You may have heard of AirBnB and Uber but have you heard of Postmates? It’s the on-demand equivalent of a courier company – and franchises like McDonald’s are lining up to take advantage of their services.

What’s Postmates?

Postmates’ mission is to become the on-demand delivery infrastructure for every major city in the world. Meaning they provide a mobile platform that connects customers with local couriers who purchase and deliver goods from any restaurant or retail outlet in a city.

For the customer, this means they can have their dinner delivered without getting up off the couch. For their favourite restaurant, it means that they can serve their customers remotely. And for anybody with a bike or car who wants to make some extra cash, it means they can become a courier contractor, working when and where they wish.

Everybody wins.

Everybody, that is, except the courier companies and franchises who may have provided that service in the past.

The same issue has hit the taxi industry with the rise of Uber and Lyft and the ability of almost anyone with a decent car to effectively compete with the taxi companies. And the hotel and motel industry with AirBnB which enables anyone with a spare room to provide short-term accommodation.

I’m using AirBnB when I take my family to Bali later this year as an alternative to hotel accommodation.

We’ll stay with local people, giving us the opportunity to experience genuine Balinese hospitality and culture. We’ll know if they’re nice and the place is clean from previous AirBnB guest reviews. And we’ll save more than 50% on the cost of a standard hotel.

We’ve done this before, ten years ago, except then we had to rely on touts waiting at the airport and bus stations to take us to their homestays. Now we can compare a range of options in the areas we want to travel in and book them before we leave home.

As a way of providing a lower-cost and more convenient delivery service to hopefully boost their reach and sales, restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, Chipotle and Starbucks are trialling Postmates’ delivery service. And a host of copycats has sprung up – GrubHub, DoorDash, Deliv and even Uber’s own delivery extension, Uber Eats, are now waiting in US cities to pick up your order.

The announcement of McDonald’s trial with Postmates is part of a bigger strategy for fast-food restaurants, restaurants and supermarkets. In the United States, Burger King has been offering delivery since 2012 and other F&B chains such as Starbucks and Taco Bell have been offering prepay options and mobile app payments to shorten waiting times. 

Driving this on-demand or so-called sharing revolution has been the increasing use of smartphones and mobile apps. Smartphone penetration in New Zealand and Australia is estimated at 70%, around the same as the US and UK, so it is inevitable that similar services will arrive here. In fact, they already have, albeit in a small Antibodian way.

Is it time you looked at ways of harnessing the power of mobile technology to help drive your business or franchise?

If so, we can help you identify how and what mobile technology is ideal for your business. Contact us for a free initial consultation.


Article by Robin La Pere, No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants

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Robin La Pere of No Ordinary Consultants has been working with disruptive new business models since Apple burst into the market with its unique personal computers. He was at the forefront of major new movements in the retail, financial, construction and franchise industries and works with established businesses as well as start-ups on creating and renewing business models and improving franchise performance.