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Digesting DoorDash's Delicious Q1
Amazon pays you to shop, NYC sets outdoor dining fees
Last week we analyzed Uber’s impressive Q1 results, noting how passing customers between ridehailing and delivery was improving both operations. Well now DoorDash has thrown down the gauntlet with an even bigger first quarter, showing that keeping a tight focus can also yield notable growth.
If you’ve noticed a lot more delivery workers on the streets lately, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: they’re probably moving meals for DoorDash, which saw total orders rise 27% YoY to 512 million. Marketplace gross order value hit a cool $15.9 billion, growing 29% YoY; compare that to Uber Eats’ corresponding growth of 8% (or 12% in a constant currency basis) to $15 billion.
Some of DoorDash’s recent acquisitions are bolstering that growth, with international markets more than doubling, thanks to the company’s 2022 purchase of Wolt, which has a strong presence in Northern Europe and Japan. A new partnership with Aldi also looks to be powering gains in the grocery delivery segment. Despite that impressive growth, the company still loses a few dimes on every delivery order. It’ll be interesting to see how new developments, like the company penalizing restaurants that inflate their delivery prices, play out for DoorDash in the medium term.
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HOT INDUSTRY NEWS & GOSSIP
Amazon invents the… store: Without being too snarky, we have to credit Amazon with revolutionizing the way shoppers make purchases, including slowly retraining people to expect near instant gratification when it comes to online orders. That’s why the company’s newest development seems a bit like a blast from the past: instead of delivering to you, Bezos now wants you to come pick it up yourself. In fact, Amazon is now so determined to drive down its ballooning delivery and return costs that it will pay customers $10 to pick up an order at a nearby Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, or locker. The added plus for Amazon is this also helps drive foot traffic to the company’s struggling brick and mortar locations; Amazon Fresh in particular looks to be treading water, the company paused opening new locations in September. (If anyone wants to give this promo a try, report back on your experience after using this link.)
A few zoning wins: Toronto City Council votes to allow 2-4 unit construction across the city, replacing single family zoning with missing middle housing. And on this side of the border, DTLA’s new zoning code is approved by the City Council, featuring zero parking minimums.
Blue state giveth, red state taketh: In Oregon, Governor Kotek signed a bill allowing speed cameras statewide, hopefully ushering in safer streets with fewer police encounters. Meanwhile the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill that bans the city of Indianapolis from implementing a no-right-on-red policy. Sorry cyclists and pedestrians! And in even bluer terrain (or as they would say up there: bleu) - Montreal is set to begin charging larger and heavier vehicles more for parking permits.
Dining on the Big Apple: New York City is finalizing the fee structure for its outdoor dining setups, and the proposed pricing has the restaurant industry happy. The lowest tier (covering about 80% of the city) will be $5 per square foot on the road, and $6 per square foot on the sidewalk. In the toniest parts of Manhattan, that would rise to $3,600 for a cafe setup occupying a standard 144 square foot parking spot. Still TBD is the allowed operating season.
If at first you don’t succeed… Ultrafast delivery innovator Gorillas may have been unceremoniously scooped up on the cheap by rival Getir, but evidently its founders still have food delivery ambitions. Three former execs just raised €1.5m to start TastyUrban: a Berlin-based virtual restaurant franchisor. Their first restaurant concepts? A fried chicken sandwich concept (how novel) and “Birria and the Beast” (I can only imagine how tame the German rendition of adobo will be…)
Sweet? Yes. Green? Someday. Call it the “Sweetgreen Index” of urban rebound: the salad giant reports its central city locations are seeing strong growth in foot traffic, with Mondays starting to perform as strongly as Tues-Thurs. Perhaps this trend, plus the company’s new focus on automation, will finally push the company to profitability? One person won’t be around to see it: CMO Daniel Shlossman left the company for cooking van turned commissary innovator Wonder.
Meet MDS 2.0: The Open Mobility Foundation officially released version 2.0 of its Mobility Data Specification. Whereas the initial version of the open source software was just meant for micromobility, the latest version supports taxis, ridehailing, carsharing, and delivery robots. Other improvements make it easier for cities to craft policies around which devices can operate when and where.
Bleached: Ailing parking lot disruptor REEF was dealt another blow, as Wendy’s is pulling the plug on a project to expand its brand via cooking trailers powered by the Miami-based startup. The Softbank-backed company looks to be pivoting to licensing its virtual brand marketplace to existing kitchen operators.
Electrification keeps on truckin’! The push for EVs everywhere seems to be paying dividends in the logistics and delivery space. Mega carrier XPO just placed a notable order for electrified box trucks, as the company looks to stay ahead of looming California and federal mandates.
Robots in the darndest places: Can controlled environments like airports prove a more fertile operating terrain for delivery bots? Ottonomy CEO Ritukar Vijay shares why he thinks so, along with how hardware-focused startups like his can keep investors happy.
A few (ok, a lot of) good links: Indian food delivery unicorn Swiggy swoons with valuation cut. Long-delayed study could take traffic stops out of LAPD’s hands. How public transit became America’s last safety net. Healthy and transit adjacent? New concept from Whole Foods founder opens first location at Metro stop. AI buzzword bingo - LLM comes for food delivery. Congrats to Vade on securing a patent for their wireless traffic camera. Like so many things in America, traffic deaths appear to have racial disparities. Henry Grabar’s new book on why America has too much parking. Congestion pricing inches forward in NYC. Meet the Indian shared mobility startup blitzscaling its ebike and charging station buildout. Angelenos: now's your chance to fight for safer streets. UPS and Teamsters face off. Delivery tech wants to take a bite out of in-restaurant dining. Drone deliverer Zipline looks ready for liftoff, with lofty $4.2B valuation. Google Maps unveils slick new flyover features.
Until next week!
- Jonah Bliss & The Curbivore Crew