The delivery scene in the Twin Cities is picking up.
The latest player to expand to the area is Postmates, a San Francisco company that’s been around since 2011.
Its official launch date in the Twin Cities is Thursday, and it is dangling a two-day promotion for a free pizza from Punch Pizza to ingratiate itself with local residents.
Unlike many other delivery services in the area, Postmates will deliver virtually any item from a retail store or restaurant. And it promises to do so at any hour of the day — as long as the establishment is open — and to deliver it in less than an hour.
About 80 percent of Postmates’ deliveries around the country are takeout from restaurants, company spokeswoman Heather Luntz said.
“But you can also have your prescriptions picked up or a charger from the Apple store or a pair of shoes,” she said. “It’s literally anything you can buy.”
The service will bring added competition for such local delivery services as the Bite Squad, which delivers food from select restaurants. Minneapolis-based Target has been testing same-day delivery in parts of Minneapolis since last year. Chuck & Don’s pet food and supply stores kicked off a same-day delivery program in the area last year, too.
Last week, Haskell’s Wine & Spirits started a home delivery service of beer and wine in a partnership with Drizly. Other liquor stores in town have been offering a similar service through the Drinkfly app.
And the grocery delivery service Instacart appears to be looking to expand to the Twin Cities based on some recent job postings.
The Twin Cities is Postmates’ 25th market in the United States. It has been rapidly expanding, rolling out to such cities as Atlanta, Houston, Portland, Ore., and Phoenix earlier this year.
A launch team has been in the Twin Cities in the last couple of weeks to recruit drivers, Luntz said. The firm usually has about 100 drivers when it starts in a new market, but will likely add more as the service picks up momentum, she added.
Consumers use Postmates’ smartphone app or website to place orders. It already has a few dozen menus of local restaurants on its website and will be adding more. But Luntz said that customers can place custom orders from any establishment that provides takeout.
Similar to the apps of Uber and Lyft, customers can then watch their delivery person’s location on a map to track their order in real time.
The initial delivery zone in the Twin Cities covers Uptown, downtown, southwest Minneapolis, Dinkytown, northeast Minneapolis, Minnehaha and West St. Paul.
Delivery fees start at $5 and can go up from there to roughly $20 based on distance. Postmates also adds a 9 percent service fee on the total price. Tips are optional.
As part of the Twin Cities launch, Postmates is offering promotions including waiving delivery fees on all orders through May. The first 500 customers to download its app and enter the code MINVIP will get a $50 credit toward delivery fees that they can use from June 1 to 15.
And from 12 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday of this week, Postmates will deliver a free Napoli or Margherita pizza from Punch Pizza.