Startup's plan to replace bodegas meets backlash on social media

James Oh right owner of Tom's Liquor on the corner of Florence and Normandie greets a customer in his store in South Los Angeles

People Are Roasting The Shit Out Of This Startup That's Trying To Replace Bodegas And Corner Stores

McDonald actually tells Fast Company that a gym "having a Bodega stocked with power bars and protein powder might make the facility more attractive to members", as though those are things gyms don't already sell.

Also, the stock photos provided to Fast Company are the kind you might take at a high school reunion where everyone is really trying to look like they're still glad they chose to attend. So somebody please tell Silicon Valley to stay the hell away.

Several people noted that the startup takes as its logo the cat, a feature of many authentic bodegas that will be absent from the ex-Googlers' high-tech version. The problem, I'm assuming, is that it's hard to pitch "We're going to disrupt vending machines" to a bunch of venture capitalists.

In a Forbes article, McDonald disagreed with that notion: he called his invention "the iPhone of the retail world", and said a vending machine was like "the payphone of the retail world". It's what allows them to compete with convenience stores despite carrying far less inventory, says McDonald: "Each community tends to have relatively homogenous tastes, given that they live or work in the same place".

As essential part of living in NY is stopping by your local bodega for a breakfast sandwich, late-night snack or even a six pack. Well, the Bodega startup wants to cash in on that sense of familiarity, though McDonald and Rajan won't phrase it that way.

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With this in mind, Fast Company asked McDonald if he felt that using a name like "Bodega" for a product that aimed to make real bodegas obsolete was culturally insensitive. "It's a simple name and I think it works". Corner stores in places like NYC are a model for this - they're on almost every block and serve their local neighborhoods 24/7.

Bodega's launch, funded in part by personal investments from executives at Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Google, has elicited a remarkable degree of ire in just a few hours, for a variety of reasons. Garcia is now chairman of all state chambers nationally, including Puerto Rico, for which he represents thousands of bodega owners and other Latino businesses.

But in many places-and certainly in New York City-a bodega functions as more than simply a place to buy necessities.

He's also concerned about the financial impact the new company might have on brick-and-mortar bodegas, he told Fast Company.

In this day and age of online grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh comes Bodega, the latest competitor in the online grocery store game. The startup has already installed 50 kiosks on the west coast and plans to have over 1,000 nationwide by the end of 2018.

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