The arguably exploitative business model of companies like Postmates and DoorDash has inspired some spirited innovations from bars and booze businesses, and some are turning to old-fashioned methods.
The buzz is still strong for alcohol delivery in San Francisco since the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) temporarily relaxed the rules to allow pre-packaged booze to go, which may or may not have caused the current mason jar shortage. But anyone who's ordered cocktails for delivery has probably experienced the drastic sticker shock of insanely high prices, thanks to the price-gouging of delivery apps, taxes, delivery fees, tipping, and the insane nanny-state requirement that we order solid food with our alcohol. The cocktail order with the obligatory accompanying food ends up being a terrible deal for both the consumer and the establishment, where bars and restaurants are not enjoying good profit margins on these transactions.
A new S.F. venture delivers pre-mixed cocktails from local restaurants and bars, promising to cut out the hefty fees that most third-party apps tack on. https://t.co/JmGg4FMZn0— Chronicle Food (@SFChronicleFood) September 21, 2020
Today’s Chronicle reports on a new booze delivery venture called the San Francisco Cocktail Club, which launches Tuesday. The initial offer is an artisan mezcal drink with a dish from Cole Valley’s Padrecito, where “$48 plus sales tax gets you four servings of the drink and a food item, in this case a gordita.” The same deal would cost you nearly $65 on Caviar, and you would also get four less ounces of delicious cocktail on that third-party platform.
This is still not an ideal arrangement. There are no menu options, there’s only one meal or beverage offered. Moreover, the Chronicle adds that “Customers must pre-order at least 48 hours in advance,” which personally is not how I handle my drunken urges for more food and alcohol.
Other establishments are doing what they can to deliver the hard stuff, but everyday, on-demand service is often not an option. Duboce Triangle watering hole Blackbird has introduced the rather attractively packaged canned cocktails seen above, available on Fridays from 2-8 p.m., along with empanadas from René's Kitchen. (They don’t deliver, but they are doing pickup and sidewalk seating). The Oasis’ drag-queen delivery Meals on Heels is making blockbuster national headlines with its booze-and-food delivered with a lip-synch performance, and is available Thursday and Friday nights, while the Oasis rooftop is doing rooftop dining with drag shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Tune into our weekly Monday night Death Guild webcast and feast upon the unholy elixir: Red Death!— DNA Lounge (@dnalounge) September 14, 2020
Vodka, triple sec, amaretto, sloe gin, Southern Comfort, grenadine, orange juice, lemon and lime.
Ready for delivery or pick-up from @dnapizza via https://t.co/BF2F58OlUT pic.twitter.com/v7ySsJ0NMr
DNA Lounge has gotten around the third-party delivery gouging by just creating their own online ordering site. “We are still listed on the other delivery sites (except Postmates because fuck Uber) so that if someone does happen to find us via Grubhub or whatever, well, I guess we'll take it? Even though their hidden 15% fee eats up almost all of our profit,” owner Jamie Zawinski said in a blog post, encouraging people to use the DNA Pizza online store to order food and cocktails “if you would like to order from us and ensure that we get your money and don't have to give away a huge chunk of it to a middleman.”
Because this is the world we live in, @dnapizza now offering 4 rolls of 2-ply, 500 sheets commercial-grade Toilet Paper as a $6 add-on to any pizza order.— DNA Lounge (@dnalounge) April 10, 2020
Currently available on Grubhub. More services soon. https://t.co/l7198Js3C1 pic.twitter.com/qvuaU1WZe0
Parenthetically, we will add that DNA Lounge has dabbled in delivering other things as well, like toilet paper, to get through the COVID-19 downturn.
Image: DNA Lounge via Twitter