The Fight To Be The Figurehead of Food Delivery

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.

Image result for mrelief

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.

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Rose Afriyie and Genevieve Nielsen, co-founders of mRelief.

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.

8 thoughts on “The Fight To Be The Figurehead of Food Delivery

  1. Hi Jordan! I had no idea before reading your blog post that DoorDash and mRelief partnered up to help expand the access of food stamps for people who need it. I totally agree with you that this is great for DoorDash’s reputation and it can potentially attract people to use DoorDash over the other food delivery service companies because DoorDash is doing good for the community and showing corporate social responsibility. Seeing that a lot of consumers nowadays value companies being socially responsible, I think this will also prompt other food delivery firms to follow suit.

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  2. Love this post Jordan! I also have a folder of food-delivery apps and question who to use on a given night. Although the impact on profits may be hard to determine now, DoorDash’s partnership with mrelief looks like the type of social entrepreneurship we’ve been discussing in class. Great to see a larger company take this type of move!

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  3. Jordan, it is interesting to see how much more traffic GrubHub is generating in comparison to its competition. Personally, I use UberEats for the main reason that its user interface is the smoothest and easiest to utilize. At this point, it really seems like most services are offering deliveries from most of the same restaurants, so I really look to what other features these platforms are utilizing to garner my use. It will be interesting to see which platforms end up winning out in the long run, or if they will all end up being sustainable.

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  4. Hi Jordan! Great post. This is definitely an interesting industry to watch, and I’m sure that there will be many more developments in the near future. It’s interesting to see what each company is doing to try to differentiate itself from the others, including the new partnership between DoorDash and mRelief that you described. Personally, I was also surprised to learn how much GrubHub seems to control the market currently. Although GrubHub is the first major player in this industry that I remember, I am surprised that UberEats doesn’t hold a greater share of monthly traffic. Definitely will be fun to watch how the industry grows and evolves!

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  5. Interesting to see the contrast between Uber’s self centered and DoorDash’s community focused approach to competition. I’m curious how these companies prevent delivers eating the food they’re delivering. In fact, I’m interested to see how these companies will adjust to the rise of more self-driving cars.

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  6. Hey Jordan. Really interesting stuff you’re talking about here. I personally never used these apps but I’ve seen friends use it. so I learned a lot from your post. I’ve only seen ads for these sorts of companies but I might need to go research this myself. Hope that DoorDash and mRelief are successful with this; it’s always good to see companies doing societal good.

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  7. Great post. I was always curious as to how all of those competitors were faring against one another and I would not have guessed that it was GrubHub that was leading the pack and UberEats trailing the three other major services. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the long term because the success of this industry is not as vital to Uber’s business model as it to the other services that strictly do food delivery. Could this safety net lead UberEats to take the throne in 5-10 years? Seems plausible to me.

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  8. Nice post Jordan! It was very interesting to learn about the partnership between Doordash and mRelief which shows how government programs like this are being integrated into food delivery services. Personally, I have never used UberEats, but through experiences of using Grubhub and Doordash etc., it’s pretty clear that there is not a single food delivery app yet that has a diverse enough choice of food to satisfy all kinds of customers (I always have to check all the apps to see which app has the restaurants I like). So it’ll be interesting to see how this food stamp partnership you mentioned will affect the competition of food delivery industry if at all.

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