(Bloomberg) — Fast-growing delivery startup Gopuff is formalizing its experimental food truck program in a move that extends its menu by delivering hot food to customers and increases competition with DoorDash Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.’s Uber Eats.
Gopuff Kitchen, an initiative the company plans to announce Tuesday, will expand a pilot program of food trucks at or near more than 20 company fulfillment locations that prepare breakfast bagels, chicken fingers, coffee and other meal items for delivery. Gopuff said it will hire “hundreds” of employees in coming months to work in what will be a rapid nationwide rollout, more than doubling the number of food trucks by the end of the year. The company declined to specify how much it would invest in the initiative.
The move comes during a period of massive change for the Philadelphia-based startup, which was valued earlier this year at $8.9 billion by private investors including Accel and Softbank Group Corp’s Vision Fund.
Founded in 2013 as a 24-hour service delivering late-night munchies and booze, Gopuff developed a strong following among college students happy to pay a flat $1.95 fee for the convenience of getting items at their door in 30 minutes or less. Earlier this year, the company acquired RideOS for its mapping technology and liquor retailers BevMo and Liquor Barn for liquor licenses and their nearly 200 brick-and-mortar locations. Gopuff now runs more than 450 sites across North America and the U.K. with plans to continue expanding globally in what is an increasingly competitive business to deliver everyday goods and food items.
Gopuff and Uber announced in May they would partner to enable Uber customers to order Gopuff items and make the ride-sharing company more of a rival with the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and Instacart Inc. A Gopuff spokeswoman said the relationship with Uber Eats was “going great” and it wouldn’t be affected by the startup’s newest meal-delivery initiative.
Uber on Monday announced it was expanding its on-demand grocery delivery service to more than 400 locations and joining with Albertsons Cos. to give customers access to the grocery chain’s 1,200 stores.