-of-house logistics to make this fulfillment happen is already underway.   Drones are about to be added as one more fulfillment option, particularly for medicines and the on-demand food delivery industry.   Isn’t it curious that the Covid-19 pandemic brought many of us to work-from-home (“WFH”) just as the technology to support same-day fulfillment of almost any item needed, was available?


And since we now have same-day, we’ll be waiting for “give it to me now.”   3D printers have provided a crude beginning, but we hope someone take some time to get us those Star Trek replicators.  Now that’s the ticket!

On-Demand Food Delivery Industry – Major Players & History

Aldi Grocery DeliveryAre opting to hire their own in-store shoppers. Founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht, headquartered in Essen (Germany).1946
Amazon FreshAmazon Prime membership is required. First established in Seattle in 2007.2007
AvoAvo’s goal is to deliver everything from groceries and alcohol to electronics and personal care items to millions of people daily.2017
Block (formerly Square)June 2020 - Square, a point-of-sale and payment processing platform, has launched a new on-demand delivery service for its sellers. Square changed its name to Block in December 2021.2009
Blue Apron Inc.Ingredient-and-recipe "meal kit" service operating in the United States.2012
Dashing DeliveryServing the Santa Fe (New Mexico) metro area, founded by Justin Greene.2003
DelivMenlo Park-based crowdsourced, crowdshipping, same-day delivery startup. Deliv provides last mile transportation services. 2012
DeliverooOnline food delivery company based in London, England.2013
Doordash / DashMart
Third-party delivery operator. IPO planned for late 2020. Already in third-party partnerships for last-mile grocery delivery as well as fulfillment for restaurant chain delivery. DashMart (launched August 2020) offers more than 2,000 products, including household essentials, ready-made meals and groceries, in eight cities. The company looks to use its own network of warehouses, similar to ghost kitchens, to fulfill orders, allowing customer deliveries in 30 minutes. Has also entered the c-store space in partnership with Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, Casey’s General Stores, WaWa and Circle K Stores.
Headquartered in San Francisco.
Eat24Acquired by GrubHub in 2017. Based in San Francisco2008
eBay NoweBay's same-day delivery service was abandoned in 2015.2012
FarmsteadAn online "dark store" grocer operating from warehouses within 50-miles of its customers. The company launched in 2016 as a free online delivery service for fresh, locally sourced produce.2016
Food RocketMay 2021 - the company launches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using the company's mobile app, users can order fresh groceries, ready-to-eat meals and household goods within 10-15 minutes,2021
FreshDirectNew York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington D.C.1999
GlovoEstablished in Barcelona, Spain.2015
Provides consumer products typical to convenience stores. New delivery service operating from its own warehouses and with its own drivers. Business concept is "no middleman" doing the delivery.2020
Google ExpressFailed online shopping service brand, shuttered in 2019.
No membership was required.
November 2020 - goPuff acquires BevMo for $350 million. With 200 warehouses serving more than 500 markets, goPuff delivers thousands of SKU's in 30 minutes or less for a flat fee of $1.95. Headquartered in Philadelphia.2013
GrubHub (Just East Takeaway)
American online and mobile prepared food ordering and delivery platform that connects diners with local restaurants. Headquartered in Chicago.2004
Hello Fresh SECInternational publicly-traded "meal kit" company based in Berlin, Germany.2011
Ice Cream LifeA San Francisco ice cream delivery service.2014
Owned by Mablebear Inc., established in June 20122012
JokrGrocery and delivery platform that provides hyper-local product delivery services. The company offers customers delivery of an assortment of grocery and retail items to their doorstep in less than 15 minutes. It aims to democratize retail by bringing together global suppliers' all-time favorite products and local brands to support the small businesses in every neighborhood while minimizing waste. 2021
Just Eat Takeaway
Purchasing Grubhub. created in January 2020 by bringing together two of the world’s most successful food delivery companies - Takeaway.com (founded in 2000 in the Netherlands) and Just Eat (founded in 2001 in Denmark).2020
KozmoA now-shuttered startup that promised free one-hour delivery of just about anything along with Starbucks coffee in several major cities in the U.S.1998
Meituan China’s market regulator has fined Meituan, the country’s biggest food-delivery and on-demand–services app, more than $500 million as a penalty for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the market by forcing merchants on its platform to avoid working with rival apps. 2010
MuncheryMunchery Inc. was an online food ordering and meal delivery service, serving NYC, Seattle, and San Francisco. Shuttered in January 2019. 2010
Postmates (Uber)American company that offers local delivery of restaurant-prepared meals and other goods. Owned by Uber Technologies Inc.2011
Safeway DirectAvailable where Safeway Grocery Stores operate.
Seamless North America LLCHeadquartered in New York City.1999
Available in more than 200 cities. Owned by Target Corporation2014
Sprouts Farmers Market
Are opting to hire their own in-store shoppers.2002
Thrive MarketMembership required. Thrive Market focuses on healthy foods, and has stock of over 6,000 products from non-GMO, non-toxic and sustainable brands. Headquartered in Los Angeles.2015
Uber Eats
Founded in August, 2014, part of Uber Technologies Inc.2014
Walmart Delivery UnlimitedWith Walmart Grocery, you can shop from all of Walmart’s offerings and get same-day delivery. 2019
WebvanOne of the largest tech investment failures in the U.S., now shuttered.1996
SkipcartAcquired by 7-Eleven in 2022.2018

2023 On-Demand Grocery & Prepared Food Delivery

From the Research unit, SCP Adventure Entertainment Cos. LLC
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