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Lyft Mulls a Move Into Food Delivery

Also: A Bay Area coffee company launches a roast to honor Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, and more news to know today

Los Angeles Exteriors And Landmarks - 2020
SF-based ride hail company Lyft is considering a move into food delivery, with the goal of undercutting Uber’s hefty commission fees
Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your midday roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news from publications near and far. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • On an earnings call this week, John Zimmer, the co-founder of SF-based ride hail company Lyft, said that the company is looking into launching a food delivery service, Restaurant Dive reports. On the call, Zimmer said that the company has been talking to restaurants about their complaints with delivery apps, including high commission rates that the struggling small businesses must pay to the well-funded tech companies. “What’s happening to restaurants in the time like this, when they sell food on a platform, like Uber Eats, they get charged 20% to 30%, they lose 20% to 30% of their revenue to that platform,” Zimmer says, so Lyft might attempt to hit Uber where it hurts by starting up a competing delivery app without those fees.
  • Meanwhile, SF-based food delivery company DoorDash has officially filed for an IPO, which means we all get an unprecedented look into their financials. According to paperwork filed with the SEC and reported on by CNBC, the company has lost $149 million so far this year — a huge improvement over the same time period in 2019, during which it lost $533 million. Modern Retail editor Cale Guthrie Weissman also notes that in its filing, DoorDash refers to media coverage of the company as a business risk, and that it’s deeply worried by a California law that will keep it from listing restaurants without their permission.
  • Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent Jordan Weissmann praises SF’s indoor dining shutdown, but says that more needs to be done, In a piece headlined “Shut Down and Bail Out the Bars. Shut Down and Bail Out the Bars,” he writes, “As a nation, we have collectively decided to keep the bars open, even if it means keeping classrooms closed.” But “rather than let America’s diners and dives struggle to stay in business, and turn themselves in COVID hot spots in the process, Congress should help them go into hibernation.”
  • Fabrice Moschetti, the founder of Moschetti Coffee in Vallejo, released a “Kamala Blend” coffee this week, the East Bay Times reports. He also created an “Obama Blend” in 2008, a roast that’s so popular that it’s still on sale today.
  • Just in time for indoor dining to shut down, rain has arrived in San Francisco, KRON 4 reports. Restaurant workers who spoke with the broadcast station say they understand that folks won’t want to dine outside as the skies open, so they hope takeout orders will be plentiful.
  • Fremont baker Mona Marwaha recently appeared on Food Network show Candy Land, a dessert competition hosted by Broadway (and beyond) star Kristin Chenoweth. [SF Examiner]
  • Oakland food entrepreneurs have a lot of tips and warnings for folks hoping to launch a pandemic pop-up business. [Oaklandside]

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