Ride-hailing and on-demand delivery company Bolt has confirmed its Bolt Food service will shut down in South Africa in December.
The company has decided to discontinue its meal delivery service in South Africa "due to business reasons," to "streamline resources and maximize overall efficiency as a company," a Bolt spokesperson told MyBroadband.
The Bolt Food app will stop taking customer orders in South Africa from 8 December 2023. The company said its other services in the country will continue to operate.
Bolt Food first launched in Cape Town in April 2020. After reaching 800 restaurants in the Mother City, it expanded to parts of Johannesburg in October 2021, where it initially offered deliveries from around 300 restaurants. At the time, the platform planned to launch in Pretoria and Durban, but that never happened.
A few months earlier, Bolt Food country manager James Townsend-Rose said that Bolt Food had big plans to compete with Uber Eats and Mr D Food in South Africa. It included expanding the service to all 23 cities and towns in which it was operating its ride-hailing service at that time.
A major part of Bolt Food’s strategy was to undercut Uber Eats and Mr D Food on pricing. It initially charged a flat 15% entry-level commission fee to all restaurant partners, compared to the 30% maximum commission levied by Uber Eats and Mr D Food.
MyBroadband compared the prices of similar services and found that the average price of orders from five restaurants on Bolt Food was cheaper than the same items from its rivals. It was also the cheapest service for three out of the five restaurants, and the second most affordable for one of the outstanding restaurants.
Another interesting development in the e-hailing and food delivery space has been the launch of third-party helper services like Lula Rides that support people who want to become drivers.
It helps prospective drivers pass their learner’s licence, provides practical scooter training, and gets them started on various platforms, including Uber, Uber Eats, Mr D, Bolt, One Cart, and Woolies Dash.
Bolt Food will no longer be among these lists of services from December.