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article imageBravo's Top Chef partners with Postmates for robot food delivery

By Karen Graham     Dec 10, 2017 in Technology
The Bravo TV network partnered with on-demand food delivery company Postmates to promote the season 15 premiere of the Emmy Award-winning reality cooking show "Top Chef."
While city dwellers in San Francisco have had it up to their ears with delivery robots clogging the sidewalks, city officials ended up passing strict regulations this week to reduce the number of delivery robots to three per company.
And while the city by the bay was limiting the little delivery robots, Postmates, a delivery service for restaurants and other businesses, expanded its offerings announcing a partnership with Bravo's Top Chef reality program. And in Los Angeles, Postmates rolled out its fleet of robotic rovers, branded with 'Bravo's Top Chef x Postmates' logo, for select deliveries across the city.
Even though Top Chef is set in Colorado, many of the show's alumni are from Los Angeles, so this was an opportunity to allow fans an opportunity to taste dishes cooked up by past contestants in the L.A. area, including restaurants like the Border Grill, Da Kikokiko, Lukshon, Sack Sandwiches, and Wolf.
Postmates - The company
Postmates was launched in San Francisco in 2011 and has spread to 250 cities across the U.S. Customers order food and other goods through a website or app. Besides its base core of 550 employees, the company also relies on a courier workforce of more than 100,000 independent contractors.
In order to stay ahead of other startups like Grubhub and DoorDash, Postmates launched some new services, like alcohol delivery in six states, like New York and California. Looking to the future, Postmates is working on delivery robots that will replace human couriers.
German-born CEO, Bastian Lehmann, age 39, told Reuters he expects the company to become profitable in 2018. He says the company may go public next year.
"There are so many things that are still not optimized," Lehmann admitted in March. "I could give you a laundry list of items—from payment processing, customer service costs, credits, and refunds because of things that go wrong, courier payouts that you can reduce while you increase performance, every minute counts. If you just look at these buckets and the improvements, you do not have to touch anything on the marketing side."
Robot sighting on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles.
Robot sighting on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles.
Competition is tough
Restaurant food delivery accounts for 80 percent of Postmates deliveries, however, grocery deliveries are becoming a big thing, and the competition has grown by leaps-and-bounds. With Uber, Amazon, DoorDash and Walmart and others vying for a share of the market.
"We internally like to say that food is for us as books were for Amazon—the one category that we really wanted to work and master before we move on to other categories," Lehmann says.
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