AP Photo/Ric Field

The new epicenter of shipping.

Rather than go to the post office to pick up package deliveries, you may soon be heading to Waffle House. That's thanks to a new partnership between the chain of 24-hour waffle diners and an Atlanta-based tech startup called Roadie that's applying the laws of the sharing economy to package delivery.

Waffle House and Roadie make for an odd couple. Roadie is an early-stage company that raised $10 million in its first big funding round in January and has coordinated about 50 deliveries so far, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported this story. It borrows from the on-demand model popularized by Uber and other "sharing" startups: Customers use an app to request a delivery person, who picks up a package and takes it to its destination in return for 80% of the delivery fee.

Waffle House will serve as the exchange center for the packages, promoting Roadie in-store and online, and also offering deals like a free waffle for downloading the app and a free drink for delivery drivers.

In many ways, the odd pairing makes sense. Waffle House is ubiquitous in and around Atlanta, with over 100 locations in the city according to one geographer's 2012 analysis. (In total, there are 1,750 locations in 25 U.S. states, mostly in the south.)  In the very least, Waffle House benefits from the promise of a few more customers. For Roadie, Waffle House locations serve as a relatively safe, well-known meeting place to coordinate a package delivery with a random person compared to, say, a dark alley or a person's home.

One important question, though, is who will be responsible when Roadie is used to deliver illicit goods. As The Wall Street Journal points out, both FedEx and UPS have faced scrutiny for allegedly shipping illegal goods, including in a 2013 investigation that UPS paid $40 million to settle.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

Study: We Won't Fare Well in the Robot-Controlled Future

Proof You Have No Idea What a Good Price For Your Flight Is

American Business Needs the Green Berets

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    The Three Personalities of America, Mapped

    People in different regions of the U.S. have measurably different psychological profiles.

  2. Life

    Talent May Be Shifting Away From Superstar Cities

    According to a new analysis, places away from the coasts in the Sunbelt and West are pulling ahead when it comes to attracting talented workers.

  3. Transportation

    Berlin Will Spend €2 Billion Per Year to Improve Public Transit

    The German capital plans to make major investments to expand bus and rail networks, boost frequency, and get ahead of population growth. Are you jealous yet?

  4. photo: A stylish new funeral parlor called Exit Here in London.
    Design

    Death Be Not Dull

    U.K. restaurateur Oliver Peyton’s newest project, a style-forward funeral home called Exit Here, aims to shake up a very traditional industry.

  5. photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.
    POV

    My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

    A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

×