Home Penny blacks How apps requisitioned the age-old idea of ​​take-out

How apps requisitioned the age-old idea of ​​take-out

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At the turn of this century, when Seamless was launched, primarily as a tool for offices to place large orders from restaurants and caterers, it was not registered as a threat. Neither has Just Eat in Denmark (2001) or Grubhub (2004) or a host of others, all of which have started to swallow each other up in a series of mergers and acquisitions that read like a tech version. Bible birth announcements: “And Just Eat acquired Hungryhouse from Delivery Hero and Seamless merged with Grubhub, and Greylock Partners and Redpoint Ventures invested in Just Eat, which gave birth to SkipTheDishes.

As with humans, the business family has grown and diversified. Here is a partial list of the main competitors and companies also managed in this area: Talabat, Snapfinger, Hungryhouse, Menulog, Eat24Hours, Ele.me, EatStreet, Eat Club, Munchery, Postmates, OrderAhead, DoorDash, ChowNow, Caviar, Foodpanda, Menu Group , SkipTheDishes, SpoonRocket, Deliveroo, Gopuff, Hello Curry, Foodora, Dunzo, Swiggy, Uber Eats, Wolt, TinyOwl, InnerChef, Maple, Tapingo, Rappi, Spring, Chowbus and Glovo. As they proliferate and merge, these companies have collected more detailed and accurate customer data, the information aggregated into a tool capable of anticipating and responding to customer demands much more effectively than even the restaurateur. the most experienced.

The arrival of the iPhone in 2007, followed by the 2008 recession and a whole generation of young engineers mobilized to build apps in a scramble to become the next Facebook, was an indefensible attack on restaurants. A host with a reservation book and a landline was under-equipped to compete with ordering technology that was suddenly in everyone’s pocket, feeding data to Silicon Valley app companies. In a matter of years, these companies knew more about a restaurant’s customers – what we wanted, when we wanted, how much we were willing to pay – than a small business could ever do.

In 2016, a number of these companies made the news by stopping their growth until then without obstacles. Before closing, Bento acknowledged that there was more money to be made in restaurants than in on-demand delivery, SpoonRocket sold its technology to Brazilian food chain iFood and Square tried to sell caviar to Uber. or Grubhub.

As it became known that third-party delivery was unprofitable, despite high-profile sales, the conversation changed. The problem wasn’t that the Emperor had no clothes on, that these companies – valued in the billions, with more investment money pouring in every day – had pushed restaurants and investors alike. It was that of course delivering food was not profitable. Not with human labor. However, when restaurant meals could arrive at our doorstep via drones, robots and self-driving cars, that’s when the industry would turn from red to black. “If we don’t get the [autonomous car] software thing nailed, we’re not going to be around for very long, ”said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. United States today in 2016.

All of these companies prefer to be known as technology companies, as opposed to taxi or restaurant companies. It’s true. They don’t deliver food. Many of them entrust the physical layout to other agencies, such as Relay, Homer Logistics (acquired by Waitr) and Habitat Logistics. Bicycle and car couriers are never employees but “independent contractors”, granting the company maximum exemptions from labor and employment laws regarding hours, overtime, sickness pay and benefits. wages.

Attached to the legal fiction that their product is more than a delivery and couriers are not employees, these companies sidestep the details of the service they actually provide, reminding you that you have food delivered to you. Due to them, in a way that is difficult to quantify. “Grubhub helps you find and order food wherever you are. “Uber Eats is the easiest way to get the food you love delivered to you. “” Whatever you want, we get it. Order delivery for yourself or with friends and watch your Postmate bring you everything you love in real time. This is an impressive feat of writing, which means they deliver food without declaring it and thus avoid the responsibility of identifying themselves as delivery companies.