I think I speak for most people when I say I absolutely love food, and even more so, I love the instant satisfaction of having any craving of mine delivered right to my door. Today’s technology-driven markets are largely marked by on-demand applications including those like Uber and GrubHub. More recently, there has been huge growth in food-delivery services and this is the reasoning as to why one story really popped off the page as I scrolled down TechCrunch.com’s feed – “DoorDash partners with food stamp startup mRelief”.
One of the most captivating characteristics that now define the market for food-delivery services is its ability to offer a new wave of culture-immersion. These applications allow one to experience a breathe of any culture by instantly bringing the chosen dish to the door; no longer do people have to leave their residence to get a classic American meal or an elegant Asian cuisine. With the touch of a button, a consumer can have any culturally-relevant dish in front of their face. Consequently, I thought it was compelling to click on the afore-mentioned article because, in my own opinion, I felt that DoorDash, relative to its competitors, was resting at the bottom of my battery usage.
Nevertheless, DoorDash still claims a spot in the “Food” folder on my iPhone which is comprised of various services including Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, goPuff, and DoorDash among many others. I was curious to see what initiatives DoorDash was now taking to stay relevant among it’s long list of competitors. I personally feel as though I never use DoorDash and instead usually go right for UberEats when I am looking for a quick bite to eat. The thought of this pressed me to research a little more into the industry and what I found was that there is one clear leader: Grubhub. According to an article from August of 2018, Grubhub, founded in Chicago in 2004, averages roughly 14 million visits every month which totals more traffic than the next three biggest sites combined: DoorDash, Seamless, and Uber Eats.
Evidently there is a need for competitors to stay relevant in the industry. Despite the rapid growth of these other companies, Grubhub still holds the lead by a landslide. Thus far, the strategy of Uber Eats and DoorDash has been to target keywords that optimize search results in order to drive up their traffic. Yet, will this strategy continue to be a viable way to increase traffic on the apps site? Or, should these companies attribute more time to seeking other ways to gain a competitive advantage?
DoorDash has already been taking initiative with its recent partnership with mRelief, a San Francisco based startup that is focused on expanding peoples access to food stamps.
It has been identified that roughly one out of every four people in San Francisco are fighting hunger. Yet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has noted that $13 billion in food stamps benefits go unclaimed each year. The founders of mRelief, Rose Afriyie and Genevieve Nielson, seek to assist low income workers in dealing with social problems. One of the key features that the company offers is the ability for one to see if they meet the qualifications for certain resources like food stamps. The company has provided the process for San Francisco inhabitants to enroll in food stamp programs and has opened the door for a variety of social services to those that are eligible. Since the company’s launch in 2014, mRelief has successfully provided eligible users with $65 million worth of food stamps across the US.
The partnership between DoorDash and mRelief has two-sided value. Not only will DoorDash unlock a potentially strong competitive advantage, it also will be taking a socially beneficial step in supporting the process for people to apply for food assistance. As part of the partnership, users in San Francisco who sign up for mRelief and are deemed qualified applicants will receive up to $35 in DoorDash credit, meanwhile also getting the benefits of food stamps. In a time of post government shutdown, many low wage workers are seeing their eligibility for food stamps arise.
Although $35 only seems like a small investment, it also operates to motivate people in need to seek support. This partnership ties technology’s ease of use offered by on-demand services with critical problems such as hunger. I foresee this initiative driving up DoorDash’s traffic as it casts them under a socially positive light while getting those that are less fortunate to use their app. In this sense, DoorDash may be able to experience a wave of new customers who will be committed to their app going forward – I am eager to see how this plays out in the long run.
Could this have a large impact on competition within the food-delivery services industry? This could be an interesting concept to bring up when visiting Uber’s headquarters. I would be excited to hear how Uber is using Uber Eats, which is considered a more ‘premium’ delivery service, in combatting the hunger that plagues San Francisco in comparison to it’s competitors like DoorDash.