SkipTheDishes, the Canadian subsidiary of JustEatTakeaway.com, Europe’s largest meal delivery provider, launched Skip Express Lane, a grocery delivery service. According to a press release, the service has three fulfillment centers operational in Ontario and plans to open a total of 38 by mid-year 2022.
Like rapid grocery delivery companies, SkipTheDishes will fill grocery orders out of dark stores—grocery stores not open to the public and optimized for picking efficiency. According to the release, the fulfillment centers will carry 1,500 items at “grocery store prices.” The centers, which the company refers to as Skip Express Lane stores, will also carry “hometown favorites” and items from partnered restaurants.
That’s in contrast to the grocery delivery operations of other JET subsidiaries, such as Lieferando in Germany and Just Eat in the United Kingdom. Press releases indicate that both subsidiaries have partnered with supermarkets to do grocery delivery, such as the Just Eat-Asda partnership in the UK.
SkipTheDishes’ move into grocery delivery comes after successful trials in Winnipeg and London, Ontario, which began in August 2021. The service, according to a press release, has been sticky. In Winnipeg, 70 percent of customers who placed an order went on to place another.
Skip Express Lane promises delivery in 25 minutes, in line with typical restaurant delivery times, but slower than the 15 to 20 minutes the rapid grocery delivery companies are offering. One such company, Tiggy, began operations in Vancouver, British Columbia, earlier this year.
Jitse Groen, founder and CEO of JET, has been dismissive of grocery delivery in the past, suggesting that the market is small and the margins nonexistent. Something changed, as JET now runs grocery delivery in three markets.
At a Morgan Stanley conference in mid-November, Groen declared “[JET is] going very big in grocery.” Groen has also been vocal about the need to find “strategic partners” for Grubhub, saying “anything that strengthens the business, we’ll look into it,” at the same conference.
JET acquired Grubhub in mid-2021 and has since faced calls from an activist investor to divest the business. It would be on-trend to hear Grubhub is exploring grocery delivery sometime in the near future.