Across the United States, local and state legislators are grappling with the most challenging decision of their administrations: whether to shut down major metropolitan areas to curb the spread of Coronavirus, after many cities' citizens opted to go bar-hopping this past weekend despite the looming health crisis.
Already, San Francisco has put a "shelter in place" order into effect - residents are staying put in their homes and the only business that are operating are in the grocery, pharmacy, banking, gas or municipal services industries. We all know only so many recipes - and sooner or later, we're bound to turn to delivery to pig out. It looks like the choice has been: sooner.
As more Americans hunker down to brave the Coronavirus lock-in, food delivery apps are getting more attention. Almost across the board, we're tracking surges in recent weeks in many top food delivery apps' Facebook ($FB) Talking About Count.
Part of it may be driven by various initiatives being announced as the delivery companies look to explain how businesses will be impacted, to consumers, and how they'll support delivery workers - and part of it is being driven by a flood of attention from corporate partners now very eager to get onto various delivery platforms. Some of it is because delivery apps are offering deals for restaurants to pitch in to save struggling businesses in a time of need - some of it is because they're also announcing steps to care for delivery workers in a time of crisis. And some of it is because we're very hungry.
Uber Eats' Facebook Talking About Count rose the most, growing ten-fold from the beginning of the year until mid-March. It's likely to keep growing; Uber Eats announced partnerships with Starbucks ($SBUX) and Chipotle ($CMG). In 2020, Uber Eats has been eating social media attention that once belonged to its competitors.
CNBC's Dierdre Bosa said March 18 that the company is shifting more drivers to Uber Eats, given the uptick in need for takeout and grocery delivery and Chipotle is reportedly waiving delivery fees as it tries to drum up more business via the app.
Doordash ($PRIVATE:DOORDASH) began a program for couriers either quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19; its Facebook Talking About Count has nearly doubled, putting it in second place for 2020 social chatter thus far.
The startup, which is reportedly charting a path toward IPO, is also offering to remove or reduce commissions for existing restaurant partners until the beginning of May, and providing new sign-ups 30 days commission-free.
Postmates ($PRIVATE:POSTMATES) is also launching a fund to support delivery workers that may have been impacted by COVID-19, and also implemented a temporary fee waiver to onboard new restaurants and small businesses onto its platform. Postmates' Facebook chatter is up about 70% as more Americans lock-in, tune on and chow down.
Grubhub Seamless ($GRUB) announced an initiative early on in the outbreak, stating it would suspend up to $100 million in delivery fees - although it's been pointed out that the company may have an opportunity to better serve the restaurants that have helped its decade-plus longevity in the food delivery space. Unfortunately for Grubhub, it's Facebook chatter is the only among the four delivery companies to have declined in 2020.
One place where Doordash eats all of its competition's lunch is in the Apple Store, where it's ratings count tops that of every competitor in the space (including Uber Eats).
In the past, we've covered how Doordash has established a big lead over its other contemporaries in the delivery space, in terms of engagement through the Apple ($AAPL) Store, for reviews generated. That's the lovely little window that pops up and solicits a review on a basis of one to five stars, within your phone. However, Uber Eats ($UBER) has a slight advantage in the ratings department: it scores 5-out-of-5, to Doordash's 4.87 (still solid).
The Coronavirus outbreak has put most of America on its heels - but forced delivery startups to sprint to keep up with a rising pace of demand - and startups and established players in the space alike are poised to benefit for quite a while.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.