On-demand food company Sprig wants to turn its delivery drivers into 'fine dining waiters'

Sprig wants its delivery drivers to be able to tell you everything that’s in your food, but to do so, the on-demand food company has had to change a lot of its business.

Starting today, Sprig’s delivery workforce is being reclassified from independent contractors to employees. By giving the “servers,” as they are called, employee status, Sprig says it can offer training and have more control over the experience of their meals.

In the crowded on-demand food space, Sprig is less like a GrubHub where you order out from a restaurant and more like a Munchery where you are ordering food cooked by chefs. Sprig cooks all of its meals in a centralised kitchen in San Francisco and then has its delivery force of servers transport dinners to people across the city.

“Imagine the server as more of a fine dining waiter at a restaurant. They can tell you about the food, they can provide you answers for the questions of where it comes from. They can provide you more of a delightful experience from the door and those are things that I can think we can train our team on,” said Sprig’s CEO Gagan Biyani.

Wanting to control the customer experience — and the worker who delivers it — is becoming a theme in the on-demand space.

Like Luxe Valet, who also made the switch recently, Sprig originally had its drivers as W2 employees, Biyani said. However, Sprig switched a year ago to independent contractors to give the drivers more flexibility. But, the company is now reverting to classifying workers as W2 employees because it wants to take a more proactive role coaching its servers to do more than merely ring a doorbell and drop off food, Biyani said.

With the change in employment status, the company is also offering stock options to full-time employees. Biyani said he’s unsure how pay for its “servers” will change as they’re waiting to see what will be the outcome to the company’s bottom line.

However, to even start training delivery drivers to know the ingredients in food, the company spent months engineering a new way to track the ingredients’ original source to what dish it ends up in.

The new update to Sprig’s app, as shown right, will transparently list every ingredient used in the dish and where it originated. That means an onion, even it’s just used in the sauce for a coq au vin, will be listed from whatever farm it came from, Biyani said.

“This is the future of what food should be,” Biyani said.

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