retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Farmstead, the pure-play, fresh food-centric e-grocery startup based in the San Francisco Bay Area, said yesterday that the pandemic has created enough demand "that it has signed a lease for a new, greatly expanded microhub space in Burlingame. The space is 6x bigger than Farmstead’s previous microhub on Harrison Street in San Francisco. The company will be transitioning operations to this new facility in July, and will soon have the capacity to serve tens of thousands of Bay Area households per week."

The company said that "when San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order went into effect, Farmstead’s order volume immediately increased by 5x, and its average basket size doubled."

Farmstead CEO and co-founder Pradeep Elankumaran said, "Our new facility, coupled with our continued hiring spree, will help us immediately quadruple our delivery capacity, and grow it by 10x in the coming months."

•  Reuters reports that "California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has opened an investigation into steps that Inc has taken to protect its workers from the new coronavirus, according to a court filing on Monday.

"The attorney general's office, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health 'have all opened investigations into Amazon's practices' around the pandemic, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman wrote in Monday's filing."

•  From Glossy:

"Instagram continues to roll out new ways to encourage users to shop on the platform, and a growing number of beauty brands are getting on board.

"Instagram introduced Instagram Shop feature on July 16, which features a shopping page with curated product collections, brand shops and items personalized to a user’s interests and brands they follow. According to Instagram’s announcement, brands can be featured by tagging products in content and making their own product collections … As Instagram places a greater emphasis on shopping, a wide range of beauty brands have now adopted the beta Instagram Checkout feature that allows shoppers to purchase within Instagram sans a link to an external site. Launched in March 2019, the feature is now used by multiple brands in the portfolios of top conglomerates."

•  Business Insider reports on how "chains including McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks have quietly raised prices for menu items being ordered for delivery.

"Average fast-food menu prices are 15.3% higher for delivery orders than pick-up orders, before additional fees or tips, according to Gordon Haskett analysis.

"The same Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, ordered at the same restaurant in Brooklyn, New York is listed as costing $6.85 on the menu if ordered for delivery. But, the same sandwich has a listed price of $5.29 if ordered for pick-up.

"Chains hike prices on delivery menus because partnerships with third-party delivery companies, such as DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats, cut into earnings."

Of course, the story points out, "as the coronavirus pandemic has made delivery a bigger part of restaurants' business models, some restaurants say that these fees and commissions make it difficult to turn a profit."