Grocery app Gorillas drops 10-minute delivery pledge, adds store pick-up option

An app that wooed New Yorkers by promising groceries and other essentials in just 10 minutes is now taking more than an hour to make some deliveries, The Post has learned.

The Gorillas app — which launched last May with splashy ads boasting “groceries in 10 minutes” and has raised a whopping $1.3 billion in venture capital — quietly pulled any mention of specific delivery times from its website in December.

And as of Friday morning, Gorillas displayed an estimated delivery time of 61 minutes in Williamsburg. Meanwhile, deliveries in the Upper East Side were expected to take 29 minutes, those in the Financial District 28 minutes and SoHo 25 minutes.

The evaporation of Gorillas’ 10-minute promise comes as the app takes heat from politicians, including New York City Councilman Christopher Marte, who’s working on a bill that would ban apps from advertising quick delivery times, arguing they encourage delivery workers to break traffic laws and endanger themselves and pedestrians.

It also comes as these rapid delivery companies – which include GoPuff, Getir, Fridge No More and Buyk – bleed money.

“They cannot continue to offer 10 and 15 minute delivery because they won’t ever be profitable in that model,” Brittain Ladd, a retail consultant who’s an adviser to rapid delivery companies, told The Post.

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The current Gorillas site (left) advertises deliveries “within minutes” but does not provide a specific number like a previous version from December (right).

“By slowing down, they can offer more products to customers, reduce their costs and become a primary grocery source,” Ladd added.

Gorillas is also in the process of changing its outside advertising and marketing materials to reflect the shift, a source with knowledge of the company told The Post.

“They realized that they have to shut down all of the negative talk,” the source said.

In addition to concern about speed-demon delivery riders, the negative talk also includes criticism of delivery apps’ so-called “dark stores,” which are located in converted retail space, serve as warehouse-like delivery hubs and oftentimes don’t allow customers to enter.

“They cannot continue to offer 10 and 15 minute delivery because they won’t ever be profitable in that model,” consultant Brittain Ladd said.
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In European cities such as Amsterdam, Lyon and Rotterdam, officials have either banned or suspended companies from opening new “dark stores,” while legislators in New York City including City Council member Gale Brewer have argued that the apps could be flouting zoning laws by operating warehouses in locations zoned for retail.

In an apparent effort to address these concerns, Gorillas has begun revamping its 18 locations in New York to allow customers to pick up their orders at the store, as well as removing dark coverings on the windows of the stores, the source said.

“They are removing the dark film on their windows and they are putting in a little lounge where customers can pick up their orders and avoid the delivery fee,” the source said, adding that the areas should open within a week.

Brewer shot back that she was “not impressed” by Gorillas’ forthcoming changes.

“They’re doing this just to conform [to zoning rules] but it’s not really their model,” Brewer said. “If you ask the workers, they call it a warehouse.”

Gorillas’ head of US operations Adam Wacenske confirmed to The Post that the company is introducing “new in-store pickup experience” at a store in the Lower East Side on Saturday, but argued that its sites “have been open to the public for in-store ordering since our launch” — even though they have not featured open signs or posted hours and have opaque windows and doors.

Wacenske also blamed Friday’s slow delivery times on the weather. But even as delivery times in Williamsburg stretched over an hour, the Gorillas app promised deliveries in just six minutes in Long Island City and 10 minutes in Crown Heights.

“We opted to update our promise to offer delivery in minutes rather than in a specific amount of time shortly after launch last year because we have never favored fast delivery at the risk of our riders,” Wacenske said.

Buyk higher-ups have told employees not to worry about a bill that would bar companies from advertising exceedingly speedy delivery times.
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Meanwhile, workers at another rapid delivery app, Buyk, questioned higher-ups about Marte’s delivery times bill during a meeting this week, a company source told The Post. The bosses at Buyk, which advertises deliveries in 15 minutes, told employees that they shouldn’t worry about Marte’s bill because it’s far from being passed into law, the source said.

Buyk has also told employees that many of its leases are short-term and that the company is considering shutting down some New York City stores unless they increase their order volume, a company source said.

Gorillas and Buyk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Artmotion U.S.A

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