I’m Lovin’ The Gig Economy

Well, it seems the gig economy is going in unexpected directions! UberEATS will be distributing McDonald’s ‘fast-food swag’ along with food and drink orders this July 26th.

Called ‘The McDelivery Collection’, if you order from McDonald’s, through UberEATS, in one of ten countries, you’ll also be receiving a McDonald’s item for free. There’s a whole range of things on offer, but what is delivered is totally random.

McDonald's McDelivery Clothing Collection, Sweatsuit and Onesie
‘The McDelivery Collection’, brought to you by UberEATS and McDonald’s. Images: McDelivery at McDonald’s.

 

With the gig economy going through substantial change (internally and externally), this wasn’t the most obvious development to expect. Whilst this is one a one-off event, there’s potential for items beyond food (like clothes and electronics) to become more regularly available for quick delivery through companies like UberEATS and Deliveroo. Whilst this is nothing new for others such as Jinn, the two largest players in the food gig economy (UberEATS and Deliveroo) are yet to make waves.

The emphasis on speed in delivery of any goods coupled with the quick pace of any gig economy platform does make for a pretty harmonious match. Whilst companies like Amazon Prime do offer same-day delivery for a whole range of items, you often have to wait at least two hours. In contrast, my average time from assignment to delivery is 20 minutes. Whilst riders are unlikely to have the capacity to deliver a full supermarket shop like a van would, items up to the size of a couple of shoe boxes would fit fine in a delivery backpack. There might be size limitations, but in terms of speed, nothing would be quicker than a UberEATS, Deliveroo or Jinn rider.

UberEATS and Deliveroo have the infrastructure largely ready to go, with the only major addition being connections with suppliers and shops. This does pose a particular challenge though, in terms of matching riders to suppliers. At the moment, each rider is given a specific area to work in, mine is ‘West Central’ i.e. around the Holborn, St Pancras and Barbican area of London. If someone living in Kensington wanted an item delivered that came from a shop near Holborn, would I collect it and then deliver it out of my zone, would it be someone from the Kensington area or would ‘rapid rider delivery’ only be available for shops in immediate proximity? Regardless of who collects and delivers, expanding the food gig economy to encompass other items would go someway to reducing the noticeable over-supply of labour.

With the gig economy associated with ‘disruption’, it seems a radical but possibly lucrative opportunity. Jinn and others have begun, but will UberEATS and Deliveroo follow? Whilst we’ll have to wait and see, today we can celebrate #McDelivery!

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