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Controversial Surge Pricing Comes to Food Delivery App Sprig

Get ready to be punished for ordering lunch at lunchtime.


Seamless, Postmates, Caviar — food delivery applications are popping up in urban areas with increasing regularity these days, and though they each have a different model for compensating delivery personnel, none of them have considered driver service Uber's signature surge pricing model — until now. Sprig, a start-up delivery app out of San Francisco, announced today that it would be introducing dynamic delivery pricing, which is a surge-like model. CEO Gagan Biyani explained in a recent post on Medium: "Dynamic delivery fees will adjust up or down throughout Sprig's service based on how busy things get and how far away a delivery is. While delivery fees will go up during the rushes ... they will also decrease when things are slower, meaning you may even see free delivery!"

Surge pricing works by establishing a baseline for demand. Once demand increases above the baseline, the price for an average Uber goes up. Likewise, most people want to eat lunch between noon and 2 p.m. Dynamic delivery pricing punishes that common desire. Some might say therein lies the problem. Should convenient access to food be equated — or priced comparatively — to access to a private driver? And how would it work in cities, like New York, where food delivery is more often than not free to the consumer?

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