Construction of the first electronic computer, the ENIAC ( short for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), took place from 1943-1946 and cost about $487,000. The computer weighed over 30 tons and took up 1800 square feet of space. Fast forward 72 years to 2018 - now we have powerful computing devices that are less expensive, fit into the palm of your hand, and can make your life a little more comfortable with the touch of a button. And now apps like Shipt and Waitr can facilitate the home delivery of groceries and restaurant food right here in central Texas!
Shipt is a membership-based grocery marketplace - for $99 a year, the consumer gets free delivery on all orders over $35.
“So far the feedback across Central Texas has been overwhelmingly positive. Texans love the convenience Shipt brings to their busy lives, and Shipt is excited to continue expanding and adding new retailers throughout Texas and beyond," explained Julie Coop, Shipt spokesperson. "To become a Shipt shopper, applicants apply online and go through a video interview and background check. Shipt values customer experience and only hires the very best applicants to become shoppers – only around 8-10 percent of applicants become shoppers.”
This app is making lives easier across Central Texas, and one of my friends credits Shipt as her Super Mom secret! “As a mother of four, I am always looking for ways to simplify my life and ways to be more efficient with my time. Using this service saves me quite a bit of time, and I am very thankful for the extra help,” stated Lauren Sargent McAninch. “I spend less money on groceries when using the Shipt service because I am not buying extra food that is not on my list.”
I took advantage of a "two weeks free" flash sale and joined Shipt for $49. I was happy to see the HEB sales reflected on the Shipt app, and I placed my first order on Saturday morning. My Shipt shopper, Jimi Holden, sent me a text to let me know that he was starting my shopping and asked if I needed anything else. I was able to make an on the spot correction to my list, and he texted again to let me know when he was on his way to my house. The prices on the Shipt app are slightly elevated, but even Shipt needs to make money and pay their employees.
“I’ve been working for Shipt since November, and the supplemental income is great. I’m able to set my hours and work mostly on the weekend. Time management is an on-going challenge as I have to anticipate traffic flow at the store and on the roads so I can meet my timeframes,” said Holden. “People tip in cash or on the app and everyone I meet is very grateful for the service we provide.”
Waitr got their feet wet in Central Texas when they first launched in Waco, in October 2017. Expansion to the Temple-Belton-Killeen area occurred organically due to the success of the service in Waco. “For the customer, it’s pretty easy. The Waitr app lets you order from your favorite area restaurant then sends a Waitr driver to deliver it to you for a flat fee of $5. Just download the free app and create an account. "Ordering is also available via the Web at waitrapp.com,” explained Dean Turcol, Head of Public Relations for Waitr. “We have received acclaim for distinguishing ourselves with our distinct technology. The company has been widely lauded for our growth cornerstones, including live monitoring of deliveries yielding faster door-to-door service, the unique ability to provide full-color photography of every menu item from all participating restaurants and our go-to-market strategy.”
To understand Waitr from a restaurant angle, I reached out to Sammy Fox, Executive Chef at Birdcreek Burger. “Our business started using Waitr in January, and we’ve already seen great results. One morning we came in, and before we had even turned on our stoves, we had a $145 order waiting to be filled. It’s incredible - Waitr doesn’t limit what the customer can get - as long as the delivery fee is paid, they can order as much or as little as they want! Waitr delivers our food to so many different locations - sometimes we see as many as ten different Waitr delivery drivers in one day!” stated Fox.
Samantha Davis, the owner of Royal Love Beauty Spa, appreciated the ability to order food through the app while she was at work and her kids were at home. “I couldn’t get away from work for lunch one day, so I had Schlotzsky’s delivered to my children, at home. It was super easy and convenient, and I tipped right on the app,” said Davis.
Other Central Texans expressed that they are grateful for the opportunity to have food delivered to the hospital, or work when it is difficult to get away.
“I work from home, so Waitr has been great for me whenever I’m on a roll and know that stopping to go grab lunch will throw a kink in my work day,” remarked Jordan Valentin. This evening I ordered my favorite tacos from Fuzzy’s through the Waitr app. I was able to track the progress of my order through the app, and Waitr delivery driver Morgan Roach was on my doorstep with my food before I knew it.
“Delivering for Waitr fits well around my school schedule - I’m studying equine management at CTC, and I work for Waitr three days a week, for a total of 15 hours. Drivers make $5 an hour plus tips, and we get paid every Friday,” explained Roach. “There is a lot of flexibility as a driver, and this is a great job for me right now!”
Apps like Shipt and Waitr provide employment opportunities to people in our community. I love the concept of local people, delivering local products, to local customers - sounds like a win-win-win to me! I think that Sammy Fox hit the nail on the head when he said: “These apps make a constant connection between people and the things they want. It’s a culture change - one that benefits all of us!”
My final thought regarding both of these apps is that convenience has a price, but many Central Texans, including myself, are willing to pay it!