Germany-based Gorillas is launching its speedy grocery delivery service here in the U.S. on May 30. The service will provide on-demand delivery of groceries in 10 minutes or less in New York City, starting in Bushwick, parts of Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill.
Gorillas is part of a new wave of dark, delivery only grocery stores that are set up in dense residential areas. These stores carry fewer items than a supermarket, but because they are embedded in neighborhoods and have a limited delivery radius,they can process and fulfill and deliver orders quickly. A number of these speedy delivery stores have gotten funding throughout 2021, including Weezy in the U.K., Getir in Turkey, and Glovo in Spain. Gorillas has been among the most funded, having raised $335 million.
We are just starting to see this small, speedy, delivery only store model emerge in the U.S. Gopuff raised $1.5 billion this year to expand its 24-hour convenience store-like delivery service. In New York City, Gorillas will face more direct competition from Fridge No More, which operates basically the same type of store in the Williamsburg, Park Slope and Gowanus neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
As we’ve written before, all of these super-fast grocery stores have the potential to change our relationship with grocery shopping. Instead of weekly or twice-weekly trips to the store, getting groceries becomes more like a utility that you turn on whenever you need something at that moment. Snacks, milk, wine, whatever can be brought to your door in less time than it takes to put on your shoes and socks and get in the car.
Of course, this new model will only work in certain locations. It’s no coincidence that both Gorillas and Fridge No more operate in New York City. It’s a dense, urban environment with a lot of potential customers in a small geographic area. Ten-minute delivery wouldn’t work as well in more rural areas where houses are spread out. We’ll also have to watch and see how much equity is a part of these startups’ expansion plans. Will they only be delivering to affluent areas? Will New York City be a patchwork of delivery zones that exclude lower-income neighborhoods?
For it’s launch in NYC, Gorillas is teaming up with the non-profit Rethink Food to collect potential food waste from warehouses and turn it into meals for distribution through other community-based organizations.
Those living in its service areas will be able to try Gorillas out for themselves starting this Sunday. All orders will carry a flat delivery fee of $1.80 and there is no minimum order. Hours of operation at launch will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.