After less than a month as Whole Foods’ overlord, Amazon is making another big food grab. It’s teaming up with Olo, a large food-ordering company that counts Danny Meyer as an investor and does catering orders for Chipotle. Olo says the partnership will put its current raft of customers — 200 different chains with 40,000 locations — directly into the Amazon Restaurants delivery platform. Buca di Beppo, the Italian chain owned by Planet Hollywood, is the only one that’s signed onto Amazon for sure so far, but the possibility obviously exists for Shake Shack and Chipotle, as well as Applebee’s, Wingstop, Five Guys, Jamba Juice, Which Wich, and several hundred other chains. Olo will give them the app they need to post menus and accept orders, while Amazon will arrange the deliveries.
The partnership is tied to the launch of a new platform called Olo Rails that should make it easier for restaurants to streamline orders from delivery services. (Right now, they’ll often end up with a slew of separate tablets on the counter — one for GrubHub, one for Postmates, one for UberEats, etc.) The move seems right up Amazon’s alley. Amazon Restaurants has been quickly building steam since launching in 2015; last year, it expanded to more than 350 places in New York City. Olo’s CEO tells Bloomberg News that food delivery — worth about $43 billion a year right now — is “a big market for Amazon to get access to.” It’s not clear what Amazon’s cut is of the profits that Olo’s clients bring in, but the company has raised eyebrows in the past by demanding as much as 27.5 percent of each order.