What Is A 'Dark Grocery Store' And How Does
It Work?
By Chase Shustack
Imagine a grocery store without any clerks or shelf-stockers and — more importantly — no customers walking around. This is what’s known as a "dark store," which exists solely for delivery purposes, and some of them may even be partially automated, cutting out a good number of the average grocery store employee pool as well.
At the New York grocery store Gorillas, delivery drivers (called "riders") use a scanning tool that tells them what kind of product to grab and alerts them if it's wrong, which helps ensure accuracy. No-frills stocking, a focus on supplying goods rather than making room for the customer, and innovative technologies like automated delivery mechanisms help to give dark stores an edge over the usually crowded and compartmentalized grocery stores.
There has been some apprehension about dark stores in general, with Shelly Steward of Aspen Institute's Future of Work Initiative saying that workers in these stores may be mistreated or seen as "just another expense on a spreadsheet." Additionally, some believe that these dark stores may drive out local small businesses, as they would be unable to compete with the low costs the dark store can offer.