UberEats is rolling out express delivery services for Big Apple bodegas that have been hit hard by competition from express delivery apps like Gopuff and Gorillas, The Post has learned.
Customers receive their order within 30 to 60 minutes and pay $2.99. The merchants do not pay any additional delivery charges, which normally cost them around 15% of an order with other fast delivery apps.
Some 100 small delis and mom-and-pop grocers in the New York metro area have been testing the new service in recent months. Participants in the pilot include Ron’s Deli and Grocery Store on Jamaica Avenue in Queens and Smiley on Lexington Ave. and 62nd St.
“Not many of us have the time to create something like that and do the marketing,” says Smiley owner Nayeem Ghesani, who also owns Third Avenue Garden at 91st. St. “And this is free.”
The plan is to roll out the service to thousands of businesses across the city, said Elie Katz, CEO of National Retail Solutions, a maker of high-tech POS terminals spearheading the rollout.
“Bodegas are under attack from the well-funded express delivery services and we are leveling the playing field for them,” Katz told The Post.
Most shoppers order soda, chips and other staples from convenience stores that are sometimes just a block away, Katz said. The idea is that they are supporting a local business that has been largely excluded from the wave of online shopping for the past two years.
In the past, Ghesani said regular customers called the store directly, but the process wasn’t always seamless. “Sometimes when the store is busy, our employees can’t answer the phone,” he said.
As express delivery apps have boomed in the Big Apple and elsewhere, the plight of mom and pop grocers has become a rallying cry for more regulation. The Bodega and Small Business Association has said its members deserve “protection” from the new competitors and has been working with lawmakers to draft new regulations.
Bodegas are “seriously at a disadvantage” against the venture-backed delivery app companies, Upper East Side Council member Julie Menin told The Post.
“We can’t have a situation where they go bankrupt and a mom-and-pop that doesn’t deliver on the same day,” Menin said, can’t survive.
New rules require fast delivery apps to be licensed and customers to be able to walk into their stores, which have been nicknamed “dark stores” because they originally operated as warehouses. Other legislation focuses on delaying their delivery time promises and reducing the weight of their packages that the bike couriers carry on their backs.
When Doordash entered the fast-delivery industry last year and introduced its Dashmarkets in New York City — small grocery stores that deliver food and sundries quickly — it lured the Bodega Association and other small business groups to stave off backlash from government officials who support start-ups like Gopuff, Getir and Buyk received.
Doordash said it would help bodegas upgrade their technology and add it to their platform. It partnered with 400 small businesses, including members of the Yemeni American Merchants Association. The company confirmed that it continues to work with more than 400 small grocers.
NRS says it has 20,000 small business customers across the country and plans to roll out this new delivery model more widely and help companies bring the program to market. It will also add other delivery partners, Katz said.
Initially, the grocers will be listed on NRS’s BRClub app, but eventually they will be added to the UberEats platform, Katz said.