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The Fresh Direct Fail – FDF

Was the bullet that killed the darling of Upper East and Upper West Side grocery delivery service a move to the Bronx? Perhaps a bad move by management seeking lofty dream of better than break even? Customers are angry, Chef’s club customers are angry. Inventoried items are leaving and being replaced with items people don’t want. It’s a mess.

Last weekend was the tell-tail for a company in distress. Orders were botched and items not delivered. Household meal planning was ruined and catered goods went undelivered for parties. All these are chinks in the armor that raises more serious questions for city dwellers. If Fresh Direct fails, who fills the void? With brick and mortar grocery stores on the decline in parts of the city, Fresh Direct used to offer a decent, yet expensive, alternative that worked great most times.

Now with their potential demise, shoppers will have to hit the sidewalks again and really walk to get to their stores. A case in point, the upper west side used to have a food emporium on 68th and Broadway. That went out of business leaving residents to either shop at Fairway on 74th and Broadway, 6 blocks away, or to use Fresh Direct. Last weekend, with the Fresh Direct Fail (FDF), Fairway saw much larger shopper volume. The store kept up with the added shoppers but it was very tight. Regular shoppers with the new Instacart shoppers compounded by the addition Fresh Direct Fail (FDF) shoppers made for near mayhem.

New York Post reported that Fresh Direct’s problems, as experiences most significantly last weekend, were a function of their move to their “high-tech” Bronx facility from their start-up Long Island City home. It’s been suggested that new facility’s technology, with its conveyor belts and on the fly scanning is just wreaking havoc with customer orders and workflow efficiencies.

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