You’d think it would be easier.
Living as I do in Manhattan, there are more options for food delivery than you really need, and the range and volume jumps seemingly every day. It’s become amazing lately; Postmates lets you have pretty much anything delivered pretty much anywhere—albeit expensively, and often in a less-than-ideal condition by the time your order arrives. “Food Delivery Near Me” is not what Postmates is about.
Some time has passed since we told you about Spoonrocket, a we-make-only-a-few-dishes-and-deliver-them-in-a-very-small-area service that launched in 2013 and still hasn’t expanded. We understand why Spoonrocket hasn’t grown; “quality food” and “food delivery near me” are a tough combination.
Recently, a Spoonrocket-like service has popped up in lower Manhattan. Like Spoonrocket, Maple is set up in such a way as to ensure that you receive your food quickly, and in better-than-typical condition. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that, also like Spoonrocket, Maple is available in only a very small area. And with that two years having passed since I first suggested that Spoonrocket couldn’t scale and therefore wouldn’t work, it’s difficult to see what’s different.
The problem isn’t necessarily food quality, as the big-name, big-city chefs behind Maple suggest. It isn’t necessarily distribution, per se, either; people order frozen food and live lobster for delivery in far-flung places, so if Maple, Spoonrocket, and other services of their ilk are willing to produce and/or distribute their wares a few hours ahead of their anticipated use, there’s still hope for their success. Let’s even assume this isn’t a make-the-right-amount-and-distribute-it-to-reduce-waste problem; Big Data Analysis will go a long way to address that issue.
The problem with solving the Food Delivery Near Me equation is the “near me” part, or in telecommunications what’s referred to as “the last mile”. At some point, there’s an alchemy to delivering food that must include getting it from plating station to table almost immediately. And unless you’re looking for Chinese food or pizza, fifteen minutes is already too slow.
I wish the Spoonrockets and Maples of the world could succeed, and living where I do I have a personal stake in that wish. But unless you’re willing to sacrifice the quality that services like this profess to be interested in, Food Delivery Near Me can’t really work.
Now I’m going to order myself a pizza.