As people limit their ventures out and restaurants are forced to go takeout-only in many cities, food delivery services are seeing an explosion in demand during the pandemic. Instacart, which delivers for grocers including Safeway and Aldi, saw the highest ever customer demand on its platform last weekend, and has the most “shoppers,” that they’ve ever had, according to the platform.
The boom in food delivery services is the opposite of what other GIG platforms are experiencing with Covid-19, as Uber driving earnings fall and Congress’s pandemic aid package which mostly didn’t cover GIG workers, according to an article in Bloomberg Law.
Research from LinkedIn and Intuit indicates the gig economy is here to stay. That’s good news for most small businesses. There’s never been stronger freelance talent to choose from, in so many skill sets and professions, than today. If you own or manage a small business, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a need you couldn’t fill with a freelancer. Active companies in the markets this week include ShiftPixy, Inc. (NASDAQ: PIXY), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: APRN), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT).
The Freelancers Union’s annual report found that up to 55 million people this year – representing 35% of the total US workforce – are in the freelance workforce. The research anticipates a record 43% of the workforce taking part in the gig economy by 2020. LinkedIn’s research also supports an increased supply of freelance hours: The LinkedIn article continued: “As small businesses embrace the gig economy, owners and managers can hire freelancers to take on specific scopes of work in specified timeframes. When you assign your contracted worker to a pressing short-term project, it eases the stress and workload of your staff. It also brings more flexibility and agility to your budgeting. When you need to scale up or down, your hiring can reflect that without the traditional overhead that comes with employees.”
ShiftPixy, Inc.: Native Delivery More Vital Than Ever During COVID-19 – ShiftPixy today announced a new initiative as part of its Restaurant Resilience Plan, to help restaurants reclaim their brand and customer relationships via native delivery amid COVID-19. Consumers now have a heightened sensitivity regarding the safety of their food, and higher standards for the personnel delivering it. ShiftPixy’s native delivery solution enables restaurants to repurpose their own, food safety trained staff to facilitate deliveries, reclaim their brand and forgo their reliance on third-party platforms.
Today, many restaurants are reliant on third-party delivery partners, but the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked concern for multi-unit franchises and the brands they operate under, leading them to reevaluate who is managing their customer relationships. For operators now relying largely on off-premise orders, it’s more vital than ever for vetted employees, trained in social distancing standards and sanitation procedures, to deliver food to the end consumer.
“Through our ongoing conversations with leaders in the fast food industry, we’ve heard growing concern about who is bringing the consumers their food, and whether they are properly trained to represent the brand, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ShiftPixy co-founder and CEO, Scott Absher. “Ultimately, it’s in the restaurant’s best interest, as well as the customer’s, for uniformed food safety trained employees of the brand itself to facilitate last-mile delivery.”
The coronavirus has affirmed the importance of native delivery, not only for the sake of restaurant operators’ profits, but in order for them to deliver a safe and superior customer experience and keep their staff employed during these difficult times. This reality is what inspired ShiftPixy’s Restaurant Resilience Plan.
ShiftPixy’s turn-key, end-to-end native delivery solution is available now to help restaurant operators repurpose their existing staff for deliveries, as well as establish a white-label online presence, eliminating all necessary reliance on third-party delivery partners. Ultimately, this approach to human capital, customer engagement and delivery will help restaurants retake control of their brand.
Other recent developments in the markets this week include:
Amazon.com, Inc. Amazon Studios recently announced that it was providing $1 million for the catering team at the award-winning Jon & Vinny’s restaurant group to prepare meals for local charities feeding those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including No Kid Hungry, Off Their Plate, the Los Angeles Mission and the Motion Picture & Television Fund. As part of the initiative, Jon & Vinny’s will team with other L.A. restaurants including the Culver City restaurant Hatchet Hall, whose kitchen staffs will also work to prepare and deliver food to be distributed.
“This unprecedented crisis has impacted all of us in immeasurable ways, and it’s more important than ever that we all do our part to give back at every level — and particularly to our own community,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “At Amazon Studios and Prime Video, we’re truly honored to be able to show our support to the community that has always supported us, and to team up with Jon and Vinny’s to provide food to those who so desperately need it along with a lifeline to local businesses.”
“We’re super excited to partner with Amazon Studios and Prime Video in their initiative to help small local businesses,” said Jon Shook, Co-Owner of Jon & Vinny’s. “Now with this $1 million contribution, they are continuing to help us during this time as well as give us the opportunity to lend a hand to other independent businesses and restaurants in Los Angeles.”
Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. recently announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. “As planned, we have started to deliver on the first stage of our growth strategy with sequential quarter-over-quarter growth in both net revenue and customers, along with continued strength in certain other key customer metrics, which we saw even prior to the impact of COVID-19,” said Linda Findley Kozlowski, Blue Apron Chief Executive Officer. “As we move into the second quarter of 2020, we are focused on driving customer retention and establishing longer-term consumer habits out of the heightened demand we have been seeing as a result of the impact of COVID-19, including stay-at-home and restaurant restriction orders and other changes. Given this, we expect that this uptick in demand can be maintained beyond the period of direct impact of COVID-19, even as restrictions begin to be lifted.
“Our growth strategy is also helping us to address the more recent changes in our business related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since late March, we have seen increased demand from existing, returning and new customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud of our team’s quick actions taken across the business to address this increased demand, particularly after the initial spike in demand where we were unable to fully meet the increased order volume. As more customers invite us into their homes, we believe the appreciation they have for the quality meal experience we deliver is helping to grow our connection to them and we look forward to having them continue to cook with us. I am grateful to all our employees for their commitment and efforts in providing consumers access to our high-quality meal kits made from delicious ingredients during these unprecedented times.”Blue Apron
Starbucks Corporation recently reported financial results for its 13-week fiscal second quarter ended March 29, 2020. GAAP results in fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019 include items which are excluded from non-GAAP results. Please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release for more information.
“People around the world are united around a common cause as we navigate the COVID-19 situation globally. We are very grateful for the heroic efforts of medical personnel, first responders, government officials and volunteers who are working tirelessly in the service of others. I am exceptionally proud of the thousands of Starbucks partners around the world who are safely serving customers and playing a positive role in every community we serve,” said Kevin Johnson, president and CEO.
Walmart Inc. recently announced Express Delivery, a new service that delivers more items from the store than ever before to customers’ doors in less than two hours. Walmart has accelerated the development of the service in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, piloting Express Delivery in 100 stores since mid-April. The service will expand to nearly 1,000 stores in early May and will be available in nearly 2,000 total stores in the following weeks. Express Delivery allows customers to order across more than 160,000 items from Walmart’s food, consumables and general merchandise assortment such as groceries, everyday essentials, toys and electronics.
“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry. COVID-19 has prompted us to launch Express Delivery even faster so that we’re here for our customers today and in the future.”
Walmart’s Express Delivery joins the retailer’s popular pickup and delivery offerings, all three of which are no-contact services for the customer. It relies on the retailer’s team of 74,000 personal shoppers who will pick customers’ orders. This includes additional personal shoppers hired specifically for Express Delivery. Walmart will utilize its existing lineup of delivery providers to take orders from a store to customers’ doors. The service will cost $10 on top of the existing delivery charge. Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited customers’ will simply pay a $10 fee per Express Delivery. Like Walmart’s pickup and delivery services, there is no markup on items – an item is priced the same as it is on the shelf.