Virtual Dining Co Fires Back at MrBeast Lawsuit
Amazon Fresh launches non-Prime delivery, Instacart targets businesses, Yum Brands Q2
Wow, MrBeast and Virtual Dining Concepts have captured the world’s attention, as the two giants of the food delivery move from duking it out in the court of public opinion to fighting in the court of… well, actual real legal court. Now VDC has released a public response, and we’ve got a copy for you. Meanwhile Amazon and Instacart are making moves, and Yum Brands is showing us what the world is hungry for.
VDC’s Firey Response to MrBeast Burger Lawsuit
Amazon Launches Fresh Delivery for Non-Prime Members
Chart Time | Yum Brand’s Finger-Lickin’ Q2
Instacart Goes Big on Business, Less so Worker Pay
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GHOST KITCHENS | VDC Fires Back at MrBeast Lawsuit
Celebrity YouTuber MrBeast caught the delivery world’s attention on Monday when he filed a lawsuit against his corporate partner, Virtual Dining Concepts, alleging the food quality was damaging his larger brand reputation and that he wanted out of the partnership. Now VDC has returned fire, in a legal response shared with Modern Delivery. It pulls no punches, with the headline stating it’s a “misguided bullying complaint” and “he will face the consequences in court.” The company notes it has served 10 million happy customers across hundreds of restaurants and that “The complaint is riddled with false statements and inaccuracies and is a thinly-veiled attempt to distract from Mr. Donaldson’s and Beast Investments’ breaches of the agreements between the parties, including Mr. Donaldson’s recent false, disparaging statements regarding the MrBeast Burger brand and VDC.”
The Big Picture: MrBeast and VDC rocketed to the top of the virtual dining world when their collaboration launched in the early days of the pandemic, selling one million burgers in 3 months, and hitting 1,700 participating restaurants by 2022. But lately MrBeast (real name Jimmy Donaldson) has soured on the brand, directing his 170 million subscribers to instead patronize his Feastables packaged snacks. As VDC has built its brand off celebrity partnerships (see Mariah Carey’s cookies, The Real Housewives’ grain and salad bowls…) the outcome of this case looks quite consequential. A full copy of VDC’s response is below.
GROCERY | Amazon Brings Fresh Delivery to Non-Prime Members
Amazon is tinkering with the ingredients of its grocery business yet again, as it looks to restore growth to a segment it hasn’t quite cracked. It’s latest idea? Offering delivery to the million of Americans who aren’t (gasp) members of Amazon Prime. The service won’t be free; it’s $7.95 for orders over $100, $10.95 for orders $50-$100, and $13.95 for those under $50. AZ is starting with a pilot of sorts, bringing it to 12 regions: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco.
The Big Picture: While Amazon has shown it can conquer the larger world of low margins, groceries have thus far shown to be its foil; just last week it announced another round of layoffs in the U.S., which came a few days after cuts in England. And the company has slowed its pace of store openings, to the point that some landlords have filed suit for its failure to open as promised. It’s worth noting that these 12 initial markets are ones that don’t have any of Amazon’s physical Fresh grocery stores, those remain confined to LA/OC, Chicagoland, The Puget Sound, and a smattering between NYC and DC. In those markets, the retailer will test letting non-Prime members do in-store pickup sans fee.
CHART TIME | Yum’s Quarterly Trifurcation
Yum Brands released its Q2 results, and as always this serves as an interesting moment to compare the world’s culinary preferences; are folks hankering for fried chicken, pizza, or abstract art masquerading as commentary on Mexican food? The winner looks to be the Colonel, as KFC not only saw its unit count grow 7% (largely in China,) but same store sales were up 13%, for an overall 19% improvement to system sales (excluding any foreign exchange fluctuations.) Digital sales were also a huge growth driver for the chicken slinger, with a nearly 30% quarterly improvement; the overall digital mix exceeds 45%.
3PD | Instacart Says Hello Business, Goodbye Workers
Instacart is making a push into serving business customers, as its adding new sweeteners to its recently launched Instacart Business program. New accounts will get a 2% credit back on orders over $250. The company is also waiving fees (normally $9.99/mo) for its Instacart+ membership for a year, meaning businesses get free same-day delivery on orders above $35. Business members will have access to over 1.5 million SKUs, from brands that include Staples, Costco, Restaurant Depot, and more.
The Big Picture: As the economic picture improves, a number of big brands are making plays for lucrative and sticky business customers, hoping they can be their preferred option as SMBs restock those dusty supply closets. Amazon and Walmart both recently announced business-oriented product improvements of their own. Instacart’s update comes at the same time the company is receiving some flack for having cut its drivers’ base pay. While the company is framing it as better matching pay to order complexity (so heavy, complicated orders will pay better,) workers aren’t thrilled about the update.
A Few Good Links
Private sector exceeds expectations, adds 324k jobs in July, including strong performance in bars and restaurants. Bed Bay & Beyond back (but b-online b-only.) HelloFresh launches customizable pet food offering. Walmart unveils “Restored Premium” line of pre-owned / like-new products. Domino’s UK grows 19.6% in H1. Net income rises at auto/truck component giant BorgWarner.
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