Postmates Delivers Trends in an Hour or Less

Postmates’ partnership with TikTok and acquisition by Uber proves it’s adept at powering off the zeitgeist

We don’t always know what we want, but we know we want it now. Delivery app Postmates, which has the capacity to serve 80 percent of the households in the US and exists in all 50 states, is defining what it means to be a millennial and zoomer (the colloquial nickname for Gen Z) in the new decade. Instant gratification is just a few phone taps away, with more than 600,000 restaurants and retailers available for delivery and pickup directly from the app. If you can figure out what you want, someone will drop it off within the hour.

With the onset of COVID-19, food delivery platforms like Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats have seen massive spikes in usership, and even when the pandemic slows, there’s little risk of contactless pickup going the way of the dodo. No muss, no fuss, and the food is at the door—a method that is pleasing to Gen Z, jokingly dubbed “the most socially distant generation yet.”

Food trends have moved almost exclusively to the digital world. That’s why Postmates partnered with another app whose popularity has skyrocketed since the pandemic: TikTok, a social media platform specializing in short-form videos. Sought-after food trends like “#CloudBread,” “#WhippedCoffee,” and “#PancakeCereal” have racked up 3.0 billion, 2.2 billion, and 1.6 billion digital impressions on TikTok respectively.

Postmates teamed up with TikTok to make these fad foods available for delivery in the LA area. Whipped coffee was offered up by Coffee ’n Clothes, pancake cereal by B Sweet, cloud bread by Dialog Cafe, and bento boxes by Sweetfin.

“TikTok and Postmates are both brands that intersect culture in creative ways. Food trends have a massive reach on TikTok so we joined forces to bring these TikTok creator favorites right to your door,” Eric Edge, Postmates’ SVP of marketing and communications, said in a statement. “Through the power of creativity in the TikTok community and a few of our exclusive merchants in LA, we are excited to launch this first-ever menu collection.”

But Postmates is having a much wider impact on what it means to be a company in 2021. Platform-based start-ups are also proving to be a guiding light for more traditional businesses, setting the bar when it comes to finding ways to get customers merchandise, groceries, or apparel without requiring them to leave the house. And if those companies haven’t instituted their own app-like service, they’ve probably already partnered with a delivery service to make it happen.

Postmates’ partnership with TikTok is certainly in line with its brand. The young company, which seems to run on zeitgeist, even applied a video game design philosophy of “telling a story” with its San Francisco headquarters.

Annie Wu, who has served as senior director of workplace experience at Postmates for five years, explains that the unique approach was much more geared to user experience than a normal build. The video game mindset of who is going to interact with what, how it can be made more obvious, and how one’s own “storyline” intertwines with their environment they’re in were all passion points for the design.

Questions like, “How do we want people to feel here?” and “How does the space inspire curiosity and interaction?” were considered well before any furniture was ordered or paints were applied. For zoomers, that’s essentially a sustained “vibe check.”

With Uber’s acquisition of Postmates at the end of 2020, the world’s most widely used rideshare app and another strong player in the food delivery game seeks to continue to draw and edge out competition. The spirit of collaboration and curiosity that’s evident in everything Postmates does, from its collaborations to its office design, has kept the food-delivery platform at the front of the “cool kids” pack. Let’s see what it can do with the firepower of Uber behind it.