I deliver food overseas with a monthly income of 100,000 yuan

The profession of “delivering food overseas” has become very popular on the Internet in recent years, and posts with “monthly income of $15,000” appear from time to time.

On the Internet, the story of a rich second-generation food delivery became popular. Because of the epidemic, the restaurant business in this rich second-generation family collapsed. As a backward family member, he did not give up on himself, but chose to travel across the ocean to work in the United States to make money. After trying various careers such as a beauty and weight loss assistant, a firefighter, and a shopping guide in a liquor store, he finally settled on a fresh food deliveryman, with a monthly income of more than 10,000 US dollars, equivalent to 100,000 yuan.

I came into contact with Yuan, an old iron king in Northeast China, who made $15,000 a month in food delivery on DoorDash, but it also confirmed the aforementioned “story”. The monthly income of 100,000 yuan has also become a good talk in the food delivery industry.

It is precisely because of these “beautiful” stories of the takeaway industry that the formation of a river and lake of interests in overseas food delivery has been promoted.

Just last month, Tang Xiang, a 27-year-old Sichuan native, started recruiting Chinese takeaway drivers in Los Angeles: no need to speak English, and a basic salary of $3,000, as long as there are people in place. He posted recruitment information on WeChat Moments, Douyin, and overseas websites such as 58.com, and his phone number exploded as soon as the post was posted.

Tang Xiang said that there are all kinds of people who come to consult, including international students, workers, white-collar workers, business people… They even received a call from a domestic investment banker, who is about 40 years old and lives in Shanghai. With a fund of several hundred million under management, he is looking for work for his trip abroad.

Going overseas to deliver food has become a fragrant pastry for a while.

Move the “Didi Model” to the overseas takeaway industry

In July 2022, Tang Xiang, a car salesman in Chengdu, took nearly 3 months to apply for a visa and passport, and finally got on a flight to Los Angeles.

There are several reasons why Tang Xiang wants to go overseas: First, the performance of his car sales company is sluggish and he has become disgraced; the other is to take advantage of his youth and want to see the bigger world and find some opportunities outside.

Before the plane took off, Tang Xiang contacted a local Chinese colleague. He wanted to go to this company to start his own business, car rental and sales. But within a month of arriving at the company, the company has been eyeing the group of takeaways to expand new business lines.

Tang Xiang said that the reason for targeting this group is based on the growing takeaway market. Large companies such as Meituan and more than 7 million takeaways have been born in China. The overseas market also has unlimited potential. For example, DoorDash, an American food delivery service provider, has 1 million delivery workers in 2020, and its market value exceeded 600 billion yuan at its peak.

Relevant data shows that the value of the U.S. food delivery market in 2019 was $53 billion, and it is expected to grow to about $88 billion by 2023. That is to say, in about four years, the U.S. takeaway market will have a growth of $35 billion. space. The epidemic has further boosted the development of the food delivery industry.

According to Tang Xiang, there are four main companies occupying the largest market share in Los Angeles, namely, two American platforms, DoorDash and Uber Eats, and two Chinese platforms, Rice Ball Delivery and Panda Delivery.

The reason why Tang Xiang can do this is based on their car resources. The place is vast and sparsely populated, and everyone basically relies on cars to travel, and the same is true for food delivery. Therefore, their company established a third-party platform based on car rental, and gained bargaining space with the takeaway platform by recruiting a large group of drivers, in an attempt to raise the company’s ceiling to a higher level.

How to do? In Tang Xiang’s words, they pioneered the “Didi model” of the food delivery industry overseas, that is, they have moved the domestic method of Didi to the US food delivery industry.

“When Didi started, the drivers who ran Didi in Beijing were basically non-locals. Didi provided them with car rental services, helped them register accounts to take orders, and provided a package of services that Didi drivers need. Income.” Tang Xiang said that “outsiders” who have just arrived overseas to deliver food also need a series of rigid requirements such as driver’s license and food delivery account. The company is targeting these needs and providing one-stop service for food delivery.

In the end, the takeaway only needs to pay for labor and fuel costs, the company provides accounts and cars, and finally makes money through commissions, which are 35% of the entire order.

Although the percentage of the draw is not low, there is an endless stream of people who find Tang Xiang to consult.

“We have provided a new option for the ‘out-of-towners’ who come here.” Tang Xiang said, compared to going to a restaurant to wash dishes, work in a decoration company or do a massage, it is not easy, the environment is poor and the income is not high. Relatively speaking, takeaway workers have free working hours, clean and comfortable working environment, and earn more money after deducting commission than the previous types of jobs.

Not everyone can earn 100,000 yuan a month

What is it like to deliver food overseas?

As a car rental company founded by Chinese, the takeaway platform they cooperate with is mainly rice ball takeout.

Rice Ball Delivery was established in 2014 by Wu Leping, a Hunan native, when he was studying in Canada. It focuses on Chinese food and Asian food delivery. It has now expanded into the largest and most extensive Chinese food delivery app in North America.

Onigiri delivery has also received a capital raise. In 2018, Rice Ball Food received a $5 million financing from a Silicon Valley investment institution; in 2020, it received a $12 million Series A financing led by Yuanjing Capital. In 2021, Rice Ball Takeaway once again completed a $35 million Series B financing, led by Lanxin Asia.

In Los Angeles, most of the businesses that take out rice balls are mainly Chinese, so there is no communication problem for Chinese takeaways. Therefore, the deliverymen recruited by Tang Xiang can do it even if they do not speak English.

Secondly, there are many differences between overseas takeaways and domestic ones.

In terms of income, the average income of a delivery person is about 16 US dollars per order. These incomes are basically composed of two parts: tips and delivery fees. There are tips for each takeaway, most of which are between 1-3 US dollars. In a few cases, It’s also possible to get a tip in excess of $10 at a time. Therefore, the daily income of the takeaway is not fixed, and the more work, the more.

Wang Yuan, who has a lot of experience in food delivery, said that the income of this job is not very stable. Sometimes, when the restaurant closes on holidays, he can only receive very few orders. Wang Yuan has now switched to fresh food delivery. Because the order volume is relatively stable, he can earn more than 300 US dollars a day, and when it is high, it is more than 400 US dollars. However, he said that business has deteriorated this year, which is related to the increasing liberalization of the epidemic.

Wang Yuan shared that in order to get higher income from food delivery, not only diligence but also methods are required. For example, the business hours in urban areas are longer than in suburban areas, so more orders are dispatched. If you choose a local delivery platform in the United States, the tip is more likely to be higher.

“Actually, not everyone in this industry can earn 15,000 US dollars a month. Every industry is the rule of 28, and only a small part can get this money.” Tang Xiang said.

Tang Xiang showed me the first day record of a new deliveryman. The novice left home at 9:00 a.m. and returned home at 12:00 p.m., valid for 12.5 hours, ran a total of 17 orders, and earned a total of $223. That’s not much. Because he was not familiar with the operation, the platform dispatched two orders to the new deliveryman. He needed to arrive at the store 5 minutes apart to pick up the food, but he had to arrive at the same time at different addresses, which eventually caused delays. There are still a few orders due to business reasons. caused delays.

A previous data showed that the daily order volume of the food delivery platform Grubhub is about 10, and the income per order is about 15 US dollars, and the monthly income can reach 4,500 US dollars, about 32,000 yuan.

“In general, delivering food is still a relatively hard job. In addition to tax deductions, it is also difficult to get tens of thousands of dollars.” Tang Xiang said.

Hard life overseas

In fact, going to the other side of the ocean is not easy, and the first step is to overcome fear. Tang Xiang has personally experienced this process.

Why choose Los Angeles to take root? He gave three reasons. First, the physical distance from China is closer, and it is separated by a Pacific Ocean. If it is New York, it needs to span the entire American continent. Secondly, the climate is relatively warm, and New York often has goose feathers and heavy snow. If you don’t have relatives and friends, you will feel even more helpless. Third, there is a huge Chinese group, which is more convenient for Chinese who do not speak English.

There is a famous landmark in the Chinese district in Los Angeles: Ding Fatzi Square. Tang Xiang said that the first stop of the Chinese landing in Los Angeles was basically at Ding Fatzi Square. There are many restaurants here, and the Chinese basically wash their dishes here after they come. “However, the first thing everyone does when they land is to escape from Fatty Dingzi Square, because this place is also synonymous with dirty, messy, and poor.”

“The basic life of the Chinese working here is relatively difficult. Unlike restaurants in China, which have breaks, they basically work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and the hourly wages are very low. Anyone can instruct you. It is popular here. Although the price is cheaper, it is dirty and messy.” Tang Xiang said.

Wang Yuan also said that people who don’t know this place think it’s like a “gold rush” hot spot, attracting people from all over the world to make a living and create wealth. But real life is far from the case, especially now that inflation is high and the cost of living pressure is gradually increasing.

At present, more than 90% of Chinese Americans still start from the lowest level of work, and then gradually accumulate a little money and start a small business for a living. There are also Chinese who are willing to work in factories and earn $1,400 a month, so few people go there. Although they earn dollars, but the price is high, the house price is high, and the living pressure is not small.

Having only lived overseas for a few months, Tang Xiang obviously hasn’t adapted to the eating and living habits here. He came here in a hurry, not sure where the distance will be, maybe he will return to China in the future. (Text / Riemann Source / China Investment Network)

(Wang Yuan is a pseudonym in the text, text / Riemann source / China Investment Network)