Like it or not, third-parties can change an industry from the outside. TrueCar, Cargurus, Edmunds, and Cars.com changed the car business. Expedia, Priceline, Trivago, Orbits, and Travelocity changed the hospitality industry. And similarly, Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub, and UberEats will change the restaurant business during COVID-19.
When restaurants were closed during the shutdown, I began ordering food through delivery apps. The price of a meal tripled. But, grew accustomed to the convenience of not having to wait in line, fight traffic, and only eat what was nearby. Now I order from an app, and usually, I click reorder on a previous order to make decision making more straightforward.
The trouble with this change is that if a restaurant chooses not to use a delivery platform, they’ll miss out. That gives the delivery platform power over the restaurant owners. I suppose this is no different than when the credit cards gained control over merchants.
A third party becomes a troll on a bridge of commerce. One must go through this third party to reach customers and be charged a fee for the privilege.
I believe this is something to ponder while we will not influence this trend. The trend will occur regardless if we consider this or not. Industries are about to be disrupted by apps, by third parties, dictating a fee to be a part of the market.
As consumers, we will pay more in exchange for convenience. We will be conditioned to order particular meals because that’s what the algorithms present to us.
I’ve noticed that Postmates asks for tips after delivery, sometimes days late. Thus they hide the total cost of the meal. Fees are buried in, appear as a tax to be ignored and accepted unconditionally.