Smith reports that in 2020 three firms—DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub—controlled 93 percent of the restaurant food delivery market (DoorDash had a 45 percent market share, Uber Eats 30 percent, and Grubhub 18 percent).
A silver lining, however, is the emergence of local delivery services. Smith in her report profiles 20 of them—notably, 15 of the 20 firms she profiles were founded in 2020 or 2021. If you do the math, it is obvious that the market share of these upstart firms remains small. It is also highly likely that not every one of the new local firms will make it. After all, as the pandemic subsides and restaurants reopen to full capacity, the number of delivered meals is likely to fall. Nonetheless, many of these businesses may succeed, and if they do, they can help retain more wealth in local communities.
Writing in the Guardian, reporter Sophie Atkinson notes that the CoopCycle delivery service, which began in France in 2017, “now has 67 co-ops across seven countries in its ‘federation’ and has extended from Europe to Canada and Australia.” And, as Smith details, a similar movement has taken hold in many US cities.
As Smith points out, all these businesses are based in some measure on a similar idea: If you are not seeking to extract large profits for Wall Street investors, that gives the business more room to charge local restaurants less and pay workers more. That said, a single dominant business model has yet to emerge. Instead, Smith outlines multiple distinct business models that are in development.