Spying a pivot to ghost kitchens, Softbank’s second Vision Fund pours $120 million into Ordermark

“We’re building a decentralized ghost kitchen,” is a sentence that could launch a thousand investor calls, and Alex Canter, the chief executive officer behind Ordermark, knows it.

The 29 year-old CEO has, indeed, built a decentralized ghost kitchen — and managed to convince Softbank’s latest Vision Fund to invest in a $120 million round for that the company announced today.

“We have uncovered an opportunity to help drive more orders into restaurants through this offering we have called Nextbite,” Canter said. “Nextbite is a portfolio of delivery-only restaurant brands that exist only on UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates.”

After hearing about Nextbite, Softbank actually didn’t take much convincing.

Investors from the latest Vision Fund first reached out to Canter shortly after the company announced its last round of funding in 2019. Canter had just begun experimenting with Nextbite at the time, but now the business is driving a huge chunk of the company’s revenues and could account for a large percentage of the company’s total business in the coming year.

“We believe Ordermark’s leading technology platform and innovative virtual restaurant concepts are transforming the restaurant industry,” said Jeff Housenbold, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “Alex and the Ordermark team have a deep understanding of the challenges that independent restaurants face. We are excited to support their mission to help independent restaurants optimize online ordering and generate incremental revenue from under-utilized kitchens.”

It’s an interesting pivot for a company that began as a centralized hub for restaurants to manage all of the online delivery orders coming in through various delivery services like GrubHub, Postmates and Uber Eats .

Canter is no stranger to the restaurant business. His family owns one of Los Angeles’ most famous delicatessens, the eponymous Canters, and Ordermark apocryphally started as a way to manage the restaurant’s own back-of-the-house chaos caused by a profusion of delivery service orders.

Now, instead of becoming the proprietor of one restaurant brand, Canter is running 15 of them. Unlike Cloud Kitchens, Kitchen United or Reef, Ordermark isn’t building or operating new kitchens. Instead, the company relies on the unused kitchen capacity of restaurants that the company has vetted to act as its quasi-franchisees.

Ordermark logos for some of the company’s delivery-only restaurant concepts. Image Credit: Ordermark

While most of the restaurant concepts have been developed internally, Ordermark isn’t above the occasional celebrity sponsorship. Its Nextbite service has partnered with Wiz Khalifa on a delivery-only restaurant called HotBox by Wiz, featuring “stoner-friendly munchies”.

The first brand Canter launched was The Grilled Cheese Society, which took advantage of unused kitchens at places like a Los Angeles nightclub and mom-and-pop restaurants across the East Coast to build out a footprint that now covers 100 locations nationwide.

It’s perhaps the growth of the HotBox brand that shows what kind of growth Nextbite could promote. Since the brand’s launch in early October, it has grown to a footprint that will reach 50 cities by the end of the month, according to Canter.

In some ways, Nextbite couldn’t exist without Ordermark’s delivery aggregation technology. “The way that Ordermark’s technology is designed, not only can we aggregate online orders into the device, but we can aggregate multiple brands into the device.”

For restaurants that sign up to be fulfillment partners for the Nextbite brands, there are few additional upfront costs and a fair bit of upside, according to Canter. Restaurants are making 30% margin on every order they take for one of Ordermark’s brands, Canter said.

To become a part of Nextbite’s network of restaurants the business has to be vetted by Ordermark. The company takes cues on what kinds of restaurants are performing well in different regions and develops a menu that is suited to match those trends. For instance, Nextbite recently launched a hot chicken sandwich brand after seeing the item rise in popularity on different digital delivery services.

Restaurants are chosen that can match the menu style of the delivery-only brand that Ordermark’s Nextbite business creates.

Behind those menus is Guy Simsiman, a Denver-based chef who is in charge of developing new menus for the company.

“We’re building things that we know can scale and we do a lot of upfront vetting to find the right types of fulfillment partners,” said Canter. “When a restaurant signs up to become a fulfillment partner, we’re vetting them and training them on what they need to do to … We’re guiding them to become fulfillment partners for these concepts. There’s a whole bunch of training that happens. Then there’s secret shopping and review monitoring to monitor quality.”

While Nextbite may be the future of Ordermark’s business, its overall health looks solid. The company is about to cross $1 billion worth of orders processed through its system.

“We are laser focused right now on helping our restaurants survive COVID and the best way we can do that is by doubling down on the incremental revenues of the Nextbite business,” said Canter when asked where the company’s emphasis would be going forward.

Nextbite is something we’ve been developing for a while now. We took it to market at the end of last year prior to COVID. When COVID kicked in every restaurant in America needed to be more creative. People were looking for alternative ways to supplement the loss in foot traffic,” he said. Nextbite provided an answer.

#america, #business, #ceo, #chef, #chief-executive-officer, #companies, #covid, #delivery-services, #denver, #doordash, #east-coast, #grubhub, #jeff-housenbold, #laser, #los-angeles, #managing-partner, #menu, #online-food-ordering, #ordermark, #postmates, #restaurant, #tc, #uber, #uber-eats, #vision-fund, #websites, #wiz

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California, Reject Prop 22

Gig workers deserve the dignity of fair compensation.

#car-services-and-livery-cabs, #doordash-mobile-app, #employee-fringe-benefits, #freelancing-self-employment-and-independent-contracting, #khosrowshahi-dara, #labor-and-jobs, #lyft-inc, #paid-time-off, #uber-eats, #wages-and-salaries

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A Local Alternative to the Big Delivery Apps, in Los Angeles

Modeled after food delivery services in Seoul, a tiny Koreatown business keeps neighborhood restaurants running through the pandemic.

#delivery-services, #doordash-mobile-app, #grubhub-inc, #jung-vivian, #korean-food-cuisine, #korean-americans, #los-angeles-calif, #mobile-applications, #postmates-inc, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #restaurants, #runningman-delivery-friends-inc, #uber-eats

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Uber and Lyft Threaten to Shut Down in California

The companies, under legal pressure to reclassify their drivers as employees, said they would halt rides unless an appeals court gives them permission to continue.

#car-services-and-livery-cabs, #decisions-and-verdicts, #freelancing-self-employment-and-independent-contracting, #lyft-inc, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc

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Uber’s delivery business is now larger than ride-hailing

Uber reported its second-quarter earnings Thursday and buried in the blizzard of less-than-rosy numbers is a stunning figure that illustrates how much the company has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uber’s delivery business — better known as Uber Eats — is now bigger than its original and core ride-hailing division, based on adjusted net revenue. Now, adjusted net revenue tells only a piece of this evolving Uber story. Income, or losses in the case of Uber’s delivery business, are also important.

Still, looking at the change of the past year, and specifically in the past two quarters, it’s clear that Uber’s strategy has shifted. And all eyes are on delivery.

Before digging deeper, let’s run a quick recap.

Uber’s reported net loss was $1.78 billion in the second quarter of 2020, down from a year-ago net loss of $5.24 billion. The company went public last year, resulting in various one-time, non-cash costs. The company’s net loss worked out to a loss of $1.02 per share. That was enough to beat analysts’ expectations of a $0.86 per-share deficit.

Uber missed on profitability in the quarter, but did surpass expectations on top line, posting more revenue than the $2.18 billion figure investors expected.

The shift to delivery

There are three key ways to weigh the company’s various businesses, of which only two are of material scale to the Uber’s operating results, namely Mobility (ride-hailing), and Delivery (Uber Eats). Here’s how the pair stacked up in Q2 2020:

  • Delivery gross bookings: $6.96 billion
  • Mobility gross bookings: $3.05 billion

Here’s how those gross bookings results turned into adjusted net revenue:

  • Delivery adjusted net revenue: $885 million
  • Mobility adjusted net revenue: $793 million

And how those revenue results turned into adjusted profit, and adjusted losses:

  • Delivery adjusted EBITDA: -$232 million
  • Mobility adjusted EBITDA: $50 million

As you can see, Uber’s food delivery business is doing far more gross dollars in transaction volume. However, as Uber has a better take-rate (the portion of gross spend it gets to keep as revenue) with ride-hailing than Uber Eats, the two had far closer adjusted net revenue numbers. Here, again, Delivery beat Mobility.

When it came down to adjusted profit, Uber’s traditionally-core business of ride-hailing generated the superior result, generating positive adjusted EBITDA, while delivery lost money using the same profit calculation method.

In Q1 2020, Mobility generated more gross bookings, adjusted net revenue, and adjusted EBITDA than Delivery. In Q2, due to COVID-19 and its resulting economic impacts, two of the three numbers flipped. How fast the figures could change in the future if the market for ride-hailing recovers further, is not clear. Today’s earnings call made it clear that Uber is more about bringing you food than taking you to the airport, and that’s a big change for the American company.

To be clear, ride-hailing isn’t going anywhere. It’s the dual focus of delivery and ride-hailing that Uber is counting on to get it through this rough patch of COVID-19 pandemic as well as fortify its revenue earning potential in more stable times.

“It’s become clear that we have a hugely valuable hedge across our two core businesses that is a critical advantage in any recovery scenario,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Thursday. “When travel restrictions lift we know the mobility trips rebound. If restrictions continue or need to be re-imposed our delivery business will compensate.”

Graphical context

For fun, here are the pertinent sections of Uber’s Q2 investor slides.

Here’s the company’s Mobility numbers:

uber mobility Q2 numbers

Image Credits: Uber

And, here are its Delivery results:

Happy number crunching!

#automotive, #earnings, #ride-hailing, #tc, #uber, #uber-eats

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Uber’s Ride-Hailing Business Craters, but Deliveries Surge in Pandemic

Uber said revenue fell 29 percent in the second quarter because people traveled less, but food deliveries soared.

#car-services-and-livery-cabs, #company-reports, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #khosrowshahi-dara, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc

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Uber reportedly agrees to acquire Postmates for $2.65 billion

Uber has reportedly agreed to buy Postmates in an all-stock deal worth $2.65 billion. According to Bloomberg, the deal may be announced on Monday morning.

Like other travel- and transportation-related businesses, Uber’s ride-hailing segment has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to shelter-in-place orders throughout the United States. On-demand delivery, however, has grown, with people relying on services like Uber Eats to get food without leaving their homes. According to its last earnings report, Uber’s ride-hailing gross bookings dropped, but its food delivery service saw gross sales growth of 54% during its first fiscal quarter.

According to previous reports, Uber made an offer to buy Grubhub, another on-demand delivery service, earlier this year, but after that deal fell through, it approached Postmates. Bloomberg reports that Uber and Postmates have actually talked on and off for about four years, but negotiations became more intense about a week ago.

Grubhub ended up being acquired by Just Eat Takeway in a deal worth $7.3 billion after its negotiations with Uber stalled.

With a valuation of $2.4 billion, Postmates is a smaller company than Grubhub. The company filed to go public in February 2019, but decided to hold off because of “choppy market” conditions.

If the deal goes through, the main competitors in the American food delivery market would be Uber Eats/Postmates versus Grubhub/Takeaway versus DoorDash.

In other countries, companies like Grab have also begun building out their on-demand delivery services to make up for losses from fewer ride-hailing bookings. For example, Grab responded to stay-at-home orders in Indonesia (its main market) and other Southeast Asian countries by re-deploying ride-hailing drivers to on-demand deliveries for food and essential items.

#acquisitions, #food-delivery, #fundings-exits, #on-demand-delivery, #postmates, #startups, #tc, #uber, #uber-eats

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Uber to Buy Postmates for $2.65 Billion

The ride-hailing company’s core business has struggled in the pandemic, and it is betting on growth of its Uber Eats division.

#car-services-and-livery-cabs, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #postmates-inc, #start-ups, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc, #venture-capital

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Netflix Moves $100 Million to Black-Owned Banks

The streaming company will shift some of its $5 billion in cash to financial institutions that focus on black communities.

#banking-and-financial-institutions, #discrimination, #hastings-reed, #netflix-inc, #philanthropy, #postmates-inc, #race-and-ethnicity, #uber-eats

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After losing Grubhub, Uber reportedly hails Postmates

Uber has reportedly made an offer to buy food delivery service Postmates, according to The New York Times.

According to the Times, the talks are still ongoing and the deal could fall through.

For those that have been paying attention to Uber, this appetite is not new, albeit consistent. A little over a month ago, the ride-hailing company was reportedly pursuing an acquisition of Grubhub,  another food delivery company. Grubhub was ultimately acquired by Just Eat Takeaway in a $7.3 billion deal, but only after the deal with Uber fell through over a variety of concerns.

Food delivery market has set to benefit largely from the COVID-19 pandemic, as stores remain shuttered or switch operations to takeout only. Latest earnings from the public ride-hailing company show that its ride-hailing business is slowing while its food delivery service is growing like hell. Gross bookings for Uber Eats last quarter were $4.68 billion.

So even though Uber still loses a ton of money ($2.94 billion including all costs), its Uber Eats growth is staggering. And the green shoots might be fueling some of this interest in other competitors.

Sources close to Uber told TechCrunch that regulatory concerns scuttled the company’s bid for GrubHub, but its chief executive later said the JustEat deal was better.

If regulatory concerns were an issue, Postmates may make a better fit.

With a valuation of $2.4 billion, Postmates is significantly smaller than Grubhub. And while the company filed to go public nearly 16 months ago, it held off eventually citing “choppy market” conditions.

So if Uber Eats and Postmates combined, the result would still be smaller than Doordash’s market hold, but would be competitive nonetheless. DoorDash, last valued at $13 billion, confidentially filed for an IPO nearly four months ago. 

Also, Postmates delivers more than just food.

If the merger goes through, the food delivery race would get refueled in an interesting way: Uber Eats and Postmates versus Grubhub and Takeaway versus DoorDash .

Postmates declined to comment on rumors or speculation. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

#coronavirus, #covid-19, #deal, #doordash, #food-delivery, #fundings-exits, #grubhub, #postmates, #startups, #tc, #uber, #uber-eats

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Uber Makes Offer to Buy Postmates Delivery Service

The ride-hailing company has been trying to expand its food-delivery business to compensate for the collapse of its main business.

#delivery-services, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #mobile-applications, #postmates-inc, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc

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Just Eat Takeaway to Acquire Grubhub for $7.3 Billion

The Dutch food delivery company beat out Uber to buy Grubhub, whose chief executive will oversee operations in North America.

#antitrust-laws-and-competition-issues, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #doordash-mobile-app, #groen-jitse, #grubhub-inc, #just-eat-takeaway-com, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc

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As Diners Flock to Delivery Apps, Restaurants Fear for Their Future

While the apps say they are saving them in the pandemic, many restaurateurs say the opposite.

#car-services-and-livery-cabs, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #doordash-mobile-app, #favor-delivery-neighborfavor-inc, #grubhub-inc, #maloney-matt-m-1975, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #restaurants, #shutdowns-institutional, #uber-eats

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Everyone’s ordering delivery, but apps aren’t making money

Two Uber Eats delivery courier wait outside Mc Donalds fast food in Ghent, Belgium on May 14, 2020. As Belgium takes steps in easing Restrictions, Restaurant and cafe are not allowed to open to customers only fast food and take away is allowed. restaurants and restaurants may not reopen before June 8. (Photo by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Enlarge / Two Uber Eats delivery courier wait outside Mc Donalds fast food in Ghent, Belgium on May 14, 2020. As Belgium takes steps in easing Restrictions, Restaurant and cafe are not allowed to open to customers only fast food and take away is allowed. restaurants and restaurants may not reopen before June 8. (Photo by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

When Luke Edwards opened OH Pizza & Brew in 2014, the Columbus, Ohio, restaurateur thought delivery apps could help his business. His chicken wings and specialty pizzas—the most popular and appropriately named “Bypass,” topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham, salami, bacon, and extra cheese—needed an audience. And he says working with apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Canada’s SkipTheDishes helped him build a loyal following, allowing him to open two more OH Pizza & Brews, with another location on the way.

But by January 2019, Edwards had had enough. For one, he didn’t think the services were helping his bottom line. “Even though we were bringing in more money, after paying out the commission rates, we were seeing a decrease in net profits,” he says. The drivers were inconsistent, he reports, and sometimes lacked equipment like insulated food bags to keep deliveries warm. Edwards also found it harder to get in touch with customer service reps for the apps, who would sometimes refund customers at the eatery’s expense for deliveries he believed had gone well.

“Quickly, I realized [the apps] were good at the search and optimization thing,” he adds. “They were terrible at delivery.” Today, OH Pizza & Brew pays its own contracted drivers to deliver, which Edwards believes saves him money.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#delivery, #doordash, #grubhub, #policy, #uber-eats

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A Grubhub-Uber tie-up would remake the food delivery landscape

Earlier today news broke that Uber is pursuing an acquisition of Grubhub. The global ride-hailing giant is worth a multiple of the American food delivery service, making the tie-up financially feasible, provided that a palatable price can be found for both parties.

The Wall Street Journal broke the news; you can read TechCrunch’s coverage of the deal here.

The deal could shake up the large, if generally unprofitable American food delivery market, a space contested by Uber’s Uber Eats service, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates. The combination could create the largest food delivery entity in terms of sales, changing leadership in its market and perhaps reducing competition.

Let’s unpack the deal in terms of its cost, why Uber has to pay in stock, how large a combined Uber Eats/Grubhub entity would be compared to its competition and why adjusted EBITDA helps us understand how this acquisition could give Uber’s bottom line a shot in the arm.

An all-stock purchase?

In normal times, this deal would likely be a mix of cash and stock. However, in 2020, with Uber’s market position being what it is, it’s likely that this would be an all-equity transaction. Why? Because Uber needs to conserve cash at nearly all costs. Its only historically profitable division (ride-hailing generates heavily adjusted profits) is in the tank, with ride volumes down as far as 80% in April, compared to its year-ago period.

#doordash, #extra-crunch, #food, #food-delivery, #grubhub, #logistics, #ma, #market-analysis, #tc, #transportation, #uber, #uber-eats

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Uber Said to Be in Talks to Acquire Grubhub

A deal would unite two large players in food delivery as more people order in meals during the pandemic.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #grubhub-inc, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #quarantines, #shutdowns-institutional, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc

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The Results Are In for the Sharing Economy. They Are Ugly.

Lyft, Uber and Airbnb depend on travel, vacations and gatherings. That’s a problem when much of the world is staying home.

#airbnb, #chesky-brian, #company-reports, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #green-logan, #khosrowshahi-dara, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #limebike, #lyft-inc, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc

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Uber Eats’ new sharing feature makes it less painful to send your friends food

Uber Eats is introducing a new feature that lets customers send food to friends, family or coworkers and share details to make it easier track the deliveries.

Uber Eats customers have been able to order and send food to friend. But in the past, it required the sender to track the delivery and provide updates to the receiver. The new feature lets the person receiving the food track the delivery on their phone.

Uber Eats Share this Delivery - Sender

Image Credits: Uber Eats

As part of the roll out, the Uber partnered with Starbucks to encourage U..S. customers to send a treat to friends through its #SendACup campaign that launched Wednesday. 

The feature is Uber’s latest effort to tap into the growing demand for delivered food during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as it has experienced huge drops in its ride-hailing business. Last month, Uber for Business, a platform designed for corporate customers, expanded its Eats product to more than 20 countries this year, in response to the surge in demand stemming from more employees working from home.

Despite demand, the Eats division has suffered losses. The on-demand food service division said May 4 it was pulling out of the Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Ukraine. It also announced plans to transfer its Uber Eats  business operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Careem, its wholly owned ride-hailing subsidiary that’s mostly focused on the Middle East. Just a day later, Careem said it was cutting its workforce by 31%.

#food, #food-and-drink, #logistics, #online-food-ordering, #starbucks, #tc, #transportation, #uber, #uber-eats

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Uber Eats exits seven markets, transfers one as part of competitive retooling

Uber Eats is pulling out of a clutch of markets — shuttering its on-demand food offering in the Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Ukraine.

It’s also transferring its Uber Eats business operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Careem, its wholly owned ride-hailing subsidiary that’s mostly focused on the Middle East.

“Consumers and restaurants using the Uber Eats app in the UAE will be transitioned to the Careem platform in the coming weeks, after which the Uber Eats app will no longer be available,” it writes in a regulatory filing detailing the operational shifts.

“These decisions were made as part of the Company’s ongoing strategy to be in first or second position in all Eats markets by leaning into investment in some countries while exiting others,” the filing adds.

An Uber spokesman said the changes are not related to the coronavirus pandemic but rather related to an ongoing “strategy of record” for the company to hold a first or second position in all Eats markets — which means it’s leaning into investment in some countries while exiting others.

Earlier this year, for example, Uber pulled the plug on its Eats offer in India — selling to local rival Zomato. Zomato and Swiggy hold the top two slots in the market. (As part of that deal Uber took a 9.99% stake in Zomato.)

Uber Eats rival, Glovo, also announced a series of exits at the start of this year — as part of its own competitive reconfiguration in a drive to cut losses and shoot for profitability. It too says its goal is to be the first or second platform in all markets where it operates.

The category is facing major questions about profitability — with now the added challenge of the coronavirus crisis. (Related: Another player in the space, Uk-based Deliveroo, confirmed a major round of layoffs last week.) tl;dr, on-demand unit economics don’t stack up unless you can command large enough marketshare so it looks like the competitive pack is thinning as it becomes clearer who’s winning where.

In a statement on the latest round of Eats exits, Uber said: “We have made the decision to discontinue Uber Eats in Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Uruguay, and to wind down the Eats app and transition operations to Careem in U.A.E. This continues our strategy of focusing our energy and resources on our top Eats markets around the world.”

The discontinued and transferred markets represented 1% of Eats’ Gross Bookings and 4% of Eats Adjusted EBITDA losses in Q1 2020, per Uber’s filing. 

“Consistent with our stated strategy, we will look to reinvest these savings in priority markets where we expect a better return on investment,” the filing adds. 

The Uber Eats spokesman told us that the exits do not sum to any change to the ‘more than 6,000 cities’ figure for the unit’s market footprint — which Uber reported earlier this year.

Asked which markets the company considers to be priorities going forward the spokesman did not respond. It’s also not clear whether or not Uber sought buyers for the shuttered units.

Per Uber’s filing, Eats operations will be fully discontinue in the Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Ukraine by June 4, 2020.

Uber Rides operations are not affected, it adds.

A source familiar with Uber also said the changes will allow the company to focus resources on new business lines — such as grocery and delivery.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the on-demand food delivery business as usual in many markets — with convenience-loving customers locked down at home so likely to be cooking more, and large numbers of restaurants closed (at least temporarily), putting a dent in the provider side of these platforms too.

At the same time there is a demand upside story in the groceries category. And last month Uber announced a tie-up with a major French supermarket, Carrefour, to expand its delivery offering nationwide. It also inked other grocery-related partnerships in Spain and Brazil.

Grocery delivery has been seeing a massive uptick as consumers look for ways to replenish their food cupboards while limiting infection risk.

While other types of deliveries — from pharmaceuticals to personal protective equipment — also potentially offer growth opportunities for on-demand logistics businesses, which is how many major food delivery platforms prefer to describe themselves.

#apps, #brazil, #careem, #czech-republic, #egypt, #europe, #food-delivery, #india, #logistics, #middle-east, #on-demand-food, #on-demand-food-delivery, #online-food-ordering, #romania, #saudi-arabia, #spain, #uber, #uber-eats, #ukraine, #united-arab-emirates, #uruguay, #zomato

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Indian food delivery startup Swiggy is cutting about 1,000 jobs

Swiggy is cutting about 1,000 jobs, most from its cloud kitchen division, as India’s top food delivery startup scales back some of its businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has drastically affected millions of firms.

In a statement, the Bangalore-based startup said it was “evaluating various means to stay nimble and focus on growth and profitability across our kitchens.”

“This will, unfortunately, have an impact on a certain number of kitchen staff who will be fully supported during this transition,” said the startup, which, according to an analysis on LinkedIn, employs about 12,000 people.

Swiggy did not reveal the number of people it was letting go, but a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that about 1,000 jobs were being cut. Indian news outlet Entrackr first reported the layoffs.

As the firm cuts its headcount, it is also looking to reduce its monthly burn rate to about $5 million, down from about $20 million it spends in winning customers currently, the source said, requesting anonymity as some of these matters remain private.

Swiggy — which has raised $1.42 billion to date, including $156 million as part of an ongoing Series I round this year — competes with Ant Financial-backed Zomato, which is also in talks to raise about $500 million by mid-May, Deepinder Goyal, the co-founder and chief executive of the Gurgaon-based startup, told TechCrunch last week.

Both the startups spend nearly the same amount of money in discounts and other incentives to sustain their customers and win new patrons. India’s food delivery market, valued at $4 billion (by research firm RedSeer), has become a duopoly as FoodPanda, owned by Ola, made a major strategic shift in recent years and Uber sold its Indian Uber Eats business to Zomato.

Swiggy and Zomato have, however, struggled to cut costs in fear that they might lose customers. And those fears are well founded.

Anand Lunia, a VC at India Quotient, said that the food delivery firms have little choice but to keep subsidizing the cost of food items on their platform, as otherwise most of their customers can’t afford them.

The lockdown that New Delhi ordered last month has created new challenges for both Swiggy and Zomato. Both the startups are now seeing fewer than a million orders placed on their platforms, down from nearly 3 million they were handling before the outbreak.

In the last year, both the startups have attempted to expand into new categories in search of additional revenue sources. Swiggy has expanded and doubled down on cloud kitchens, which allows its restaurant partners to launch in more locations with not as much investment.

Late last year, Swiggy executives said they had established 1,000 cloud kitchens for its restaurant partners in the country — more than any of its local rivals. The startup said it had invested in more than a million square feet of real estate space across 14 cities in the country in the last two years.

In the wake of pandemic, both Swiggy and Zomato have also started delivering grocery items to customers.

#ant-financial, #asia, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #food, #foodpanda, #layoffs, #personnel, #swiggy, #uber, #uber-eats, #zomato

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Uber Eats customers have given $3 million in direct contributions to restaurants

Uber Eats customers have given $3 million in direct contributions to restaurants using a new feature on the app designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The milestone caps off a related campaign by Uber Eats to match up to $3 million in contributions made by customers. Uber Eats is sending its $3 million in matched funds to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The company had previously donated $2 million to RERF.

The matching campaign has ended. However, the restaurant contribution feature, which was first rolled out in New York and is now in 20 countries, will continue.

The restaurant contribution feature was developed by a team of engineers in a flurry of activity over about seven days, according to Therese Lim, who leads the restaurant product management team for Uber Eats.

“There was no executive who said ‘oh we need to build this feature, you all go build this now,” Lim said, adding that this was a grassroots effort prompted by the wave of restaurants that were forced to close regular dine-in eating due to the spread of COVID-19. Lim said Uber Eats users started reaching out to employees via LinkedIn, email and other means to ask how they could help restaurants.

“We started to see restaurants get impacted severely by this,” Lim said. “This was particularly true as the various states started implementing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.”

The team had two primary concerns — beyond the basic backend operations — about the feature. They didn’t want it to cannibalize the amount of tips that users gave delivery workers, nor did they want it to cause customers to buy less from restaurants.

The team started to roll out the feature in a small area within New York City on April 1 to make sure tipping of delivery workers wasn’t impacted. The feature launched April 3 across the entire city and then expanded over the next week to the rest of the United States. The contribution feature is now live on the Uber Eats in 20 countries.

“We didn’t want to introduce anything that actually hurts restaurants,” Lim said. “It was important to make sure we weren’t introducing  friction into the experience that would cause a user to become impatient or displeased with the outcomes and maybe not actually finish their order.”

Those concerns didn’t bear out, according to data compiled since the app feature launched. Customers not only tipped more, they were also frequent users of Uber Eats.

Users who made restaurant contributions tipped their couriers 30% to 50% more than orders without a contribution, according to Uber. About 15% of Uber Eats customers in the U.S. who made a restaurant contribution were repeat contributors.

Data also shows that early dinner time, around 6 p.m., was the most generous time period, according to Lim. Dinner time, between 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., was the most popular for contributions, making up 60% of contribution dollars.

And certain foods, namely international cuisine, encouraged more contributions from users. French, Ethiopian, Argentinian and Thai restaurants had the highest contribution rates, according to Uber.

Some states were more generous than others. The top five most generous states, by percentage of active Uber Eats users who made at least one contribution, were Washington, Vermont, Montana, Connecticut, and South Carolina.

#automotive, #connecticut, #montana, #online-food-ordering, #restaurant, #south-carolina, #tc, #uber, #uber-eats, #united-states, #washington

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Uber and Lyft Are Searching for Lifelines

The ride-hailing competitors started the year with optimism. Now, like most other companies, they’re trying to survive the cratering economy.

#car-services-and-livery-cabs, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #epidemics, #lyft-inc, #quarantines, #uber-eats, #uber-technologies-inc, #wages-and-salaries

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Uber Eats beefs up its grocery delivery offer as COVID-19 lockdowns continue

Uber Eats has beefed up grocery delivery options in three markets hard hit by the coronavirus.

Uber’s food delivery division said today it’s inked a partnership with supermarket giant Carrefour in France to provide Parisians with 30 minute home delivery on a range of grocery products, including everyday foods, toiletries and cleaning products.

The service is starting with 15 stores in the city, with Uber Eats saying it plans to scale it out rapidly nationwide “in the coming weeks”.

In Spain it’s partnered with the Galp service station brand to offer a grocery delivery service that consists of basic foods, over the counter medicines, beverages and cleaning products in 15 cities across the following 8 provinces: Badajoz, Barcelona, Cádiz, Córdoba, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.

Uber Eats said there will be an initial 25 Galp convenience stores participating. The service will not only be offered via the Uber Eats app but also by phone for those without access to a smartphone or Internet.

The third market it’s inked deals in is Brazil, where Uber said it’s partnering with a range of pharmacies, convenience stores and pet shops in Sao Paulo to offer home delivery on basic supplies.

“Over the counter medicines will be available from the Pague Menos chain of pharmacies, grocery products from Shell Select convenience stores and pet supplies from Cobasi — one of the largest pet shop chains in the country,” it said. “The new services will be available on the Uber Eats app, with plans to launch in other Brazil states and cities in the coming weeks.”

The grocery tie-ups are not Uber Eats’ first such deals. The company had already inked partnerships with a supermarket in Australia (Coles) and the Costcutter brand in the UK, where around 600 independent convenience stores are offered via its app.

Uber Eats also lets independent convenience stores in countries around the world self listed on its app. However the latest tie-ups put more branded meat on the bone of its grocery offer in Europe and LatAm — with the Carrefour tie-up in France marking its first partnership with a major supermarket in Europe.

It’s worth noting Spain’s food delivery rival, Glovo, has an existing grocery-delivery partnership with the French supermarket giant in markets including its home country — which likely explains why Uber Eats has opted for a different partner in Spain.

Asked whether it’s looking to further expand grocery deliveries in other markets hit by the public health emergency Uber Eats told us it’s exploring opportunities to partner with more supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers around the world.

As part of its response to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has switched all deliveries to contactless by default — with orders left at the door or as instructed by a user.

It also told us it’s providing drivers and delivery people with access to hand sanitiser, gloves and disinfectant wipes, as soon as they become available. And said it’s dispensing guidance to users of its apps on hygiene best practice and limiting the spread of the virus.

Uber Eats has previously said it will provide 14 days of financial support for drivers and delivery people who get diagnosed with COVID-19 or are personally placed in quarantine by a public health authority due to their risk of spreading the virus, with the amount based on their average earnings over the last six months or less.

The policy is due for review on April 6.

#apps, #australia, #barcelona, #brazil, #carrefour, #collaborative-consumption, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #europe, #food, #food-delivery, #france, #glovo, #grocery-store, #madrid, #online-food-ordering, #retailers, #sao-paulo, #shell, #spain, #supermarkets, #uber, #uber-eats, #united-kingdom, #valencia

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The Delivery Workers Who Risk Their Health to Bring You Food

Demand for home delivery is rising, and New Yorkers barricaded in their homes are leaning more and more on a largely immigrant work force.

#amazon-com-inc, #bicycles-and-bicycling, #caviar-munch-on-me-inc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delivery-services, #doordash-mobile-app, #food, #instacart, #labor-and-jobs, #new-york-city, #restaurants, #rodriguez-ydanis, #uber-eats

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