Could these canoes be Domino’s new delivery fleet?

Raising money
Food delivery start-up Postmates raised $141 million in a financing round led by Founders Fund, a San Francisco VC firm already an investor. Shares were sold at the same price as last year’s round, Bloomberg Technology stated. The additional cash gives the company a valuation of about $600 million, the online story said. Postmates, which currently operates in 44 markets, plans to expand internationally in 2017.

New members join the club
The mega-tech companies are all tossing their hats into the food on demand ring. Here’s the latest:

  • Groupon To Go has expanded into its third market, St. Louis. The discount deals company is in 40 markets, and in the three markets where the To Go app has been launched, 40 restaurants are on tap for delivery;
  • Facebook is adding a food ordering button to its app, so that Facebookers never have to log out to get a decent meal;
  • Google Maps (IOS version 4.24.0) has added the capability for its users to place local delivery orders via a selection of service providers, including Seamless and Grubhub, according to Eater.
  • Airbnb, the hot hotel replacement, is getting closer to hooking up overnight guests to neighborhood restaurants. In August, it launched Guidebooks, where Airbnb hosts list recommendations on local restaurants and cultural events. Bloomberg reported that the company is developing an app for guests to make restaurant reservations. These guests are also prime candidates for food delivery services as well. This is a lucrative group of customers, since they have higher than average check averages.

Domino’s parts the water for pizza delivery
Residents who live along the 5-mile long River Loose in Maidstone, Kent (England) are getting their Domino’s pizzas delivered via canoe by delivery “buoys” sporting wetsuits under their uniforms. Pizzas are secured in floating boxes, attached to a life buoy, so no one needs worry about a soggy pizza. The unorthodox delivery service is currently on a trial basis by the restaurant in the scenic river town, according to an online article on the Today blog.

International users
Americans aren’t the only ones who crave the convenience of food on demand. The Chinese food delivery app market, which has tripled in the past three years, is projected to reach 165 billion yuan, the equivalent of $24.5 million, in 2016, according to an article in the Nikkei Asian Review. The No. 1 app in China is currently

In India, train passengers can order fast food from a variety of restaurants, including local operators of U.S. brands, such as KFC and Domino’s, using their smart phones in order to avoid eating from the train’s dining cars, according to CTV News. Online ordering is part of the railway’s e-catering service, where riders preorder food online or from their phones for delivery at major stations. About 1.2 billion people travel by train yearly; and there are about 5,0000 long-distance trains. Last year, CTV says, the government promised to spend $137 billion over five years to modernize the train system, including free wi-fi in a partnership with Google.

Some delicious dishing on the train’s food included: reports of cockroaches found in meals, samosas stored in a basket next to mops and “dirty, smelly and waterlogged pantry cars.”

A Canadian food bank is jumping on the delivery bandwagon. Mississauga’s Seva Food Bank launched a pilot program in July, which is expected to be fully operational by December, according to its press release. The program is still small, but aims to deliver food to people with a host of mobility issues.

Celebrity chefs deliver
NYC’s Michael White of Ristorante Morini is part of a new project with Uber-Eats, Pasta On Demand, according to There are four pastas on the menu, all under $19 and three salads, UberEats then tacks on a flat delivery fee of $2.99. The limited menu is run out of Morini’s kitchen, which has its own entrance. UberEats takes care of insurance for drivers.

Labor issue
New York City’s bike couriers who work as independent contractors for UberEats, Instacart and Postmastes have launched a quasi-union in hopes of receiving higher wages and being supplied safety gear, in addition to workers’ comp, according to Grub Street. The group’s first move was to affiliate with the National Taxi Workers Alliance, an AFL-CIO member group.