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7-Eleven teams up with Skip the Dishes for delivery

Slurpee® and more now delivered from 7-ElevenJust in time for summer Slurpee cravings, 7-Eleven Canada is expanding its at-home delivery options by partnering with Skip the Dishes.

The move comes just weeks after Foodora pulled out of Canada, leaving retailers and restaurants with fewer third-party deliver options.

 

The food delivery app closed its Canadian operations on May 11, just months after a key labour board decision laid the groundwork for the company’s workers to push for unionization. Foodora has operated in 10 Canadian cities over the last five years and boasted 3,000 clients on the platform.

The move left many c-store operators, from independents to Couche-Tard and 7-Eleven, in a quandary at a time when demand for delivery is through the roof.

As consumers embrace at-home delivery, c-stores are upping their game.

In Canada, 7-Eleven customers will be able to order a variety of hot foods, from pizza to wedges and wings, as well as cool treats. The company also partners with UberEats for its #HereInTheNeighbourhood delivery program.

In the U.S., 7-Eleven recently announced that in addition to its proprietary 7NOW delivery app, it was partnering with national delivery platforms Postmates, DoorDash and Favor to delivery from 7-Eleven stores available to as many customers as possible. The company says the partnerships enables it to expand on-demand ordering in more than 90% of participating U.S.


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New apps emerge amid COVID-19 to tackle gripes with popular delivery services

Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 1.00.59 PMWhen the weekend rolls around, Torontonians won’t have to miss the White Lily Diner’s thick-cut bacon, organic corn grits and toast smeared in rhubarb hibiscus jam just because the country has plunged into a pandemic.

The east-end diner is selling its brunch staples and offering to drop them at customers’ doors, but the process won’t involve any of the familiar delivery apps whose couriers have become a fixture on busy streets in recent years.

Instead of relying on Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes or DoorDash, White Lily is using a new entrant to the market: Tock To Go.

“The biggest draw off the bat was probably just the fact that they’re so much less expensive,” said White Lily co-owner Ashley Lloyd, who laid off her entire staff when she closed the restaurant to dine-in meals amid COVID-19.

“Restaurant margins are slim…I can understand people turning to (their delivery competitors), but honestly I don’t know how they do it.”

Tock To Go is part of a new wave of food delivery companies hitting the Canadian market, hoping to attract vendors with features like lower commissions and fill the hole Foodora will leave behind when it shutters its Canadian operations in mid-May.

The services – Ottawa’s Love Local Delivery, Vancouver’s From To, Toronto’s volunteer-run iRover and new delivery features on Montreal’s Eva – have been created to help out in a tough moment, when restaurants are barely scraping by – even as demand for food delivery surges.

These services want to do things differently from the household names, so they have eliminated commission fees or offered rates well below the 10- to 30-per cent charged by Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes, DoorDash and others.

Tock To Go, a Chicago-based service from restaurateur Nick Kokonas that evolved from his Tock reservation system, only takes a 3% commission from restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto.

Tock first appeared in the cities in 2018, but didn’t launch Tock to Go until the pandemic started. Tock to Go doesn’t have couriers to deliver meals. Instead, it asks customers to pre-order food, helping restaurants arrange their own delivery.

“Ordering apps take up to 20 to 30 (per cent), which simply is not sustainable for restaurants,” Tock’s director of marketing Kyle Welter said in an email.

“Tock allows each restaurant to specify the number of orders for any set time range, so the kitchen doesn’t get overwhelmed and they can responsibly manage the flow of customers.”

Over in B.C., Brandon Grossutti from Gastown restaurant Pidgin will launch From To, a delivery service with a handful of Vancouver eateries, in May.

In the weeks before restaurants in Canada closed to stop the spread of COVID-19, Grossutti realized Pidgin would need a takeout option, so he signed up with Uber Eats and Burnaby-based Fantuan Delivery.

“Then the reality of it hit. We did fairly well gross wise, but you see the checks coming in and…the first week was a lot of money out the door in commissions,” said Grossutti, who had to lay off workers

“It’s a weirdly parasitic relationship where you have a parasite basically eating its hosts until it dies and it’s not a sustainable relationship.”

Grossutti decided to put his software industry background to work. He made From To, which gives restaurants the ability to decide if they want to pay for, split with or pass on customers’ delivery costs.

From To currently takes no commission.

“We had talked at certain points about taking like 5%, which would be much less than what’s out there, but we realized that during this time we need to make this sustainable because people are already losing money,” Grossutti said.

The lower commissions don’t seem to have bothered rivals.

“We welcome new competitors to the market, as it raises awareness of the industry and promotes even more traffic to restaurants to stimulate growth,” Winnipeg-bred SkipTheDishes said in an email to The Canadian Press.

“It is natural for competitors to see value in this market and we’re confident in Skip’s position as Canada’s homegrown food delivery company.”

SkipTheDishes is offering a 10.5% commission deal to restaurants wanting to do their own deliveries but still use the platform and is expediting payments to all businesses using its services.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Uber Eats is eliminating its fees on pickup orders and reducing its usual 30% charges to 15% for restaurants who choose to use their own delivery people.

DoorDash, also headquartered in San Francisco, is waiving April commission fees for new, independent clients. Existing independent clients can have those fees waived on pickup orders, and 100,000 clients were added to DashPass – its subscription program which offers $0 delivery for consumers – for free.

Harriet Clunie, the executive chef at European-style bistro Das Lokal, said that is not enough because the moves put the onus on restaurateurs to offset costs or hire their own delivery staff to take advantage of benefits.

She banded together with other members of the Ottawa restaurant community to found Love Local Delivery, a service that launched in March and will courier food within 5 kilometres of restaurants for a flat $5 fee, or more for longer distances.

There are no commission fees right now and the service focuses solely on independently-owned restaurants.

While it might have to charge commission when it launches an app in the near future, Clunie said the service is committed to keeping that potential fee low.

“It’s all people that are in the same boat and we’re trying to help everybody that’s struggling, restaurants or small businesses or drivers that are unemployed and just trying to make some money to feed the family,” she said.

“It’s an approach that’s really trying to lift everybody up.”

 

 


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7-Eleven partners with delivery platforms to expand reach across the U.S.

7_eleven_log_cmyk_1404953661_5482In addition to its proprietary 7NOW delivery app, 7‑Eleven, in the has joined with national delivery platforms Postmates and DoorDash, in addition to Google, to make delivery available to as many customers in the United States as possible. Texas customers also can use Favor Delivery.

As stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders are extended, many people are unable to run to the store for basic necessities or even a treat.

“7‑Eleven wants to better serve those needs by expanding on-demand delivery providers, giving customers convenient access to hundreds of products. With this expansion, 7‑Eleven and delivery companies offer on-demand ordering in more than 90% of participating U.S. 7‑Eleven stores. For added peace of mind, customers can request contactless delivery for their orders, and they will be left at the door.

“How convenience is defined is completely different today than it was just a month ago,” 7-Elevent COO Chris Tanco said in a release. “Our customers are now looking for more convenient shopping solutions at home. Every day, 7‑Eleven is working hard to come up with new ways to ensure that people can still get the products they need and want in the most convenient way for them.”

“7‑Eleven customers crave convenience and that’s what we’re here for, especially now when more customers are looking to get what they need without leaving their house,” said Raghu Mahadevan, 7‑Eleven VP of digital and head of delivery. “Expanding the marketplace beyond our stores has been a strategic goal, and these extraordinary times have accelerated our efforts to get the products our customers want and need to them as safely as possible.”

In Canada, 7-Eleven offers delivery via as part of its #HomeInTheNeighbourhood program. It uses third-party delivery services, including Uber Eats and Foodora (although Foodora announced that it is pulling out of Canada this month).


Fire & Flower Deliver - (c) 2020 Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (CNW Group/Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.)

Fire & Flower powers up for home delivery in the GTA

Fire & Flower Deliver - (c) 2020 Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (CNW Group/Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.)

Fire & Flower Holdings is now offering home delivery in the greater Toronto area.

Fire & Flower, an independent adult-use cannabis retailer that owns (directly or indirectly) cannabis retail store licences in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and the Yukon.

Through its strategic investment with Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian company has set its sights on the global expansion as new cannabis markets emerge.

In addition to the curbside pickup and home delivery offered in Ottawa and Kingston, the technology powering home delivery in Toronto is enabled through the Hifyre Digital Retail and Analytics Platform. Customers can order via www.fireandflower.com for free next day home delivery on orders over $50.00.

“Fire & Flower welcomes this opportunity to demonstrate how private cannabis retail can showcase fully-compliant best-in-class services such as e-commerce, home delivery and curbside pickup to our customers. It is essential that private retail is able to compete on a level playing field with government-run e-commerce and home delivery cannabis services,” CEO Trevor Fencott said in a release. “Through the Hifyre Digital Retail and Analytics platform, we are well positioned should other methods of servicing customers open across Canadian provinces.”

Under the current shutdown of non-essential businesses, cannabis retail stores are permitted to operate through online, curbside pickup and home delivery services for the duration of the emergency order on business closures in relation to COVID-19.


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Foodora to pull out of Canada, leaving c-stores with fewer delivery options

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.55.09 PMFood delivery app Foodora is closing its Canadian operations in May, just months after a key labour board decision laid the groundwork for the company’s workers to push for unionization.

The move leaves many c-store operators, from independents to Couche-Tard and 7-Eleven, in a quandary at a time when demand for delivery is through the roof.

The subsidiary of Berlin-based Delivery Hero SE said Monday that it has not been able to reach a level of profitability in Canada that’s sustainable enough to continue operations, so it filed a notice of intention and will exit the country on May 11.

“We’re faced with strong competition in the Canadian market, and operate a business that requires a high volume of transactions to turn a profit,” said David Albert, Foodora Canada’s managing director, in a release.

“We’ve been unable to get to a position which would allow us to continue to operate without having to continually absorb losses.”

Foodora has operated in 10 Canadian cities over the last five years and has racked up 3,000 restaurants on the platform, even in a “highly-saturated market” with stiff competition from Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes and DoorDash.

The announcement was a blow for couriers who have been busy dealing with surges in orders amid COVID-19 and grappling with new policies around no-contract delivery.

“It’s devastating,” said Jennifer Scott, who has worked as a Foodora bike courier for two-and-a-half years in Toronto.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and this job is how we make a living wage. It’s how we survive, and it’s just gone, which is very scary for many of us.”

She expects she will be able to make up her Foodora losses with work from Uber Eats and DoorDash, which she already does deliveries for, but isn’t sure others will be so lucky.

Before the closure, couriers were already fretting because they don’t qualify for some of the federal government’s recently-announced relief measures, she said.

“I’ve been a courier a long time and I’ve been able to figure out how to make it work for me no matter what’s going on…but I’m not so certain about many of my co-workers who are only working for Foodora, Scott said.

“I don’t know what they will do.”

The shutdown news was extra tough for couriers like Scott because they had been part of Foodsters United, which had long been fighting for rights and protections for Foodora couriers and other gig economy workers.

They alleged that the company was using the independent contractor model to avoid giving workers health and safety supports.

Foodsters wanted fair compensation for the work completed by couriers because it said the pay-per-order model meant that during slow periods workers receive wages lower than minimum wage, while still covering costs like gas, phones and vehicle or bike repairs.

Foodora long boasted about its app offering flexibility so people just trying to earn some extra cash or between jobs could easily make money, but Foodora workers said that flexibility bred instability and left them with little protection.

Foodsters garnered attention in February following an Ontario Labour Relations Board ruling that decided Foodora couriers are dependent contractors of the food-delivery company because they more closely resemble employees than independent contractors.

The ruling was considered a massive hurdle to clear that could have helped the couriers unionize and give growing numbers of gig economy workers the inspiration to follow suit.

Jan Simpson, the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, called the two-weeks’ notice that has been provided to Foodora workers “grossly unfair and unreasonable” and said the union was reviewing its legal options.

“Foodora and Delivery Hero must be held accountable to the workers,” said Simpson, in an email to The Canadian Press. “Couriers have made millions for this company and deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are considering numbers over human lives.”

Despite the closure news, Foodsters’ efforts still have merit, said Scott.

“There’s no way that this could be fruitless,” she said. “The win that we celebrated at the labour board is precedent setting and has the ability to pave the way for other workers in other gig economy type jobs to begin the unionization process.”

Meanwhile, Foodora said it is working on devising a proposal to provide additional help to employees and other creditors.

Albert said, “I thank them for the continued support over the last five years. Supporting them during this transition phase is our main priority.”

In Canada, Foodora partnered with Couche-Tard on a pilot project to deliver select products to customers in Montreal. 7-Eleven also offers delivery through the Foodora app, as well as Uber Eats.

  • with files from Michelle Warren 

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Truckers told to ‘hold it’ as rest stops close restrooms

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Canada’s truckers already have a challenging job and are an important front line in the current public health battle. Now, according to information from Teamsters Canada, freight carriers are being denied access to washrooms and showers at rest stops.

This concern was taken up by Ontario MPP, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, who tweeted Sunday photos of signs reading, ‘No Driver Washrooms at this Location’ and ‘No drivers beyond this point’ and ‘No washroom access.’

We have thousands of truck drivers, delivering medical supplies or groceries, things that people in the province need. And, we have some businesses out there that are hanging signs up saying essentially drop off your load, but you cant use the restroom,” said McNaughton.

Ken Johnston, Purolator’s head of human resources, told media that for truckers much has changed over the last few weeks. Where once gas stations were among the “last reliable places” for a rest stop, operations are now closing the door on driver breaks.

“Our couriers deliver critical supplies to hospitals, long-term care facilities and of course millions of Canadians who are now self-isolating or social distancing in their homes who need supplies. So, in many ways we’re as much of a front-line worker in this effort as anyone,” he said.

 Toronto Mayor John Tory joined the discussion. “Some businesses who previously accommodated employees for mid-route bathroom breaks are either closed or they are open but no longer allowing those operators in,” he said at a Monday news conference. “Those operators – those bus drivers and streetcar operators and others – are serving us at a time when we need them to serve us, and we need to help them as they carry out their duties for us.”

For weeks, truckers across Canada and the U.S. have complained about a lack of access to rest areas.  Many sites, such as c-store and gas stations, have limited access to truck drivers because of fears of contracting the virus. In response, the Ontario government has ordered all truck stops to remain open and deliver basic services to drivers who need bathroom breaks.


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City of Toronto allows for 24-hour delivery to restock store shelves

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With an eye on ensuring retailers, such as c-stores, have the products their customers want and need, all retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries.

Effective immediately and until further notice, the move is part of the City of Toronto’s response to COVID-19 and is meant to support of businesses and the community: The City’s Noise Bylaw includes the ability to provide an exemption in response to extraordinary circumstances affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community.

“We are taking this action to help Toronto businesses get deliveries and continue to stock their shelves with essential goods for our residents,” said Mayor John Tory.  “By exempting retail businesses from the City’s noise bylaw right now, we will ensure that retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week.”

City staff – in consultation with Mayor John Tory’s office – moved quickly to make this immediate change after it was raised by the Retail Council of Canada as a way to allow additional deliveries for retailers the wake of panic-buying and stockpiling.

“To assist in getting goods to market in a more expeditious manner, we applaud the City of Toronto for temporarily lifting time-of-day restrictions on roadways and deliveries for our retailers,” said Diane J. Brisebois, president & CEO of the Retail Council of Canada. “As all levels of government work to protect the health of every citizen, we pledge to continue to play a strong supporting role in ensuring access to goods, when and where they are needed.”

The message from governments and retailers is there is no need for people to panic-buy and stockpile, as any bulk purchasing beyond a two-week supply jeopardizes the ability of vulnerable people to access essential food and health supplies.


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Food delivery services brace for COVID 19 with non contact options and sanitizer

Unknown-1When users of the Chanmao Inc. food delivery service log into the company’s app next week, they’ll notice a new option: non-contact drop-offs.

The feature – triggered by user demand and a desire to combat the recent outbreak of a novel form of coronavirus – will allow customers to request orders be left at front desks, with building security or on a doorstep.

“For the past couple of weeks, a lot of our customers have been writing in the notes saying, could you leave the order at the front of the door or could you leave it at the security or can I meet you outside instead?” said Ivy Chen, the co-founder of Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Chanmao, which services the Greater Toronto Area, Waterloo, Hamilton, Halifax, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

The no-contact service is part of a slew of precautions food delivery companies operating in Canada have undertaken amid the outbreak, which has infected at least 60 Canadians and more than one hundred thousand more globally.

With increasing numbers of Canadians working from home or self-quarantining after travelling to coronavirus hotspots abroad, delivery apps are bracing themselves for high volumes of orders, while facing pressure to up their safety protocols given that their couriers are handling food and coming into contact with customers.

Chanmao decided to make health and safety materials available to all of its couriers in the wake of the new coronavirus known as COVID-19, Chen said.

“We made sure all of our delivery drivers have hand sanitizers with them in the car, so that when they’re getting the food from the restaurant or after they finished a delivery, they are keeping good hygiene,” Chen said.

Latex gloves are hand for couriers to pick up from the company too.

At Uber Technologies Inc.’s Eats service, when couriers logged into their app to begin accepting orders in recent weeks, they were met with a message reminding them to wash their hands frequently, disinfect their vehicles often and if they feel sick, to stay home.

The company is also encouraging employees to make use of its Law Enforcement Response Team, which runs a 24/7 portal that helps with safety and public health concerns encountered while using the platform.

Uber has yet to detect any coronavirus cases spread through its users or couriers, but put restrictions on employee travel to China, northern Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Meanwhile, competitor Foodora Inc. has set up a committee to streamline instructions and implement processes ensuring the health and safety of its couriers and customers.

“Our teams have already issued a series of informed measures, including work-travel restrictions to affected regions and a work-from-home policy for those who’ve travelled recently to areas with outbreaks,” spokesperson Sadie Weinstein wrote in an emailed statement to The Canadian Press.

“We’ll continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 and implement further measures, if deemed necessary.”

Food service numbers were down in China in January, when the virus hit the country hard, but its delivery data was up, said Vince Sgabellone, a food industry analyst at the NPD Group.

It’s hard to tell if that spike was caused by COVID-19 because delivery services in the country were seeing immense demand and growth before the virus.

Whether the same trends will be replicated Canada is also unknown, Sgabellone said.

“It is still very early going to suggest that anyone has or will make changes in the way they will frequent any retail outlets or food service,” he said.

“I have not heard anything. My customers are telling me it is business as usual and they are being careful and diligent as always.”


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Is your c-store ready for delivery?

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Amazon redefined the delivery game by changing consumers’ expectations for the convenience, speed and method by which they could receive products.

“We expect everything from cupcakes to kayaks delivered as fast and conveniently as pizza,” said Marc Gorlin, founder and CEO of Roadie, the “on-the way delivery service” that aims to connect people and businesses that have items to be delivered with drivers already heading in the right direction. “So now, we have a big urgency problem and suddenly, companies across every corner of retail are desperate to find ways to speed up their supply chain and bring the store closer to the customer.”

Some convenience store operators have already dove into delivery, while others are now trying to gauge the opportunity by testing delivery in select markets and with select items, such as prepared food, packaged beverages, snacks and even beer. These tests are often made possible by using third-party delivery services like Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash or other local delivery partners. In some cases, smartphone apps are being created specifically for delivery.

Industry experts maintain that c-stores with a delivery service will attract new customers and increase the spending and loyalty of existing customers.

“Supporting new channels like delivery will increase the loyalty of your current customer base and also open up opportunities with new customers,” said Sue Welch, CEO of Bamboo Rose, a supply chain and delivery process platform.

In this digital era, consumers expect to be able to source products more conveniently and quickly than ever before, Welch explained. “If a retailer isn’t meeting those expectations, they will quickly find a new retailer who can,” she said. “Given this highly consumer-driven retail environment, it’s imperative that retailers make the proper technology investments to support delivery capabilities without sinking margins.”

But how do you know if you’re ready to start a delivery program?

While there is no exact science, there are some key questions to ask and answer:

1. Have you studied successful delivery programs and how they operate?

This is always a good idea before venturing out in any endeavor, said Lewis Goldstein, founder of Blue Wind Marketing, a full-service marketing and advertising agency. An enterprising delivery retailer should have good business knowledge of delivery king Amazon, as well as traditional players in the convenience channel that have experience in delivery, such as 7-Eleven Inc. and Wawa Inc. Their knowledge should also extend to non-traditional convenience retailers such as digital player goPuff.

2. Are you already personalizing your customer shopping experience?

Do you have a solid loyalty program or other methods of personalizing the customer experience? A stellar delivery program will personalize the experience to each customer based on their shopping history and items they’ve expressed interest in, according to Goldstein. “Retailers that prioritize personalization will win more delivery customers over the long term,” he said.

3. Can you transfer your customer experience to delivery?

Instead of focusing on keeping up with Amazon’s expedited shipping, retailers should focus on building better customer experiences, said Will Walker, enterprise manager at Roadie. From a delivery standpoint, this means creating a logistics infrastructure that can reliably deliver orders when buyers want them delivered. This is accomplished by leveraging multiple delivery models and creating a reliable set of options that include urgent, same-day, next-day delivery and more.

4. Do you understand a community-driven supply chain approach?

“This means being able to support seamless digital collaboration with a range of retail community partners to ensure they’re efficiently driving the highest quality products to market,” explained Welch. “Without these capabilities and processes, convenience retailers risk losing money with delivery initiatives and disappointing consumers through subpar customer experiences.”

5. Are you prepared to continually raise the bar on delivery?

Retailers who want to do well in delivery don’t settle on their laurels; they find ways to offer a better service and experience than their competitors, said Goldstein. The best delivery programs are already doing this, and it is becoming expected by consumers.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.


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Circle K expands deliver in the U.S.

Circle K’s boosted its on-demand delivery pact with Favor to reach nearly 600 convenience stores in Texas.

This announcement comes on the heels of Circle K’s initial delivery service rollout with Favor in July 2019, which included more than 160 Circle K locations across the Greater Houston area.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Favor in all remaining Circle K Texas markets across the state and to see our Circle K stores add this service beyond the soft rollout in the Houston area,” Paul Rodriguez, vice president of Circle K Texas, said in a release. “An important goal for Circle K is to continue to find ways for our customers to have an easier and more convenient shopping experience. Home delivery is one more option we can now add to Circle K customers’ shopping choices.”

“We are thrilled to continue expanding Favor’s partnerships across the state to offer Texans the most convenient service on the widest selection possible, whether it is dinner from a local restaurant or now, their favorite beer, snacks and more from Circle K,” said Keith Duncan, chief revenue officer of Favor.

Customers can get beer and other items from Circle K delivered by searching for “Circle K 21+” in the Favor App or online at favordelivery.com.

Circle K is a wholly owned-subsidiary of Canada-based Alimentation Couche-Tard. Couche-Tard’s network comprises 9,792 convenience stores throughout North America. The company operates a network of close to 2,200 stores in Canada, from the Maritimes to Western Canada.