Uber Yearns to Chop Up Grocery Delivery Services and Deliver Their Dry-Cured Corpses to Manhattan

Illustration for article titled Uber Yearns to Chop Up Grocery Delivery Services and Deliver Their Dry-Cured Corpses to Manhattan
Photo: Odd Andersen (Getty Images)

It’s kill or be killed out in these freezer aisles, which is to say that Uber’s now locked in a four-way mortal combat with Instacart, Prime Delivery, and FreshDirect. Uber announced that as of today, Manhattan residents will see a “grocery” tab in their Uber and Uber Eats apps, marking an expansion of Uber’s grocery delivery service launched this summer in Canada, Latin America, Miami, and Dallas. Stone cold, this company.

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“We’re excited to provide more opportunities for people to earn money on their own schedule, and bring the same convenience Uber users already know and love to grocery delivery,” Uber’s Global Head of Grocery Raj Beri said in a press release. A passing thought, for California residents: Vote no on Prop 22.

It makes sense that Uber would invest in grocery delivery during the pandemic; the company continues to hemorrhage money, and it’s hedging its bets on Uber Eats, the healthy limb. It’s currently in the process of acquiring Postmates for $2.65 billion. Uber’s grocery deliveries in Manhattan will happen in partnership with Cornershop, a grocery delivery startup Uber bought last year.

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Whole Foods isn’t on the menu yet. An Uber spokesperson told Gizmodo that the company has so far enrolled Gristedes, Westside Market, and D’Agostino, as well as smaller local bakeries and butchers, totaling over 50 storefronts. Users will be able to order on-demand or schedule a delivery time.

Lest you think Uber’s here to make friends, the company seems to be coming for grocers, too. In its SEC registration filing last year, Uber listed as its competitors not only Deliveroo, DoorDash, and GrubHub, but also “restaurants” and “traditional grocers,” possibly a reference to the ghost kitchen industry that has been growing during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar grocer Kroger is setting up its own ghost kitchen and delivery service; Uber founder Travis Kalanick (who’s no longer with the company) is reportedly building a ghost kitchen empire; and Uber Eats rivals DoorDash and Deliveroo launched grocery delivery this spring.

It’s nice to have options.

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Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

They’re trying this again, huh? Grocery Delivery is a tough business - nobody’s been able to make it work profitably aside from limited use by the stores themselves. There’s too much labor cost involved in picking, sorting, and delivering grocery orders.

That bit about the “dry-cured” reminded me of when I tried non-cured pepperoni slices. Not good.