Delivery services – from lockdown boom to here to stay?

Although many restaurants are open again, the boom in delivery services like Gorillas, Flink and the rest shows no sign of abating. Why are these services so successful, and what’s the difference between the providers? Read on for the answers and much more.

Delivery services – app-based purchasing
Image: © Kawee / AdobeStock

We compare four different providers to see which strategies are lucrative

Consumer behavior has changed drastically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of life has moved online – and that applies to buying food as well. Amid this development, there appear to be no limits to the buzz surrounding delivery services, either for founders or for investors. Even though the catering and hospitality industry has opened its doors again, food delivery services are still springing up everywhere and creating stiff competition for established providers like Lieferando, Delivery Hero, and the rest.

The business principle is very simple. Customers make their purchases online, usually via an app. Once orders are received, delivery service employees pick the items and deliver them for an additional charge.

The process might be straightforward for customers, but it’s a challenging environment for delivery services. The market is highly competitive, and if newcomers want to survive and thrive, they need two things in particular: range, and unique selling points that attract customers. Let’s compare some of the offerings:

Getir – Pioneer of fast delivery services

Getir is an Istanbul-based start-up that was founded in 2015, breaking new ground with the concept of a ten-minute delivery service. From its home base in Turkey, the service has now expanded to other countries as well. The company has ambitious plans for the German market: it intends to be operating in ten cities within the next two years, and to be successful there in the face of competition. Only time will tell whether they achieve their goals, but one thing is certain: since it was founded in 2015, Getir has built up significant experience, and the company is also in a strong financial position. According to WirtschaftsWoche magazine, Getir was valued at €2.2 billion in July 2021.

  • Delivery charge: free delivery
  • Minimum order value: €10
  • Delivery area: Turkey, London, Amsterdam, Berlin

Gorillas – Delivery within ten minutes

Since Gorillas was founded in Berlin in 2020, the start-up has conquered the market at breakneck speed. Their advertising promises groceries at your door in minutes, and making a Gorillas purchase on your smartphone should take less than ten minutes. Investors appear to be impressed: according to the Business Insider website, the start-up had raised around €860 million by October alone.

  • Delivery charge: €1.80
  • Minimum order value: no minimum
  • Delivery area: Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, UK

Flink – Express delivery service with a wide range

Flink followed in Gorillas’ footsteps in late 2020 and also focuses on ultra-fast food deliveries at supermarket prices. However, the start-up scores points within Germany with a larger delivery area, currently delivering to 43 German cities. Business Insider valued the company at US$2.1 billion in September 2021.

  • Delivery charge: €1.80
  • Minimum order value: €1
  • Delivery area: Germany

Alpakas – Sustainability, not speed

Newcomer Alpakas has been operating in Berlin since 2021. Unlike its competitors, this start-up focuses on zero waste – all of the products come in returnable glass containers or reusable mesh bags. It also has a strong local focus, so customers can conserve resources while they do their shopping. The start-up was founded with six-figure financing, so it has a solid foundation as it bids to conquer the market.

  • Delivery charge: €3.90 / free delivery for orders over €25
  • Minimum order value: €1
  • Delivery area: Berlin


Want to learn more about Alpakas?

We talked to Simon Chorzelski, one of the three founders of Alpakas. Listen to the interview to find out what the start-up stands for and what the Alpakas team’s goals are.

Is it a passing trend?

The world of food delivery services is definitely highly competitive, so skillful marketing and rapid growth are crucial. Watch this space to see which strategies are especially profitable and how the delivery services market will continue to evolve.