Thousands of New York City bodegas and other small grocers could begin offering ultra-fast delivery under a new partnership with Uber Eats.
National Retail Solutions (NRS), a point-of-sale platform for independent convenience stores and small grocers, joined forces with Uber to provide 30- to 60-minute delivery via Uber Direct, the company announced late last week.
Consumers pay a flat fee of $2.99 per order. There is no fee for retailers when deliveries are placed on NRS’ BR Club ordering app.
The program will start with more than 700 small grocers in the tri-state area, with the potential to expand to the more than 20,000 locations served by NRS, the company told WGB.
Enabling delivery for small grocers will help them compete with larger industry players, while boosting food access in urban areas, NRS and Uber said in a statement.
“Since its inception, Uber has striven to make inroads providing accessibility and opportunity to underserved markets,” Jason McHale, Uber Direct managing partner, said in a statement. “Our partnership with NRS will give small, local bodegas and grocery stores an opportunity to expand their reach through delivery and make more money, which is something we all should be excited about.”
The ultra-fast grocery and c-store delivery segment, which exploded during the early days of the pandemic, has faced a shakeout in recent months.
Companies with names like Buyk, Getir, Jokr, Gorillas and Fridge No More popped up, often backed by significant investments, to offer ultra-fast delivery of a limited number of grocery and other convenience-type items.
Many of them, however, have gone out of business. But they’ve been replaced by existing delivery platforms getting into the retail delivery game.
DoorDash, for example, provides delivery from more than 75,000 non-restaurant retail stores across North America, with ultra-fast delivery offered through its DashMart convenience channel.
Grubhub added its Grubhub Goods convenience concept in February, offering on-demand delivery from more than 3,000 retailers.
Competition from ultra-fast delivery providers has hurt New York City’s bodegas, City Council Member Julie Menin, head of the New York City Small Business Committee, said in a statement.
“Bodegas and other small neighborhood stores are the backbone of every New York City community,” Menin said. “The influx of rapid grocery delivery companies over the last couple of years has put a strain on these retailers and threatened our small businesses. Uber’s partnership with NRS can provide relief by helping update critical technological systems and offering delivery that is free for the merchant.”
Small grocers said the program has helped them do something they’d struggle to do on their own.
“Not a lot of us have the time to create something like this and to do the marketing,” Nayeem Ghesani, who owns two New York City bodegas, told the New York Post. “And this is free.”