Grocery Delivery: A Pandemic Lifeline Falling ShortT
he coronavirus continues to impact the retail and logistics industries. As the spread of the virus is starting to slow down, let’s take a look at the latest news stories.
Going Out to Eat Will Look Different When Lockdowns Lift
There’s growing apprehension that restaurants have suddenly lost their appeal on a deeper level that will reverberate well after Covid-19 fades. Consumers, many of whom are cooking at home and facing dimmer economic prospects, will likely be slow to congregate again in bars and restaurants. Restaurants may have to look to China, which is farther along the Covid-19 timeline than the U.S., for guidance. There, restaurants are expanding delivery and even offering grocery delivery as the preference for eating at home persists. About one-third of consumers still think it won’t be safe to dine out in three months, a recent survey from Li’s Datassential shows. Read more on Bloomberg.
Why Restaurants Are Fighting 3rd-Party Delivery
Third-party delivery platforms like Grubhub and Doordash claim to be helping restaurants through the pandemic, but restaurant owners say they’re doing the opposite. On Monday, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, and Uber Eats for overcharging restaurants to process delivery orders. The suit, filed by three consumers, claimed that by giving customers discounts and forcing restaurants to pay the cost, third-party services have driven up menu prices. The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and experts predict that one in five restaurants might not make it through to the other side. High processing fees for businesses that already operate on razor-thin profit margins are another nail in the coffin. Read more on Business Insider.
Grocery Delivery: A Pandemic Lifeline Falling Short
The system is cracking under the weight of surging demand, and an incommensurate supply of workers and groceries. Shoppers throughout the country are reporting weeks-long waits on platforms like Instacart, Shipt, Peapod and Amazon’s Prime Now, fueling ongoing frustrations and questions about how, or when, the outlook might improve. Analysts say the delivery hiccups will likely be long term, even as companies hire and train tens of thousands of new workers. Coronavirus has led to skyrocketing demand for home deliveries, which made up just 3 percent of overall grocery sales before the pandemic. Read more on Washington Post.
Toyota-Backed Pony.ai to Offer Autonomous Delivery Service in California
Toyota-backed self driving company Pony.ai said on Friday it would provide an autonomous delivery service to residents of Irvine, California, as demand for online orders surges because of the coronavirus lockdown. Pony.ai said in a statement it would use autonomous electric vehicles to deliver packages from local eCommerce platform Yamibuy to customers in Irvine, California, which has a population of more than 200,000. The autonomous fleet comprises 10 electric Kona sport-utility vehicles, made by Hyundai and its deliveries will mark Pony.ai’s first attempt to deliver goods, rather than transport passengers. Read more on Yahoo.
Best Buy Will Furlough 51,000 Employees As Sales Decline
Best Buy is furloughing 51,000 hourly employees starting April 19, after experiencing a sales decline over the past few weeks. While sales were initially up 25% between March 12-20 as people bought equipment to work from home, sales have been down 30% since March 21. Since March 22, the company’s stores across the country have been closed and it has suspended all in-home delivery, installation and repairs. It has continued to offer curbside pickup at its stores. Read more on CNBC.