• Walgreen announced that it is launching a new delivery program that will allow consumers to order more than 24,00 items directly from the company's website or mobile application, "for Same Day Delivery in under two hours." There will be no minimum order size, and in most markets there will be a $7.99 fee.
Item picking will be done in-store by Walgreen employees, though delivery will be handled by "a third-party logistics carrier (that) will pick it up for contactless delivery to the customer. The entire end-to-end process is in under two hours … Logistics partners vary by market but a few examples are DoorDash, Uber, Medline and Act Fast."
• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
"Uber Technologies Inc.’s first-quarter bookings rose despite weak demand for its ride-sharing service, as sustained growth in its food-delivery business offset the slump in its core operations.
"Uber’s bookings grew 24% year-over-year to $19.5 billion in the three months ended March, of which $12.5 billion came from its food-delivery arm. Uber Eats’ bookings more than doubled from a year earlier, while Uber’s ride business declined 38% over the same period. Bookings are used to gauge consumer demand as they represent the total value of trips or food booked using Uber’s platform. Uber earns revenue by taking a cut from these bookings."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Labor is nullifying an existing rule "that sought to make it more difficult for a gig worker, such as an Uber or DoorDash driver, to be counted as an employee under federal law. Having status as an employee, rather than a contractor, means those workers are covered by federal minimum-wage and overtime laws."
The move "maintains the decadeslong status quo, which has largely allowed app-based services to not count drivers and other providers as employees. But Wednesday’s action removes an extra layer of assurance gig-economy companies had sought as a way, they said, to modernize labor laws."
• The BBC reports that "meal kit delivery firm HelloFresh has seen a big jump in customer numbers as it continues to benefit from the trend of ordering food online seen during the pandemic.
"It said it had 7.3 million active users globally in the first three months of 2021, up 74.2% from a year earlier."
In fact, consumer enthusiasm has reached the point where HelloFresh "has faced criticism over order delays and cancellations as it has struggled to meet demand."