The San-Francisco based delivery app Postmates has made its way to Long Beach screens. Photo by Stephanie Perez.
Many of us have probably used the popular food delivery app Postmates, which brings our favorite local cuisine to your doorstep. But most residents probably haven’t stopped to evaluate how the app has impacted the way merchants conduct business in Long Beach. Has it spurred change in business practices? If so, how?
The company originated in 2011 in the San Francisco area, but didn't migrate to Long Beach as a force for change until August of last year.
“Where we [Postmates] see a need, we want to be there,” said Long Beach Postmate Community Manager Josiah Lippke. “Given that CSULB [Cal State Long Beach] is a big school, we needed to be in Long Beach.”
Large chain businesses such as Chipotle, Wing Stop and Panda Express have taken advantage of the additional customer outreach, with Postmates delivering their food, and small businesses have also benefited by making their products more accessible to locals around the city.
“It has definitely helped us with sales,” said Michael Cuellar, General Manager of George’s Greek Cafe in Belmont Shore. “We are able to reach out to a wider radius than we would with our normal delivery because we have such a small staff and can’t go 20-30 minutes away to deliver food.”
Cuellar said he’s seen over 1,000 Postmates orders in the past few months, with a majority of those people outside their normal delivery range. Due to a higher volume of calls from Postmates couriers, the restaurant needed to hire more staff to answer phones.
The Belmont Shore location, which partnered with Postmates for several months on a trial basis, had about a 30 percent increase in sales and almost double of the amount of Postmates orders than George’s downtown Long Beach location, according to Cuellar. If a business is on the partner side, customers receive a discounted delivery, said Lippke.
“We are looking at the possibility of using Postmates exclusively for our food delivery,” Cuellar said.
Other local participating restaurants in Long Beach include: Revive Juice Bar, MVP’s Grill & Patio, The Attic, Dog Haus Biergarten, Open Sesame, Hamburger Mary’s and Lola’s Mexican Cuisine.
In December, Postmates carried out about 200 deliveries per day, and now they are reaching close to 1,000 deliveries per day, Lippke told the Post in August.
“It [the number of deliveries] kept increasing as we brought in partnerships with different merchants and [built] trust with different owners,” Lippke said.
Because Lippke wants business in Long Beach to continue growing, he said he aims to hire quality personnel with a strong love for the city. Since couriers regularly interact with customers like Mayor Robert Garcia, Lippke said a primary area of focus is keeping a “horrible” courier from distributing deliveries to residents—effectively eliminating such a scenario as a possibility.
Lippke said the city's own mayor has used the app on a daily basis since the company's Long Beach arrival.
Garcia replied to a comment on Facebook a few months ago, stating that his orders were reasonable and “the app is so good and easy to use.”
Although many people choose to order off the cell phone app, Postmates has also made it convenient for non-smartphone users to enjoy the luxury.
“I don’t have a cell phone, but I go to Postmates.com to place the order, and it is delivered in about 30 minutes,” said Justin Rudd, a Long Beach local and prominent community leader.
Yet, food is not the only thing that can be delivered at your door. Postmates is also capable of delivering anything from groceries and household items to midnight snacks and pet food.
“Not everyone knows that as a company we are a courier service,” said Lippke. “You can get anything delivered; we aren’t just doing food.”
That includes some boutiques in Long Beach using the company as their delivery service, providing customers with the option of a Postmates delivery of clothing purchases to their residence.
“We are not only supporting the big franchises, but also supporting the people at the bottom,” he said. “These people have great products, but we just need to get people hooked on it.”
Depending on the day of the week, the company updates their app and website by listing the different merchants available in the city. For example, every Wednesday, the local farmer’s market at Marine Stadium is posted online so that customers unable to attend have access to products sold by the market.
“You don’t need to interrupt what you are doing—whether [it] be a conference call or watching a really good movie,” he said. “All you do is place an order and everything else happens on the back end.”
Earlier this October, the company recently launched Postmates Plus Unlimited, which is a free delivery membership on orders over $25 for about $10 a month. If the $25 minimum isn’t met, customers will be charged ar $3.99 delivery fee.
New customers can use the promo code “LBPost” for up to $10 in delivery credit.