retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times over the weekend had a story about a new food delivery app called Combrr, which is designed to allow beachgoers on Rockaway beach in Queens "to buy items from concession stands from their towels, avoiding lines that lately stretch clear across the boardwalk ... Combrr, which is expected to appear soon in the Apple App Store, will initially deliver food from two vendors: CitySticks and Breezy’s BBQ. At first, just two people will deliver orders, biking up and down the boardwalk and traipsing across the sand. By next summer, its creators envision hiring more than a dozen runners to deliver from all three Rockaway Beach boardwalk concessions, and from nearby restaurants."

The story goes on: "Combrr works a lot like Uber: Customers drop a pin at their location. Vendors can accept or decline an order, and customers can track its progress from the app. There’s a $5 delivery fee, and the entire transaction, including the tip, is done digitally, bypassing the city’s requirement for a permit to sell items on the beach.

"But in addition to geolocation technology, Combrr relies on customers’ selfies and instructions. A sample note: 'We’re wearing pink bikinis sitting under a polka-dot umbrella on 99th'."

I can remember as a kid seeing guys walking up and down the beach out on Long Island with coolers of ice cream, but this clearly takes that time-honored pastime to a new level.

Here's the quote that grabbed me from the Times story. Matthew Blance-Stephany, one of the partners who developed the app, says that "everyone has been talking about" doing something like this. But, "We’re the ones doing it.”

And that's how technology creates jobs. And businesses. And an MNB Eye-Opener.
KC's View: