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Supermarket delivery service Gorillas sparks debate about tough times for startups

Supermarket delivery service Gorillas sparks debate about tough times for startups
Written by insideindyhomes

Gorillas justifies the job cuts with a supposed change of strategy for more profitability.Image: Jochen Tack / Jochen Tack

Experts had predicted the fall of the gorilla food delivery service from the start. He is now cutting hundreds of jobs and wants to work more profitably with them. However, this justification is not entirely bought by the company. After the news was announced, the start-up received heavy criticism – a debate about the business model of digital delivery services broke out.

Employees should go, but drivers should stay

The delivery service Gorillas is apparently separating from half of its administrative apparatus. 300 of 600 employees there have to go across all locations. A spokesman emphasized that the drivers, the so-called riders, were not affected by the job cuts.

The riders are said to be unaffected by the job cuts.

The riders are said to be unaffected by the job cuts. Image: ANP / Koen van Weel

According to Gorillas, the main purpose of this step is to save costs in order to become profitable in the long term. In an interview with the Reuters news agency, company boss Kagan Sümer described the planned realignment of the strategy. “Looking at the capital markets at the moment, we have to take further steps to pave the way to profitability,” says Sümer. They want to go public as a profitable company.

Rapid growth is therefore no longer a strategic goal. From now on, business will focus on the five core markets of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the USA.

However, many do not buy this justification.

Expert predicts “startup winter”.

Tech reporter Hannah Schwär is convinced that the job cuts are not simply due to a change in strategy. She sums up the more than a thousand layoffs at the startups Kontist, Gorillas and Klarna this week alone and is convinced: “This is probably just the beginning.” Her prognosis: “The boom will be followed by a tough start-up winter. Companies in particular that have so far been burning excessive money for growth will be cut short,” she writes on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a debate about the business model of digital delivery services has flared up on Twitter.

“As a supposedly modern business model, that’s pure sadness. Crisps in 15 minutes at 8 in the evening, because it’s possible.”

A Twitter user criticized the delivery service model

A user describes digital delivery services as “sadness” and shoots at the business model: “You can celebrate gorillas, Getir & Co in OMR podcasts as if there were no tomorrow. But let’s be honest: As a supposedly modern business model, that’s pure sadness. Crisps in 15 minutes at 8 p.m., because it’s possible. And then things go badly.”

Another user writes: “What start-ups like gorillas can do very well: burn money and workers.”

The Berlin Greens politician Tuba Bozkurt also spoke up. Bozkurt, who is also spokeswoman for industry and the digital economy in her party, has sharply criticized the gorilla business model and called for action to be taken against “disruptive practices”. Digital delivery services like gorillas often disregard occupational safety and are rarely checked. That has to change.

Gorillas have been repeatedly criticized in the past

At Gorillas, customers can order supermarket products via an app. The company advertises delivery within ten minutes. However, the supplier often cannot fully meet this time. In order to be on site as quickly as possible, Gorillas operates a dense network of department stores in the cities from which the products are delivered.

The company has made headlines since its inception in 2020 due to conflicts with its drivers. Above all, they criticized the working conditions and emphasized their demands with so-called wildcat strikes. The riders now have their own works council.



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