Before Instacart, UberEats, Favor and just about every other food delivery business in Austin, there were two big players dropping off food at your house: Farmhouse Delivery and Greenling.
Greenling, founded in 2005, always seemed to have a wider customer base, and even though they worked with some local farms, had a more corporate business model. Farmhouse Delivery, on the other hand, started in 2009 and operated out of a farm in East Austin. The website wasn’t as slick and the focus was more niche on hyper local ingredients, including dairy and meat.
Both Greenling and Farmhouse expanded outside Austin by 2013, but by 2014, other delivery services started to nip at their heels. Favor, Postmates and then UberEats offered mostly restaurant delivery service, but when it came to getting groceries delivered, Instacart shot to the top, first by partnering with Whole Foods, then H-E-B, Costco and a number of other prominent retailers. Heck, even Greenling partnered with Instacart for a while.
But by last fall, Greenling was either ready to go under or be acquired. Over the weekend, Farmhouse Delivery announced that it had purchased its once-rival for an undisclosed sum.
Claudia Grisales’ story has all the details about what the acquisition means for employees and customers of both services (Urban Acres, a Dallas food delivery company, was also part of the deal), and I’m particularly interested to see how the now bigger Farmhouse can distinguish itself from Instacart, whose shoppers I see just about every time I’m in the grocery store.
How much bigger is grocery delivery going to get? Most of us thought that customers wouldn’t pay the extra cost to have someone else do their shopping for them, but the popularity of these delivery services is proving us wrong. Does that mean that Farmhouse has a better chance of survival than Greenling did when it first launches, a decade ahead of the curve?