Speedy delivery may go off the rails

Delivery platforms such as DoorDash and Instacart are getting into the ultra-fast 15-minute delivery service.

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Speedy delivery may go off the rails


The Future. Delivery platforms such as DoorDash and Instacart are getting into the ultra-fast 15-minute delivery service, which puts a lot of demand on couriers and cooks to get stuff done both fast and right consistently. It’s a question mark if that model is sustainable. But, cities may ultimately push back on the idea if city centers turn into quiet districts of ghost kitchens instead of the heart of a community.

Too many couriers in these streets
Two-day Amazon Prime shipping used to feel like warp speed, but some companies want to make deliveries in fifteen minutes. But, how fast is too fast?

  • Smaller services like JOKR, Getir, and Gorillas already deliver groceries and other goods in fifteen minutes.
  • But now the big guys like DoorDash and Instacart want to do the same.
  • The turnaround time is so fast that these companies have no choice but to hire couriers as employees rather than gig workers. That’s how much control is needed to pull it off.

The demand for ultra-fast delivery comes after widespread adoption of online food delivery and grocery shopping, which grew by 80% in 2020. It’s already grown another 17% this year, and will continue to grow as the market expands.

Main Street goes dark
A growing issue is that non-stop delivery services are clogging up city streets with delivery drivers and bikers while leading to the rise of “dark stores” — micro-warehouses that house ghost kitchens simply to put out delivery orders.

In order to meet demand, these dark stores could take up valuable real estate in city centers, potentially squeezing out small businesses and bodegas that would typically take up that space.


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