Today DoorDash announced it is entering the hyper-competitive ultra-quick grocery delivery market with the launch of a new DashMart location in New York City. According to the announcement sent to The Spoon, the new location will stock up to 2000 items and complete deliveries within 10-15 minutes of a customer’s order.
The new initiative follows the launch of DashMart, DoorDash’s own branded dark grocery network, in 2020. The expansion into hyper-fast is a logical next move, especially for a company with as robust a nationwide logistics and delivery network as DoorDash.
DoorDash’s new effort also represents a significant departure from the company’s traditional gig worker model. Instead of using freelancers to deliver groceries for its new effort, DoorDash will hire its own couriers for the first time. The company plans to hire sixty workers to staff the effort, each getting paid $15/hour plus benefits and tips to start. The new couriers will work for a new DoorDash subsidiary named DashCorp.
The move to hire a courier workforce is, in part, due to pressure from states like New York, which have begun to pass legislation placing greater protection on gig workers. The move also makes sense in that the ultra-fast grocery model requires a ready stable of couriers to deliver goods to consumers as they come in.
“Millions of people across the country turn to platforms like DoorDash to earn supplemental income when, where, and how they choose, providing them with unique flexibility and choice that is so valuable,” said company president Christopher Payne. “We’re proud to be a leader in providing economic opportunities that fit the lives of so many people. And now, we’re excited about the new employment opportunity that DashCorps offers for a different type of work.”
DoorDash’s latest moves follow discussions by the delivery giant to invest in Berlin-based fast-grocery pioneer Gorillas. The talks, which would have given DoorDash a buy option on the Berlin-based company, eventually fell apart, and it’s unclear how much of DoorDash’s newly launched fast-grocery initiative was a direct result of the fizzling effort between the two companies. Whatever their intention, it’s clear now with the launch of its first fast-grocery outpost and the launch of DashCorp that DoorDash is building infrastructure for roll-your-own strategy in this nascent but fast-growing market.
For Gorillas, JOKR, Gopuff, and others in this new space, DoorDash will undoubtedly represent a potentially significant new competitor. The delivery company commands a 55% market share in the US food delivery market and a year ago had 20 million monthly active users. While JOKR, Gopuff, and others have had no problem raising eye-popping amounts of venture funding, these companies have to invest much of their venture funds into user acquisition and logistics, areas which already have been well-developed by the more mature DoorDash.