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Is Cargo Threatening C-Store Breakfasts in Dallas?

In-car vending for ride-hailing customers expands into new market with free morning promotion

DALLAS -- Cargo, an in-car commerce platform that puts a miniature vending machine in ride-hailing vehicles, has expanded into Dallas.

The mobile ride-hailing retailer is starting its Dallas launch with complimentary smoothie bowls, organic coffee shots and protein bars for ride-hailing passengers. Cargo is positioning this promotion as a way for passengers to get breakfast quickly without stopping in a convenience store or coffee shop. The promotion is geared toward millennial and Gen Z passengers.

“Many people skip eating breakfast at home, and not everyone has time to wait in line for their morning coffee,” said Sabina Rahaman, head of brand partnerships and merchandising for Cargo.

To purchase an item from a Cargo device, ride-hailing customers visit Cargo’s mobile menu on their smartphones, enter their driver’s box code, select their desired product and hit the checkout button. Once the vehicle is stopped, the driver gives the passenger the product from the Cargo display box. The box includes a mix of snacks, gum, premium electronics, cosmetics and personal care items.

“Most people don’t realize how much time they actually spend making a stop for coffee, so our partnership with Cargo gives them back that time to do the things they need to do,” said Neel Premkumar, CEO of Forto, the company behind Cargo’s complimentary coffee shots.

New York-based Cargo is already operating in a number of U.S. markets, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Atlanta. A press release announcing the expansion said Dallas ride-hailing drivers using Cargo could earn up to $500 more per month in commissions, referrals and performance bonuses through snack sales. The press release also claimed the in-car vending startup would reach more than 25 million passengers in 20,000 vehicles in 2018.

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