What Makes Gopuff Different From DoorDash And Instacart?

Food delivery apps are no longer the disruptor that they once were. Since they first started popping up almost a decade ago they've become a standard option for getting take-out, groceries, or a late-night snack. Thanks to the effects of the pandemic, they're now an even bigger part of most people's lives and routines. Services like DoorDash, Instacart, UberEats, Grubhub, and Gopuff all offer to bring snacks, drinks, and other items right to your door, but what sets any of them apart?

According to the New York Times, out of all of these services, Gopuff set out to handle things differently from the start. While most other apps operate as middlemen between the customer and a wide variety of food retailers — which has at times led to friction between the apps and these food retailers and even the cities they operate in — Gopuff delivers directly from their own well-stocked warehouses. They still operate as a middle man in some ways, but by having their own inventory at hand they were able to promise faster delivery times. This of course comes at the cost of having a more limited selection of items (via ViralTalky!).

How did Gopuff start?

CNBC reports that Gopuff was started by co-founders Yakir Gola and Rafael Ilishayev in 2013 while the two were studying together at Drexel University in Philadelphia. They saw a potential market all around them thanks to the late-night needs of fellow college students (via New York Times). They embraced their demographic as a way to set themselves apart from other recently opened services like DoorDash and InstaCart. They offered a fast, late-night delivery service for snacks, drinks, and smoking paraphernalia until 4:20 a.m. Gopuff now operates in more than 1,000 cities and was valued at more than $15 billion in 2021.

Gola told the New York Times that he and Ilishayev set up their business to operate differently from the very beginning, "We built a sustainable business that thrives and that is set up to win long term." He says their centralized distribution structure is a huge part of that. Having their own warehouses and inventory allows them to pay warehouse workers full-time wages by profiting from selling goods instead of just charging delivery fees like their competitors. Gopuff charges $2.95 per delivery plus an additional $2.95 if alcohol, tobacco, or vaping products are included in the order per Gopuff