According to experts, UPS and FedEx should start worrying about competition from Waffle House.
The national chain of all-night eateries has joined forces with Roadie, an app that connects drivers with those wanting to ship an item.
In this case, Waffle House will serve as a delivery warehouse for any item you can order online, edible or otherwise, and the drivers will serve as delivery people.
Using the Roadie app, users indicate the item they want delivered and the pickup and drop-off locations. The “Roadies,” as the drivers are known, can choose the deliveries that are along routes they plan to take. Those leery about having a stranger come to their door may opt for a nearby Waffle House location as a hand-off point.
“They [Roadie] are partnered with Waffle House, a brand that will benefit from having millennials discover the traditional dining establishments they might not have frequented before they became waystations for ‘Roadies’ handing-off deliveries,” says Richard Mooreman in an interview. “If more apps and startups created strategic partnerships such as this we would see a much higher success rate.”
Mr. Mooreman is a founding organizer of local events such as Ignite, MakeFaire, and TEDx.
“I can already see Waffle House having a pickup-counter with a trusted party there to even avoid the face-to-face. This has growth potential,” he says. “I see it happen all too often that people look at a strategic partnership and pass because they’re too afraid of sharing intellectual property or losing market share,” he adds.
A case in point where strategic partnerships may pay off for startups is the currently running competition for the new Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP).
According to the website, in order to $20 million, private teams (with no more than 10 percent in government funding) must:
- Land a robot safely on the Moon
- Move 500 meters on, above, or below the Moon’s surface; and
- Send back HDTV Mooncasts for everyone to enjoy
“Right now two of the competitors for the LunarX Prize have done something new in competition, they created a strategic partnership. They recognized that it’s not about the intellectual property. It’s about actually getting there and making it work,” Mooreman says.
The partnership is between the U.S.-based team Astrobotic and the Japanese group Hakuto.
Perhaps thanks to its partnership with Waffle House lending street cred, Roadie - launched publicly in several states last month - now covers more than 25 states, according to its website.
“If I were FedEx or UPS I’d be worried, yes, absolutely, because Roadie is just a month old and they have traction,” says Zack Miller, founder of Hatch, a business accelerator and growth hub for startups, in an interview. “It’s hard to get traction. That’s scary to a bigger company, or it should be.”
Hatch also runs Start Norfolk, a series of Shark Tank-like business competitions and workshops for online, online and hybrids like Roadie. The events often see partnerships develop between app developers, small businesses and entrepreneurs in order to gain the traction of which Mr. Miller is speaking.
“Roadie can now create the Amazon Prime effect of next day delivery without the cost,” Mr. Miler says. “For Waffle House it was brilliant to introduce Millennials who love the sharing economy idea to their locations. For Roadie it was brilliant because it gave them something virtual businesses lack in credibility via association.”