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   Technology StocksPeer-to-Peer, Gig and On-Demand Economies


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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (825)2/19/2021 8:54:58 AM
From: TimF
   of 846
 
Governments want to put people, and business relationships in certain boxes. If it doesn't fit perfectly, they don't let people just contract as they want, they smash things in to the box they decide to put it in.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (825)2/19/2021 12:11:06 PM
From: rogermci®
   of 846
 
Glad to see the stock price shaking this off. Good sign if you're long.

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To: rogermci® who wrote (827)2/22/2021 6:59:21 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 846
 
Deliveries are going to remain a tough business for both the restaurants and the delivery services until they can figure out a way to pass most of the costs onto the consumer. You would think it would be an easy sell as people are generally willing to pay a bit more for convenience.

Restaurants and Startups Try to Outrun Uber Eats and DoorDash

Big delivery-app fees gnaw at many restaurants; entrepreneurs and eateries pitch workarounds

By Preetika Rana and Heather Haddon
Wall Street Journal
Feb. 21, 2021 5:30 am ET



Restaurants got customers in the pandemic through delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, but many eateries now seek lower-cost options; a Los Angeles driver picked up orders in July.PHOTO: PATRICK T. FALLON/BLOOMBERG NEWS
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Apps like DoorDash DASH 2.95% and Uber Eats have provided restaurants a flood of customers in the pandemic. Now a host of food-ordering tools, along with some restaurants, are finding ways around those apps and the commissions they charge.

DoorDash Inc., Uber Technologies Inc.’s UBER -1.03% Eats and Grubhub Inc. GRUB -0.77% can charge restaurants up to 30% of every order—a chunk many owners say dents profits even as more orders come in.

A new crop of services is promising online ordering at a lower cost to eateries, by letting the restaurants arrange more deliveries themselves.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., CMG 1.15% Shake Shack Inc. and a growing number of chains have acknowledged the cost of app-based delivery orders, and many say they intend to address it. Local governments from New York to Seattle have enforced rules capping delivery-app fees, in an effort to rein in restaurants’ costs while the health crisis keeps people home.



Andrew Wang, founder of the delivery service Spread.PHOTO: ANDREW WANG
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“The pain over app commissions is not new… the pandemic just exacerbated it,” said Andrew Wang, the founder of Spread, a website that charges restaurants $1 per order and markets itself as a cheaper and more restaurant-friendly alternative to the big apps.

Mr. Wang says restaurants give Spread lower prices for menu items. Restaurants say they typically mark up on popular apps to make up for the commissions that those services charge.

Delivery is an expensive logistical undertaking. DoorDash and Uber Eats have trimmed their losses as orders have surged, but have yet to post a yearly profit. Grubhub has incurred new losses, in part as commission caps weighed on its bottom line.

Some new players say they can steer enough orders to make it worthwhile for the restaurants to organize their own deliveries—as pizza shops and takeout businesses have long done—or to outsource deliveries to a partner. Lyft Inc. LYFT 3.26% has said it is exploring such partnerships with restaurants.

Whether these alternatives can grab market share, or turn profits, is an open question. Makers of the new crop of services say they save both restaurants and consumers money, because restaurants aren’t marking up menu prices to offset commissions and they can charge customers smaller delivery fees.

Sales on third-party food-delivery services are more than double what they were prior to the pandemic, with levels of demand staying high, according to an analysis of credit- and debit-card data from Earnest Research. DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub have registered the biggest growth, though smaller delivery companies such as Chowbus and Ritual Technologies Inc. logged year-over-year increases in December and January, the data shows.

Long John Silver’s LLC, the nearly 700-unit fast-food chain, plans to introduce a system later this year for customers to order directly on the company’s website, with delivery handled by a third-party delivery service.

“We didn’t want to continue to deal with these companies,” Stephanie Mattingly, the chain’s chief marketing officer, said of the big delivery apps. “They are the necessary evil for us right now.”

The bigger apps say they are taking steps to help. DoorDash recently started building websites for small restaurants that enable customers to order directly from eateries. Rather than taking a commission, DoorDash charges restaurants a flat fee to deliver orders placed via those sites. Consumers also typically pay apps for the cost of delivery. Uber Eats has started a similar feature. Grubhub said it is building apps for chains and will make similar services available free to independent restaurants in coming months.

All three apps say they have spent millions of dollars to support small restaurants through grants and free promotions. DoorDash said it waived commissions for eateries with five or fewer outlets in the early months of the health crisis. Grubhub said it suspended commissions for independent restaurants for the first few weeks of the pandemic. Uber Eats said it has halved commissions for restaurants doing their own deliveries through mid-this year.


Some restaurants pack Spread’s stickers in to-go orders.PHOTO: SPREAD
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Spread’s Mr. Wang, who helped Groupon Inc. GRPN 5.63% launch its delivery service, has tried to surf growing consumer sentiment against commissions, designing cartoons and stickers that show the downsides of the bigger apps’ practices. He’s encouraged restaurant partners to pack them into orders.

Half of the 150 restaurants on Spread make their own deliveries, Mr. Wang said. They set their own delivery fees for customers, he said, often pricing lower than the big apps to encourage more orders. The New York-based company works with a partner to complete the other orders.

Fare, a New York-based delivery service started by catering company CaterCow, offers diners a limited selection of eateries to order from—a play to drive volume. Fare’s restaurants deliver themselves, with owners and managers doubling up as delivery drivers. Deliveries are made at preset times during lunch or dinner, which helps restaurants keep costs down.

“It isn’t the best if you want your food in the next 20 minutes,” said Chief Executive Sean Li. The service is a better bet for people who like ordering their meals in advance, he added.



Chipotle is testing a car-side pickup service through its own app, an alternative to third-party delivery apps.PHOTO: CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL
---------------

Similar to Spread, restaurants on Fare often display lower prices for menu items than on other apps because Fare doesn’t charge them a commission. It does charge customers a service fee, similar to the big apps; Mr. Li said customers still pay less overall than they would on apps such as DoorDash and Grubhub.

Fare has partnered with about a hundred restaurants since launching in June last year, Mr. Li said.

Some restaurants are taking on more online business in an attempt to bypass the apps.

Portillo’s Hot Dogs LLC struck a delivery deal with DoorDash in 2017, but began steering some business toward its own app during the pandemic. The 63-unit chain put some idled workers on delivery duty and started handling larger to-go orders.



Portillo’s Hot Dogs reassigned some workers to food-delivery duty during the pandemic and began handling some orders on its own app.PHOTO: PORTILLO'S
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Drivers arrive on customers’ doorsteps in Portillo’s uniforms, and workers are tipped directly. “There is a benefit in controlling the entire experience,” said Nick Scarpino, the Chicago-area company’s senior vice president of marketing.

Large restaurant chains can negotiate better commissions with delivery apps but say they are feeling the pinch of order-handling fees.

Chipotle is among restaurants introducing new pickup services designed as an alternative to third-party deliveries. Customers can pull into a parking spot at the restaurant, tap an app and an employee brings the order to their car. CEO Brian Niccol said many customers prefer to pick up their food themselves.

“It’s faster and by the way, you can avoid the delivery fees,” Mr. Niccol said in an interview this month.


Food-Delivery Apps vs. Restaurants: The Dining Industry’s Covid Divide
----------------------------

Demand for food delivery has soared amid the pandemic, but restaurants are struggling to survive. In a fiercely competitive industry, delivery services are fighting to gain market share while facing increased pressure to lower commission fees and provide more protection to their workers. Video/Photo: Jaden Urbi/WSJ
Write to Preetika Rana at preetika.rana@wsj.com and Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com

Story Link

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To: TimF who wrote (826)2/22/2021 7:01:20 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 846
 
The pressure domestically is only going to increase under the Biden administration.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (828)2/22/2021 11:02:45 AM
From: Kirk ©
   of 846
 
Can you imagine if the post office, FedEx or UPS charged for delivery based on the value of what was shipped?

You hear stories of people ordering a cup of coffee, milkshake or a small burger and fries that is delivered with some "samples" taken from it. My guess is the drivers were paid as a percentage so the fee and tip didn't pay for their gas so they ate a few fries or sipped some of the milk shake. The restaurants would probably do much better charging a fixed delivery fee added to their regular prices (perhaps based on miles driven) where they let the drivers keep the whole fee. I'd order MORE to get over the delivery fee just as when I get Chinese takeout now I order enough for a couple of meals so I can justify the time to drive and higher cost vs cooking my own food.

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To: rogermci® who wrote (827)3/1/2021 10:27:34 AM
From: Rarebird
   of 846
 
Uber has bottomed and is headed to 90+.

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To: Rarebird who wrote (831)3/1/2021 10:40:51 AM
From: rogermci®
   of 846
 
I have no reason to doubt you. Your track record on calls is very good.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (829)3/2/2021 5:18:21 PM
From: rogermci®
1 Recommendation   of 846
 
LYFT just raised Q1 EBITDA forecast. The company attributes the improvement in its Adjusted EBITDA outlook to reduced operating expenses. Reduced operating expenses rule the day for ride share operators. UBER trading 56 AH.

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From: Glenn Petersen3/5/2021 7:40:10 AM
   of 846
 
Exclusive: Instacart mulls direct listing in snub to IPOs - sources

By Joshua Franklin, Anirban Sen, Krystal Hu
Reuters
March 5, 2021
5 MIN READ

(Reuters) - U.S. grocery delivery app Instacart is considering going public through a direct listing, concerned that it could leave money on the table through a traditional initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter.

The move would make Instacart the latest company to snub an IPO, for decades the primary path to a stock market debut, because it risks pricing its offering too low compared to where its shares end up trading. In a direct listing, companies go public without raising money through a stock sale.

Shares of newly listed U.S. companies that went public through an IPO ended trading up 36.2% on average on their first day last year, compared to 17.2% in 2019, according to data firm Dealogic.

Investment bankers say they often struggle to price in the impact of huge investor demand for popular consumer names, such as home-sharing start-up Airbnb Inc and food delivery app DoorDash Inc, given the limited initial stock float of these companies. Some venture capital investors, such as Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley, say bankers keep IPO prices low to favor their Wall Street clients.

Instacart has no short-term need for cash after raising $265 million in a private fundraising round earlier this week. The company’s business has benefited from more consumers shopping groceries online more to cook at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investment bankers working on Instacart’s listing have estimated that it could be valued by the stock market at more than $50 billion, two of the sources said. Instacart said earlier this week its latest fundraising round valued it at $39 billion.

The San Francisco-based company has yet to make a final decision on how it will go public, the sources cautioned, requesting anonymity as the discussions are confidential.

Instacart declined to comment.

IPOs have been on a tear since last summer as markets rallied following the Federal Reserve’s moves to support the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet their popularity has been eroding as more companies choose to go public through mergers with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) or direct listings.

There were 208 IPOs excluding SPACs last year, the most since 2015, according to Dealogic. By comparison, 249 SPACs went public through IPOs. Two prominent direct listings last year were those of technology firms Palantir Technologies Inc and Asana Inc.

IN SPOTIFY’S STEPS

Only a handful of companies have gone public through a direct listing since it was pioneered in 2018 by music streaming platform Spotify Technology SA.

U.S. gaming platform Roblox Corp abandoned plans for an IPO earlier this year because it did not want to leave money on the table. It is slated to debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) next week through a direct listing.

U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc has said it is looking to go public through a direct listing. Online broker Robinhood and robotic software startup UiPath Inc also considering choosing a direct listing over an IPO, according to people familiar with the matter.

Robinhood and UiPath declined to comment.

Once a company goes public through a direct listing, insiders can typically sell their shares immediately rather than be restricted for months, as is the case with IPOs.

A company can also sell its shares in the open market to raise capital following a direct listing without restrictions, typically after it has reported quarterly earnings. Some companies opting for direct listings also choose to raise money before they go public through private fundraising rounds.

The NYSE now offers companies the option to raise money in a direct listing after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved it in December.

Under the NYSE’s new model, new shares being sold in the newly listed company have to trade within a pre-set range for money to be raised, or the listing has to be postponed. No company has taken up this option so far, though dozens have contacted the NYSE to express interest in it and several are actively pursuing it, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The NYSE declined to comment.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston, Anirban Sen in Bangalore and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Grant McCool

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From: TimF3/8/2021 3:18:36 PM
1 Recommendation   of 846
 
How dare they not want to be rescued
Natalie Solent (Essex)

Two days ago the BBC reported that the Supreme Court had ruled that Uber drivers are workers rather than being self-employed.

With what glad hosannas did the drivers greet the news of their liberation!

Er, no. As Sam Dumitriu writes in CapX,
Putting questions of legality to one side, it’s clear Uber’s business model works for drivers. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. Countless surveys have found that the majority of Uber drivers are happy with the status quo and would not sacrifice flexibility for greater security.

A survey carried out by Oxford University academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Thor Berger, in partnership with Uber, found that drivers reported higher levels of life satisfaction compared to other London workers, despite on average earning less. And, counter to the conventional wisdom, drivers typically worked full-time in other jobs before choosing to shift to Uber. Furthermore, more than four-fifths of drivers agreed with the statement: ‘Being able to choose my own hours is more important than having holiday pay and a guaranteed minimum wage’. They found that drivers would accept a move to fixed hours – but only if it came with a 25% pay rise.
Perhaps they had looked across the Atlantic and seen the results of California’s attempt to save gig economy workers from working in the gig economy:
In Uber’s home state of California, 70% of drivers backed Proposition 22, a ballot measure that created a carve-out for ridesharing services from the state’s tough laws on freelance work. The measure passed with 59% of the vote in November.

AB 5, the freelancer law which Prop 22 was responding to highlights how interventions designed to solve a problem in one market can have unintended consequences in others.

When it passed, Vox published an article: “Gig workers’ win in California is a victory for workers everywhere”. A month later they published another article: “Freelance journalists are mad about a new California law. Here’s what’s missing from the debate. The alternative to AB5 would be worse”. Two months later, Vox Media itself cut hundreds of freelance writing jobs in California.
samizdata.net

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