Although Portland is supposed be one of the most active cities in the nation, somehow we've recently become a hot-bed of meal delivery services, giving us every reason to be both gluttonous and slothful (which, admittedly, is pretty fun). Last week Caviar launched its premium service, offering a $5 flat-rate delivery (not including the automatic 18% gratuity) of meals from a carefully "curated" set of places like Smallwares and Little Bird Bistro. And on Thursday, March 12, another San Francisco-based meal delivery service called Postmates will launch its service in town promising to deliver just about anything (not just food) in under an hour, 24/7.
Postmates doesn't offer the small, exclusive list like Caviar. In fact, it has hundreds of options that include restaurants as well as stores like New Seasons and Trader Joe's. Heck, you can even order clothes from the mall. And it works a lot like the Uber car service. You order online or download an app for Apple or Android, create an account and register a credit card. You get a list of potential couriers to choose from that deliver via bike or car, and you can track their progress via GPS. Unlike Caviar, you can also select the amount of gratuity you want to give, and there's nothing to sign: everything is billed to the credit card registered to the app. We see a lot of remote gift-giving potential here.
The downside is, as with Uber, you don't really know what the total will be until after it's a done-deal. The delivery fee starts at $5 and goes up depending on the distance between you and your order. So, if you live in the Pearl and crave fried chicken from The Country Cat in Montavilla, it's going to cost you. Check out this map to see the delivery range.
To promote the launch, Postmates is offering free delivery on all orders through March 31. Also, the first 500 people who download the app and enter the code PDXVIP will get $50 in delivery credit (which expires April 15). And if you want to try it out without paying a single cent, on Thursday March 12 and Friday March 13, you can order a four-pack of Voodoo Doughnuts for free starting at 1 p.m. until they sell out. In fact, every week in every market, there's a rotating "On Demand" freebie deal.