Doordash said it is opening a delivery-only grocery store in New York City on Monday, becoming the latest and largest company to go toe-to-toe with a slew of startups that are now offering 15-minute food delivery here.
The new store, called Dashmart, is debuting in the trendy Chelsea neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side. It is one of about 25 such locations Doordash has opened in major cities over the past couple of years.
It is the first, however, to promise that the goods will arrive at customers’ doorsteps within 10 to 15 minutes compared with the 30 minutes or so it takes the other Dashmart locations, the San Francisco-based company said.
“The Chelsea market is the first one that’s ultra fast,” Fuad Hannon, vice president of business of verticals, told The Post. “We are leaning more into grocery distribution in New York, including meat, produce and ingredients for a dinner in a pinch.”
Dashmart is playing catch-up in the Big Apple, where at least a half-dozen ultra-fast grocery delivery services have launched this year with quirky names like Buyk, Gopuff and Gorillas.
They are operating so-called ghost stores, where a team of packers are ready to spring into action as soon as an order is placed, with a courier speeding off on a bike within a few minutes to drop off a handful of items.
The Chelsea Dashmart will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and will be wholly operated and owned by Doordash, which first launched eight years ago.
Delivery giants have recently expanded beyond restaurant meal delivery, including prescriptions, alcohol and grocery delivery, even as regulators have cracked down on them for charging high fees.
Doordash and its competitors, including Uber Eats and Grubhub and Postmates, also have come under fire from legislators for their business model of employing an army of delivery workers as contract employees. The Dashmarts, however, offer full-time employment and benefits to a “significant” number of their employees, Doordash said.
At the Chelsea location, which has 60 employees, the couriers work on average about 25 hours a week and are paid $15 an hour plus tips and are considered W-2 employees. They have uniforms and are supervised by managers, Max Rettig, head of public policy said. Some are also offered full-time employment and benefits.
Doordash customers who pay an annual fee for deliverypass are entitled to free deliveries from Dashmarts. The delivery cost for others will range from $1 to $2. Most of the orders at Dashmarts outside of New York range from five to 10 items, which is the amount that Doordash expects in New York.
The plan is to expand throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn within the next several months, the executives said. Eventually the locations could offer pickup as well.
But grocers and particularly bodega owners are eyeing this incursion on their turf warily.
“We’ve been here forever and they come from nowhere and grab a market that is our market,” Francisco Marte, founder of the Bodega and Small Business Association, which represents 2,000 bodegas in New York City, including some that offer online shopping told The New York Times last month.
Doordash has been preparing for backlash. Over the past several months it has added some 400 bodegas to its app platform, Rettig said.
“We are helping bodegas get online with an ecommerce channel,” he added. “And we want to make ultra fast delivery available to bodegas.”